“I’m just happy to be asked to do whatever not-so-fulfilling task that you’ve dumped on me with no direction and very little chance of changing the inertia of the project or the association.”
Have you ever told this lie? (Omitting the truthiness of it, of course.) I have, and it’s really frustrating. It seems like a lot of the things worth doing in associations take years and years to articulate, get buy-in, and implement at the level where it can actually succeed. As a volunteer, I don’t have the patience for it. I’m programmed for rapid change, thanks to the Interwebs. That’s a personal problem, I know, but I don’t think I’m alone. I don’t like to feel like a gear in a machine that’s not going anywhere. I think the reason the whole “social organization” concept resonates with me–and the reason that J-Nott and Maddie and I keep coming back to it–is that the social organization must continually evolve as the system changes. If the org gets stuck, it dies.
Same goes with engaging volunteers and building a community around them. If the project gets stuck, it dies. If the group gets stuck, it dies. (Only, we don’t always let the project or the group die…which is a whole different problem!) I just LOVE the Truths about volunteering posts that Peggy Hoffman has been blogging for nearly two years. She’s up to 18 sage (and tweetable!) volunteer maxims. All seem so simple, but in action, they’re quite tricky.
What’s the answer? Do I need to learn patience? (Clearly, duh.) Do the organizations I volunteer with need to be more flexible and agile? Would a visionary leader make me feel better about myself and my place in the org? I’m seriously asking here…how can we get rid of volunteer ennui?
By the way, this week I’m at the ASAE Volunteer Leadership Retreat in New Orleans. I’ll be sure to share any comments I receive here with the group!