"Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom" Albert Einstein

"A dame who knows the ropes isn't likely to get tied up." Mae West

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

They should be committed!

I just attended a board meeting of a non-profit organization of which I am a member. Of the eight board members, only 2 showed up. Some made excuses, but most just didn't. Those who did make excuses appear to have had the day off because of Veterans Day, but none were veterans and were not attending any kind of Veterans memorial services. My guess is they were out shopping. We have monthly hour-long meetings, the same time and place each and every month, yet members have no qualms of scheduling other matters at that time or offering excuses that they forgot. Most months only half the board attends; some members have only attended a handful of meetings this year. They volunteered for the job. Perhaps only for the additional mention on their resume.

Over the course of my lifetime, I have served as a volunteer on numerous boards, groups, and committees. It seems in recent years that there is a trend of what I determine to be commitment phobia that has grown to outrageous proportions.

Last year I didn't rejoin the local Rotary club because I was tired of attending meetings where people who were in charge of the meeting program either didn't book a program, didn't give a program themselves, or didn't even bother to show up. Each member is responsible for only 1 or 2 programs per year. Yet only about 25% actually fulfilled their commitment to do so. Once, out of seven consecutive meetings, there was only one program.

A few years ago, several of us started a gourmet club to fill a desire for fine food, without going out of town and to provide an easy way to entertain. Dinners were scheduled the 3rd weekend of every other month. Before long, some people didn't show, resulting in menu shuffling, location shuffling, and resetting tables. They often acted as if the date of the gourmet club was a complete surprise and they had already scheduled another activity. Again dates were fixed in advance so I don't buy that excuse.

I don't understand the mentality of people who give their word to do something and don't follow through, especially in voluntary situations. A death or illness is excusable. Just not wanting to come is not. Why don't they just say no or don't volunteer in the first place? It is much easier to operate an organization or social event with people who really want to be there.

How hard is it to put an event on a calendar and be committed to attend?


Going Like Sixty said...

Oh man did you hit a sore spot! I have stopped volunteering for the same reason!
I fault the exec. director for not making it perfectly clear that attendance is a requirement. But E.D. sometimes recruit for name recognition.
Most volunteer board are too large too. The E.D. should have a core group that can be depended on - and keep the joiners as advisory.

Social stuff? They are just rude! spoiled! Don't you just want to pay 'em back? But you won't, you we're raised that way.


Catch Her in the Wry said...

I agree that volunteer boards should be small; business gets done faster then. Quorums are so hard to get with larger volunteer boards.