In a few short weeks, I will be transitioning out of my role as Chair of my kids’ high school athletics booster club and into the most favored position of Past Chair! I am beyond thrilled to be Past Chair. The Past Chair doesn’t have to recruit new people to the board. The Past Chair doesn’t run meetings. The Past Chair doesn’t wrangle money out of people or make sure everyone is doing what they said they’d do. The Past Chair is the Best Chair!
Many years ago, as I finished my term as PTA president at my kids’ elementary school, I had the same feeling of euphoria and dubbed myself the inaugural member of the VPP. What’s the VPP, you ask? Well, the Volunteer Protection Program, of course! I imagined going to meetings with moustache glasses and a fedora wearing a white shirt with big block letters.
People wouldn’t even recognize me! It would be beautiful. No one would ask me to volunteer again. I was swearing off volunteering. Forever!
Obviously, it didn’t work. Maybe I shouldn’t have gone to the meetings in the first place!
All of this begs the question, why do we volunteer? And, more importantly, why do we swear it off when we are done?
Why do we volunteer?
There are probably as many answers to this question as there are volunteers (which means, never enough). I started volunteering because being Mom just wasn’t enough. I know I’m not supposed to say that out loud, but it is true. I needed to do something adult that was important and valuable.
I kept volunteering because I was good at it. I can run a board of volunteers like a well-oiled machine. It still feels like herding cats, but it appears that cat wrangling is one of my superpowers.
Why do we swear off volunteering?
I think the simple answer is that it is hard! There are so many moving parts to most volunteer organizations and often it is just overwhelming. It is harder than we imagined before we got involved. I mean, we are a bunch of capable, competent folks. We’ve had important jobs, run businesses and families. Running a PTA can’t be harder than that, right?
Maybe it is because we’re managing volunteers, you know, people who aren’t getting paid to do this work. Maybe it is because we aren’t getting paid. Who knows? But managing a bunch of volunteers is so much harder than managing work projects or employees or children or spouses.
Thank goodness for some of the great new tools that make running volunteer organizations easier.
Connect with us on Facebook and tell us your favorite tool or trick.
We here at Mitsy are striving every day to make volunteering easier and more rewarding with a suite of tools that work together to unite, organize and inform your community. We know the work is hard and often thankless.
If you are ready to try out a new and improved way of running your team, check out what Mitsy has to offer. It might just save you from a lifetime membership in the VPP.