Remember how I said I was going to volunteer for the holidays? I spent hours on line looking up holiday-related volunteer opportunities. I sent multiple emails to charities in the hopes of putting my time and energy to good use. And you know what? I got two responses.
As a former volunteer coordinator, this makes me very disappointed. Why put up a volunteer opportunity if you don’t plan on actually contacting the people who want to help? That’s ridiculous! One email I got was a cut and paste response, which I understand given the volume of inquiries they probably received, but still. . . it wasn’t even really about what I said I wanted to do. Another charity called me within an hour to set up my shift. Granted, she talked my ear off but she was nice and friendly and appreciative.
The saddest part? That ONE opportunity I set up outside of the non-profit I already work for (with Chatty Cathy) I had to cancel due to Snowmageddon 2008 here in Seattle. Mother Nature is dumping so much snow on us that it’s making it impossible for us to get around. (We’re not equipped for this – hardly anyone has chains, the hardware stores get salt in and run out of it within an hour, and if you don’t have skis, a snowboard or a sled, you have to hoof it. Even cabs companies aren’t picking people up on side streets. . . that is, if you can get one to answer their phone.) So, I had to call and cancel. I’m bummed. My idea to be of service didn’t pan out. I even bought gifts to donate through my church but because of the blasted weather, I can’t get them there in time.
I did, however, manage to volunteer through my work and collect donations at my apartment building for foster kids. The season of giving wasn’t a total wash. AND I am inspired to set up a regular volunteer opportunity starting in January. I just hope someone will respond! Now I understand why people were so appreciative of my promptness when I was coordinating volunteers. I thought all agencies were like that? I thought it was like the #1 rule of volunteer management. Ahem! Not for everyone apparently.