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Accountability in Volunteering

I’ve heard all the reasons why people volunteer; they want to give back; they want to stay involved; they want to make a difference; they want to support the industry…..Yep, that is all fine and good and those organizations who are the recipients of the efforts will tell you that, “They could not have succeeded without the support”; “Our industry is better because of those efforts”… get the drift.

I too volunteer for many of those same reasons and of course the logo’d shirts, pens, stationary and the pleather portfolios – those are a plus.  I certainly enjoy being part of a strong effort to promote change or create opportunity; yep that’s why I volunteer.

What happens when a volunteer does not meet their obligations? Do you fire a volunteer? Do you have to do an investigation? Really, does it have to come to that?

When does accountability enter the picture? I would venture to say from the day you say, “Hey, I’ll be happy to join that group”, or “Sure, count me in, I’ll be at the next meeting”.

That is when you become accountable and people begin to depend on you.

Like a lot of charity organizations and other associations that are desperate for support financially or otherwise, they count on those volunteers to do and say what they offered up when the logo shirts were being passed out and when you said, “Sure, I can take on that role”.

Accountability starts at day one – you are committed to the outcome and success. Just because this is a volunteer role, does not give you the carte blanche to decide when and where you will show up and how you will contribute. You committed. You decided.

If you do not follow through others begin to take on more than they “signed” up for and that burden begins to slowly take away from the purpose and success of the group.

Commit to the work. Be accountable to the role. Enjoy the success of making a difference and wear your logo’d shirt with pride.


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1 Comment

  1. Great timing, and great post Stephen. I’ve been thinking a lot about commitment to your volunteer organziation(s) and more importantly all the people who are shoulder to shoulder with me in our efforts. At times with all the demands personally and professionally volunteerism loses it’s luster based mainly on a little case of “over-commitment”. The honest folks out there have probably had low and high and high and high and low and high points with every commitment. What always keeps my accountability in check are the people that I’ve committed to assist getting the work done in addition to all the loyal members of the organization that depend and need what we produce. I always feel good at the end of long day that I delivered on my “commitment”, so commit and deliver on the goods. It is all worth it, we need you! Thanks, Bryan –

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