Business relationship

Love Thy Volunteers (Respect the Title)

That's right. I'm proposing to you the radical idea that for the people who give of their time, their physical labor, their emotional work and gas money, "Volunteer" is a title. And one they (should) wear with pride.

I've been in a couple situations lately where the word has been bandied around in a casual way, or given to groups, who, while very generous and caring, are by no stretch of the imagination "volunteering."

Namely, I was at a presentation at a fundraising conference and the speaker talked about young people wanting to "volunteer" in "fun ways that fit their lifestyle" and showed a group of 20-somethings bowling while dressed like band members of Devo.

*sound of car brakes screeching to a halt and a giant explosion here*

That isn't volunteering.

I'm not saying volunteering can't be fun. But referring to people who attend an event or gather a group of friends to go bar hopping for a cause as volunteers cheapens the word and disrespects the folks who really are volunteers. Is it just me?

Volunteers are people connected to the core work of your organization. In most nonprofits, they're the ones who actually do said core work. They show up, they sacrifice. They have some skin in the game.

I'm all about going to the bingo game that benefits the organization (beers at Hamburger Mary's? Heeeeyyyy!!). I'll walk a charity 5K on a Saturday with a friend. But I won't call myself a volunteer for those groups.

Here's to the Volunteers who have earned the title.


Back to Basics

R - E – S – P – E – C - T

I can hear Aretha now, belting it out now.

Find out what it means to me.

That popped into my mind as I was reading about the House vote to rebuke Joe Wilson. There’s a lack of civility in partisan politics that cries out for a little respect.

Politics–and business–are based on mutual self-interest. On relationship. Respect is the underpinning that can allow self interest to become mutual, to grow into relationship.

If you remove that underpinning, you damage relationship.

In politics, or business.

Inflated promises. Shoddy workmanship. Price gouging. Some practices are based a lot more on self-interest than mutuality.

Sometimes it’s a lot less deliberate. The business owner who doesn’t write down part of the order and then neglects to fill it. Or promises delivery in a week, knowing full well it’ll likely be closer to two. Or underbids to get the job, and then seethes to live with the pricing.

What do you do with those lapses? Can you maintain (or restore) the relationship?

I think we have to keep reminding ourselves of the need for respect. To remember mutuality. To not focus solely on our self interest.

And to “Keep on tryin’ (just a little bit .... just a little bit)”!