Volunteerism can suck

Before my children were in school I don’t think I volunteered for anything. After my daughter began elementary school I started volunteering at her school, first as a helper in the classroom, then as a field trip supervisor, then as a PTA board member. I held office as recording secretary, corresponding secretary, MCCPTA rep, & vice president. I also was email list coordinator/ manager/ moderator until last year.

I’ve also volunteered with the local neighborhood and with a local film group that shows foreign films one Sunday a month during the non-summer months. I signed on to the film group simply to work on the website, but this year I was “promoted” to director of operations. I put the verb in the preceding sentence in quotes because I was more or less forced into the position because no one else wanted it. The duties involve ordering films, talking to the distributors and negotiating the film rental fees. I pretty much hate this position and I’ve let the president know I do not want to do it any longer.

She found someone else to do the position, but seems to think that my time is her time. She sets up meetings then demands I attend them, even when I have other commitments. This summer I had more important plans, but said I could attend her meeting briefly. She refused to let me leave the meeting and I missed an event my daughter was a part of.

I’ve recently begun helping out a friend with another volunteer organization, and had a meeting scheduled for this Wednesday. I told the president of the film group that I had a prior commitment, and I thought she understood. I said that it might be postponed, but I was not sure. I just got an email from her asking if I changed the meeting.

I know I am reading too much into the email, but based on the meeting last summer, I am touchy when it comes to this woman and her meetings. The meeting was postponed, and I can meet with the film group folks, but it makes me angry that I allow myself to be jerked around like this.

I think this is my last year with this group. As much as I like the idea, I don’t like the way this woman treats the volunteers.

2 thoughts on “Volunteerism can suck

  1. Get out. No volunteers should be treated like this.

    It’s tricky, of course, because volunteers do have responsibilities. But I remember making a comment to someone once that people shouldn’t treat people like that when they aren’t even paying them, to which the person replied, People shouldn’t treat people like that at ALL.

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  2. I’m handing over the position to someone else tomorrow. I’ll probably still do the website and email list, but that’s about it. Yesterday I spent much of the day averting a crisis. The president was grateful, but her gratitude does not put dinner on my table.

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