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Author Topic: Why FSP leadership is not getting enough volunteers  (Read 5291 times)

RidleyReport

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Why FSP leadership is not getting enough volunteers
« on: April 07, 2005, 01:45:45 pm »

My understanding from what I"ve heard is that the FSP is not treating volunteers as volunteers but rather as employees.   If you want to have more luck, try reading this book and using it as a model:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1928892019/102-3858009-2473720

I researched this issue heavily and read the book...it appears to be the best.   However I personally do not enjoy organizing volunteers and thus have not tried to test this out very thoroughly.   BTW you don't have to be in leadership to use the techniques in this book.

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EclecticBuddha

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Re: Why FSP leadership is not getting enough volunteers
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2005, 02:03:54 pm »

Ah, the plight of maintaining the power trip whilst retaining the free help... What a great struggle it is.  And I thought that Boy Scouts never taught me anything.
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"Hagrid"

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Volunteers needed is the problem.
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2005, 02:22:32 pm »

My understanding from what I"ve heard is that the FSP is not treating volunteers as volunteers but rather as employees.

From what you've heard... So you have no direct experience here, and you admit you have no experience with testing this out...

http://www.panaceapress.com/contents.htm

According to that list of contents, IMHO, we actually do a lot of those (and working on the rest, leading to charges of 'bureaucracy')... and most of the true resistance that I'm aware of, is in response to making specific attempts to MEET some of those needs:

Twelve Basic Needs of Every Volunteer
 1.   A specific manageable task with a beginning and an end
 2.   A task that matches interests and reasons for volunteering
 3.   A good reason for doing the task
 4.   Written instructions for what you want
 5.   A reasonable deadline for completing the task
 6.   Freedom to complete tasks when and where it is
       most convenient for them
 7.   Everything that is needed to complete the task without interruption
 8.   Adequate training
 9.   A safe, comfortable and friendly working environment
10.  Follow-up to see that the task is completed
11.  An opportunity to provide feedback when the task is finished
12.  Appreciation, recognition and rewards that match
       reasons for volunteering

When I talked about having more deadlines and less open ended 'whenevers' (#5), and having more completion followup (#10), certain people balked at that... 'But they are volunteers, and you can't ask them for that...' Gee, thanks for showing that it's actually needed.

When/If you are ready to volunteer for NH Info, Dada, I'd be glad to give you specific items to fit #1 thru #12...
So far, I know for a fact that myself and others in 'leadership' have offered you at least one item that fit #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7 and likely the rest, to start with, asking if you'd be interested in doing them,  and you've turned them down.  Not sure what else we can do...

Our problem isn't in 'leadership', it's a lack of volunteers... We need bodies, folks... We need people to take responsibility, step up to the plate and say "What can I do to help the FSP?", not "My way, & FSP can like it or leave it'  I see far more people criticing the works of others.

kater

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Re:
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2005, 03:06:45 pm »

For what it's worth (which may not be much), I've been a volunteer, a titled person, and an all-around pain in the ass for the FSP, and I don't get what people are complaining about.  There may be some legitimate grievances with some organizers (of volunteers, I mean), but I don't see anything wrong with someone making sure I do what I said I would.  Frankly, people who volunteer and then vanish are at least as problematic as anyone with a title could be.

Dada, you know I like and respect you; your lucid arguments and calm manner salvaged many a discussion when I first starting reading this forum.  But I think your perspective on these issues of leadership is not accurate.  For the sake of making my case, I'll get into it a little bit here, but I hope we won't let the forum devolve again into a bitter fight that doesn't further recruitment goals.

I wrote a post on this a while back and promptly deleted it, so I'll briefly reconstruct part of what I said.  There is a bit of a schizophrenic attitude towards FSP leadership, and it's one I've shared on many occasions.  It goes something like, "You f^%*ing tyrants; why don't you do anything?"  Leaders are derided for inactivity and then criticized for acting like they expect results--a crude way of putting it, but that's the general idea.  I believe that has several causes: first, leadership inactivity; second, participant inactivity; third, a general misunderstanding of (and confusion over) leadership structure.  We're also not folks who like "leaders" in general, and I think that too contributes to this vacillation.  Most of all, we have a large goal that seems far away, and the slower progress seems, the more inclined we are to lash out at people who've taken on responsibility for the project.  Sorry for the mish-mash, but there it is.

As I understand it, if we have a "leadership not doing their jobs" problem, it is more likely to be with the department heads than with the board, as the board is charged with doing very little.  And if the board has a problem, it would be in not requiring results from the department heads.  Which brings us to the question at hand, because everyone in the FSP is a volunteer, and we are constantly caught between the desperate need to accomplish and the constraints of working with folks who may flake, balk, or just have life get in the way.  It happens and it slows us down, but what are we supposed to do?  Not count on each other?  Not expect promises to be kept?  How would we function?  And would we be any closer to 20,000?

I don't think we would be.  I don't think volunteers step down or refuse to step forward because they've heard about the FSP sweat shop and its evil management.  I think most of us have failed to make a fundamental philosophical break with authoritarianism, and while we loudly proclaim our love of individual liberty, we still quietly look to a central authority to solve our problems for us.  I hope we are able to struggle through that and emerge as autonomous activists, but we aren't there yet, and I think that even a stellar leadership corps would be having trouble.  Ours is not perfect, but they are volunteers, and their treatment is up for question as well.  Personally, I want to require a lot of them.  And with that responsibility comes the need to rely on other people.  We're volunteers, but we're all we've got.

On a personal level, I truly hope that people who want to be free and who believe in the FSP as the best means to that end are not so sensitive as to be chased away by requirements, reminders, or even blatant condescension.  We're not doing this to be thanked or appreciated; at heart, each of us has an individual--even selfish--goal.  I don't want gratitude; I want success.  Anything else is a pleasantry I can already have.
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atr

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Re: Why FSP leadership is not getting enough volunteers
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2005, 03:29:16 pm »

My understanding from what I"ve heard is that the FSP is not treating volunteers as volunteers but rather as employees.

I have not seen this--not as a subordinate nor as a supervisor.

As a subordinate, I've been free to work on what I want to work on. And the reality is that a volunteer can always defy an order simply by not following it.

As a supervisor, yes, I want volunteers to actually do something. (They wouldn't be volunteers if they did nothing, would they?) But for every little thing a volunteer does for the FSP I am extremely grateful. I exert no employer-like control over volunteers (and I couldn't even if I wanted to). If they do something, I try to offer help and gratitude. But unfortunately, of the volunteers who step up, I haven't seen many actually deliver on a task for which they've taken responsibility.
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RidleyReport

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Re:
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2005, 07:12:30 pm »

OK just glad to hear some of you know about the book and accept some of its suggestions.  That's a good start.  Although I've discovered a while back that for me the funnest thing to do is just act on initiative....I know there are a lot of others doing that.
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DC

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Re: Why FSP leadership is not getting enough volunteers
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2005, 07:23:53 pm »

What do you guys think about having one thread in the forum for proposed projects. To discuss if and how the project should take place.

Another thread for active projects. People could help out with limited time andd could help when time was availiable. This would stop people from being left out and have a more inclusive feel.

Another thread for completed project to clear out dead projects. It might be even better to delete them or put somehere else.

I saw a similar format in a virus help forum. 
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"Hagrid"

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Re: Why FSP leadership is not getting enough volunteers
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2005, 05:12:52 am »

What do you guys think about having one thread in the forum for proposed projects. To discuss if and how the project should take place.

Another thread for active projects. People could help out with limited time andd could help when time was availiable. This would stop people from being left out and have a more inclusive feel.

This has been discussed, but in the past, it turned into more about lots of people telling those doing how to do what they doing, not making more doers.  We're working _actively_ on creating a place to have this discussion, dealing with funding issues, workflow issues, etc.  The forum is the wrong place for it, using a screwdriver for a hammer.  Yes, it can work, but it's the wrong tool.

But yes, someone along those lines is happening in the future. (If we had more volunteers to take on some of the other tasks we need done, it would likely have gotten done sooner, but priorities meant it got backburnered a few times... it's frontburnered now.)

RidleyReport

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Re: Why FSP leadership is not getting enough volunteers
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2005, 04:10:57 pm »

Seth kater, atr and all rather than argue with you I will just say thanks for the work you have done; I don't know everything you've done obviously but I know it's a lot and we are ultimately on the same side.   Some of it's wasted "stopping" things or trying to stop them, but it's still good to be in the same bunch with ya.
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varrin

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Re: Why FSP leadership is not getting enough volunteers
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2005, 04:51:01 pm »

Dada,

Way to raise the bar, buddy.  I know libertarians are prone to disagree on the best ways to do things (that's why we're libertarians, right???), but stressing the points we agree on is a super way to move the ball forward.  Dr. Edelstein would be proud! ;)

V-

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Pat K

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Re: Why FSP leadership is not getting enough volunteers
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2005, 07:01:31 pm »

Good God Varrin is rubbing off on everybody, we are being grown up and stuff . This sucks.
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kater

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« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2005, 10:43:10 am »

Dada, while I don't agree that stopping certain things is even remotely a waste of time, I am glad that you and I are on the same team.  Good luck to you up there--hopefully I'll be seeing you this summer.
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varrin

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Re: Why FSP leadership is not getting enough volunteers
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2005, 04:03:53 pm »

Good God Varrin is rubbing off on everybody, we are being grown up and stuff . This sucks.
Am I now going to have to watch desperate house wives to view a cat fight?

LOL...  I've always liked Springer ;)

V-

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KBCraig

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Re: Why FSP leadership is not getting enough volunteers
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2005, 01:29:17 am »

LOL...  I've always liked Springer ;)

As a Southerner, I watch Springer to help me understand hockey!

Kevin
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