My Feelings So Far on 52 Volunteer Activities – Part 2 (Some of the Meh Stuff, Like When You’re Not Needed)

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

Aurora pointing people in the right direction at the Miles for Melanoma 5k Picking up from yesterday

There have been some things that haven’t been quite so perfect.

I’ve learned that many places overbook volunteers. I understand why they do it, because it’s easy to lose people. I hate admitting that even I have bowed out of an event here or there because something changed with my work schedule. I always give as much notice as I can – but sometimes that’s not a lot.

So, I understand why places do it. But then when everyone shows up, it can get really boring for the people with nothing to do. Then it starts to feel like a waste. “What am I doing with my time? Why did I trek over here?”

It also makes it that much easier to have thoughts run through my head of, “Eh, I’m tired. I could blow this one off. They probably won’t need me anyway.” Of course, that could then feed into the problem of places feeling they need to overbook. So, it’s sort of a cycle, I suppose.

It’s a running complaint with many volunteers. I didn’t know how common it was until I heard other volunteers mentioning past events where they felt totally useless.

I think one thing that sort of combats this problem is getting specific assignments ahead of time. I got a grid sent to me for a gala I’d be working. It stated very clearly who’d be working what, and what times they’d be doing it. You could see your place where you’d fit, and you could see that you were indeed needed. I found that helpful.

group at a hygiene event posing with towelsNot only looking to what places can do to be better, I can look at myself too, because I think there are things I could be doing better.

Something similar to what happened during my 52 half marathons is happening here. In the middle of the project, I sort of felt a little lull. It’s not the exciting beginning. It’s not ramping up to the end. It’s just there in the middle, and you want to power through, and get that middle part done.

I think the middle could be just as awesome as the bookends, yet in both projects I’ve felt a bit of a lull…

And this is where I’ll pick up next time.

I'd love to hear from you! So whaddya say?