Sam walks in the door of a major Not for Profit and stands at the reception desk. “Good morning” he says “I have quite a substantial amount of money to donate and I would like to discuss this with someone.” I can pretty much guarantee you that the receptionists face will light up that calls will be made and that Sam will be seen very quickly. Sam has become a donor. Sam will never be called “just a donor”. Sam will get newsletters and emails and they will talk about Impact. He will know how his contribution is making a difference. He will be given plenty of other opportunities to donate in different areas. He may become a regular donor. He is important. He will be treated as such.
Alicia walks in the door of a major Not for Profit and stands at the reception desk. “Good morning” she says “I have quite a substantial amount of time to donate and I would like to discuss this with someone.” The receptionist may well look befuddled. Alicia may need to emphasise that she would like to volunteer. Then she may be referred to a website or given some paperwork to fill in. They might try to contact the under pressure volunteer coordinator to see if they have time but they may well not be answering their phone because they are training and have no support resources to be able to handle the query.
After going home and waiting a week Alicia is invited in for an interview. She is asked to fill in a police check for the admin role she is interested in. She also has another three or four forms to fill out. She must understand the code of conduct. She attends the interview and is grilled about her motivation. Nobody once mentions that she has been a senior partner in a law firm for most of her life although it was in the CV that was sent in. She wonders if it was read.
She is told that unless she commits for 12 months she can’t volunteer. Inwardly she smiles at this non-binding and non-legal contract. She states she will do her best.
She is invited to a four hour induction. Most of the time is spent on what she cannot do. Rules are set. She can’t figure out why the person doing the induction is talking to them as though they were children. She cringes when she is referred to as a “Vollie”
In the next room Sam is at a morning tea. He is enjoying home-made scones with jam and cream as the CEO explains the impact they all make. No checks and no paper work hinder his donation.
Alicia toddles off after her induction. She has been “told” what to do but not informed about the difference volunteers make. She decides not to come back. Something was just not right. She decides to volunteer money instead.