Saturday, May 14, 2011

Volunteer Frustration

In our research around the 6 C's of women's motivations to give, we found that women want to be connected to the cause they are giving to.  That sounds easy enough until you add the component of "seeing the face" their gift impacts.  Recently, I decided I had served on enough boards.  As I have said so often, no one wants me for my "fine mind," it's always for fundraising and I'm quite tired of that.

Now I want to do something where I can work first hand with people, particularly teenagers.  I have raised 3 children and have 8 grandchildren.  I understand and probably have dealt with most of their issues.  But so far, I have been told I can't work directly with the young people because of privacy laws.  Other than Big Sisters, where I can't volunteer because I am not around in the winter, I have either been turned down or not had any response to my queries.  In fact, it's as if I'm rather crazy to want to be in the trenches rather than the boardroom.

Now I have met many social workers who are burned out and overcome with paperwork.  One who works with foster children told me recently that she has 80 cases and only can spend one hour a month with each of them.  Otherwise, she's tied down with all the paperwork.

There has to be something terribly wrong with our system when the only volunteer opportunities available to me are to file papers, serve on fundraising committees, and plan events.  None of which puts me in touch with the young people with whom I would like to work.

I am frustrated!

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