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About Being a Volunteer

General notes to help you decide where you fit

Choosing where you fit, or where to fit your volunteers if you are a leader, is critical to keeping everyone as happy and productive as possible. Volunteers drop out when projects are no longer fun, or the leadership is messy.  They will also disappear if they aren’t doing something they know how to do.
So it’s important to fit the volunteer with the job.  Here are some simple tips taken from the RLTC online leadership course (

BE HONEST about what you like and don't like to do.  Tell the project leader what wraps your winch.  But also speak up about what you don’t like to do.

BE SMART about how much time you can really devote.  Your family, friends, job and “other life duties” have a place probably above your volunteer life, so be clear about that when you are loading up your calendar.  Deliver what you promise; and don’t promise what you can’t deliver.

BE CLEAR about your strengths and weaknesses.  You can do some things and not others.  If your back is out, don’t volunteer to wield a shovel, but rather a clipboard or something else.

AVOID SAYING YES when you know you can't really do it.  Again, it boils down to making sure everyone succeeds in the project or activity – DELIVER what you promise; and don’t promise what you can’t’ deliver.


1. DIRECT SERVICE = club leader, coach, worker bee, trailer hauler, counselor?
2. LEADER = officer, board member, committee chair, fundraiser?
3. GENERAL SUPPORT = office worker, cleaner, receptionist, safety officer, web help?
4. MEMBER AT LARGE = occasionally attend meetings or projects to help.

LEAD OR FOLLOW; but don't just waste good talent.

ALWAYS BE CLEAR ON EXPECTATIONS -- what makes you smile vs. frown?  Both sides, the leader and the volunteer should be clear on Expectations.  If it makes you smile, write an Expectation to achieve it; if it makes you frown, write an Expectation to avoid it (taken directly from the RLTC online training course).

SIGN UP for what you can do -- paperwork, wield a shovel, lead a committee

HERE is a great article on the CARE and FEEDING of VOLUNTEERS.

NOTE: Volunteer Fit references are from "Leadership and Management of Volunteer Programs, by James C. Fisher and Kathleen M. Cole who referenced Heidrich, K.A. in "Volunteers' Life Styles: Market Segmentation Based on Volunteer's Role Choice."


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