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Business

Volunteer organizations

Why are people so willing to help their volunteer organizations to succeed when they're so reluctant to do the same at their place of employment?
Written by Dan Kusnetzky, Contributor on

I've been involved with the leadership of both commercial and volunteer organizations for quite a number of years and have wondered about the different attitudes I've seen.

When told that they have to attend a day-long or week-long training event, employees often go along only grudgingly even though they're being paid to attend the event. The members of the volunteer organization attend because they'd like to and pay to attend the event. They often work hard to assemble excellent presentations, workshops and creative arts for the event - all because they believe in the goals of the organizaiton and what it is doing to achieve those goals.

Employees will often recognize what the organization needs to do to succeed and will only focus their attention on these needs when told to do so.  They many not call leaders' attention to the issue until it becomes a problem. They also have an expectation of increased compensation in some form or another.  The members of the volunteer organization often seek out issues needing to be addressed and ask if they can work on a team to address those issues.

While I'm not sure why such differences exist, I do find it intriguing.  Are you member of a volunteer organization such as a church, an organization focused on supporting the arts, an organization seeking a cure for a disease or an organization focused on a sport?  Why do you suppose people are so eager to help there and not so willing at their place of employment?

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