Getting volunteer help: May 2008 Archives

May 11, 2008

Holding a Meeting: Got Snacks?

I seem to have been attending a lot of meetings lately, both in for-profit and nonprofit Fruitsettings. That's given me a chance, while I wait for people to file in, to notice that it's often the meetings where the announcement contained the magical word "food" that draw the most attendees.

That's hardly a headline-worthy revelation -- but then why are some organizers still missing their chance at a little bribery? Particularly when the weather is getting better and motivation to sit around inside is going way, way down?

Maybe bribery is too harsh a word -- anthropologists can give us plenty of examples where the first words out of a host, even when greeting a stranger, concern whether the person would like some food. It's a primal welcoming thing.

Anyway, if the reasons are budgetary, that doesn't seem like much of a barrier. No one needs to promise a hot gourmet meal, just some snacks. In fact, two or three people planning to come (board members or other volunteers, for example) can be asked to bring those snacks. Some cookies, fruit slices, nuts, and cheese and crackers will not break anyone's budgets.

May 2, 2008

Moment of Awww: Meet Colleen

Here's a dog I've been walking for weeks who still hasn't been adopted. I think of her as a metaphor for some nonprofits -- nothing out of the ordinary on paper (she's 8 years old, which is a hard sell), but amazing once you get up close. Dog photo

Colleen has a hilariously cute habit of greeting people with a chew toy in her mouth, running back and forth making an odd sighing sound that may be due to a past owner having cut her vocal cords. Unlike many dogs I meet at the Humane Society, she remains good natured even as the weeks go by -- doesn't get jealous when I go to walk other dogs, doesn't act demanding or desperate.

On the radio this morning, a caller to a talk show raised the issue of why people choose certain charities or causes and ignore others. The example given was that people in Britain give more to animal charities than to those helping victims of domestic violence. I do sometimes ask myself whether there isn't something more immediately useful I should be doing than dogwalking. And I haven't come up with a brilliant answer, except to say that spreading happiness can't be a bad thing, even if it's via a lonely dog.