Figure Skating Club Volunteers: Changing the Anti-Volunteer Mindset
Ive written about figure skating club volunteer hours twice this summer (Alright. Let’s Talk: Figure Skating Club Volunteer Hours and Figure Skating Club Volunteering: How Can We Make It Better?). What Ive learned is that volunteering is a pretty hot topic in clubs. Club members resent having to volunteer their time when, really, the hours are mandatory. They resent having to pay a fine for not volunteering. And theyre frustrated because some volunteer activities dont count toward the clubs requirements.
No one wants to be strong armed into volunteering; however, no one wants to be the lone volunteer, either. Attracting volunteers is a big challenge. Part of the challenge is the time/money problem; the other part is cultural.
Volunteer hour pay out. Reader Jessi posted a link to a post about daycare fines and how they can either be effective or ineffective. (Fines: You Are Not So Smart) The misconception is that we think a fine will discourage bad behavior and encourage good behavior. However, according to David McRaney of You Are Not So Smart, If you perceive the cost of a fine as less than the social cost of the bad behavior, it will cause the bad behavior to increase.
In other words, that fine for not volunteering better be a whopper, or members will gleefully drop off a check on their way to their manicure appointment.
High hourly wage earners. I read about another study about volunteering on the Psychology Todaywebsites blog The Hidden Brain. Science reporter Shankar Vedantam wrote about a study of lawyers, billable hours, and volunteer time. Researchers found that the more money a lawyer charges per hour, the less likely that lawyer is to do volunteer work. In other words, if a lawyer charges $300 for her time, shes likely to think of being an ice monitor for an hour as a $300 donation to the club.
Its a misconception, Vedantam wrote, because the lawyers time is worth $300 an hour as long as the lawyer is doing lawyer stuff. When the lawyer is driving the kids to the rink, though, thats not $300 worth of skill.
Club culture. The other half of the challenge to attract volunteers is the clubs culture. If a club has never required volunteer hours, its going to take some time for members to get used to the idea that they need to volunteer. Its tough to change a mindset and it takes time and positive leadership. It takes a personal touch where board members reach out to club members face-to-face and ask them to volunteer.
Many figure skating club members are disgruntled with the volunteer policy, would rather do the minimum, or just pay their way out of the hourly requirement. But clubs still need volunteers.
My question for you parents is: How can we change the anti-volunteer mindset?