Memory Trigger – 6. Quitting A Position With A Non Profit.

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Cathy’s post Another DeCision triggered off this journey down memory lane for me.

It was the year 2007. I was primary caregiver for my late wife and also running my household as house-husband. I had retired from all full time positions to stay focussed on retired life which enabled me to be a full time caregiver.

A friend of many years approached me one day with a proposal to assume the responsibility of the Honorary Secretary of the local chapter of a Non Profit Organisation providing support to people suffering from a neurological disorder. Their office was in a building just across the road from our home and I had to spend just a couple of hours a day in their office. He felt that with my experience in the corporate world and caregiving, I would make a perfect fit. To add spice he also mentioned that the society was started by the sister in law of a friend of mine and that she was still very actively involved in it at the national level.

I rang up my friend to find out more about it and he put me in touch with his sister in law who was delighted that someone known to her brother in law would take charge and was very persuasive too.

To cut a long story short, I did become the Honorary Secretary of the local chapter and like I am wont to became deeply involved in all its activities including visiting suffering patients and their families, arranging for camps, fundraising, administration of the office run by paid staff etc.  Instead of spending just a couple of hours every day, I was spending far more visiting patients and in other matters.

As days went by, I discovered that most of the other members of the Managing Committee were in it for social status purposes and that with the exception of just a couple of genuinely committed persons wanting to work for the benefit of the sufferers, they were more interested in tea parties and getting some publicity for the so called social work that they were doing.

I also found interacting with the patients, many of them being treated very badly by their families very draining and after considerable thought, I resigned from the position after a year,  to save myself from emotional and physical exhaustion.

I however came away from the experience richer with the knowledge of the disease.  I saw humanity at its worst with families ill treating patients and grabbing the funds provided for the patients for other purposes.  I also came to admire some families who provided superhuman support for the sufferers.

I also made a great friend who was a sufferer from the disease and was a colleague on the Managing Committee.   He continues to be a good friend after all these years. He too dropped out of the Managing Committee for more or less the same reasons as I had for resigning.

I am however in touch with the society as a life member and am approached every year during their fund raising activities. I contribute what I can financially but do not get involved any more.

19 thoughts on “Memory Trigger – 6. Quitting A Position With A Non Profit.”

  1. there are causes dear to me that i monetarily support that i don’t have the emotional strength to support in any other way. abused animals for one.
    so i totally understand why you would have to stop with a hands~on level of support.
    especially being a full time care giver yourself at home!
    but so sad that some are in it only for all the wrong reasons.
    tammy j recently posted..moving on old bean

    1. That has been a very important tutorial for me. On the other hand, I see my son and daughter in love so involved with their animal welfare activity that I shudder to think how they will feel when they come across human cruelty at its worst.

  2. Yes. Over and over. I still do work for causes, or people who need help individually but as ME not person from XYZ Org. I can get a lot more done, for a patient for example, without loss of my org status/office/annual luncheon/name on annual report. Because I have none of those they have nothing to threaten me with. I work and agitate to achieve what is needed and then I move on. I owe them nothing. I am gone, but the “thing” I did gives others courage and the thing frequently becomes practise. In this way we change society. No one ever gave power when power is what they are there for, and no one ever changed something when the people affected asked nicely.

    1. I agree with you that as individuals we can achieve much more. Being part of an organisation dependent as it is on fundraising socialites, it becomes a difficult exercise.

  3. thanks for using my DeCision as a memory…

    I started my voluntary manager of fundraiser and material supplies service for the Auckland Handweavers & Spinners Guild in March 1999. I was on my own basically from the word go, as the other manager just drifted away.

    I have changed the system drastically over the years, and a few years ago out whole payment/accounting system went to business online banking. In some ways far easier especially when buying in stock as nearly suppliers are not in this area. I’ve altered the supplies as well, to suit the clientele

    About 18mths ago, we had a vandal cause havoc, I operated out of a very limited space and by the time we finally moved back to refurbished space, I was feeling jaded…and finally I seem to lost my mojo. One of the reasons is that the outside suppliers have got more in touch – and they can take their wares to various shows, whereas we are stuck…

    It is almost no service to members, and really I believe it’s “life” is gone, and I have suggested it close! Especially since sales have fallen in one particular arena…

    It will become formal resignation in early December – but already someone is considering taking it over…although I’m not sure she will. My notice will be set for the AGM in March 2017 but hoping to be gone before then!

    1. I remember your posts about the vandal and your reactions then. I hope that your resignation goes through without any hitch and that you are relieved of the burdens of responsibility.

      1. thanks…

        the new person, just doesn’t seem to have some of the qualities you need, i.e. a people/craft observer which you need to keep up with some trends; she has a tendency to mumble when talking up anything – and she definitely has some computer issues. This last issue we will not go back to cheques!

        And she keeps asking me “what are the plans you had thought of to improve…?” It’s like I still need run it, idea wise. Actually, I still think it should close or become more a 2nd hand supply/tool space &/or agent for a commercial business – something that has much more potential with all these so all new crafters who would rather spend money on the materials…

        but I will just let it gooooooooooooo… and get on with things I personally want to do, now, that I’m semi-retired and in a new place – art-wise. 🙂

  4. It seems as though many of us have had problems with voluntary positions.
    I ‘gave ‘ ten years to a charity organising volunteers- providing the ‘paid employees ‘ with page after page of monthly statistics. Time after time I was asked at short notice for the same information- very short notice. Then one day I said ‘sorry l’m busy today ‘. Oh the hue and cry that went on and almost perceived threats because they were needed for annual reports. No mention of please, we can’t locate them here.
    I stuck to my word ,didn’t provide them and resigned at the next annual meeting.
    A couple of years later at a chance meeting with an employee it was mentioned ‘the person needing the figures ‘finally found them’ just after I put the phone down. Not lost – just too lazy to look for them on her computer
    I’m much happier now – giving to another cause in my own time. Providing warm knitted garments for a homeless/disadvantaged charity. No pressure from anyone
    Cathy recently posted..Musical Monday….

    1. I am not at all surprised to learn from responses here that there are others who have had similar experiences with non profits. I too am happy doing what I do now at my individual level.

    2. I didn’t particularly have “pressure/s” because over the years no one has stepped forward to do it – and anyone that had to take up the reins when I was at University/classes, did it but only as the sales asst, not as I’ll take up ordering/other xyz…

      over the summer I dyed lots of things, mostly wool/silk…even whole fleeces (when we stocked them big time), we now have fleece donated…

  5. It seems that those who truly put their heart, energy and resources into charity to those who aren’t their family members without collecting a fee are few and far between.
    Looney recently posted..Food Poisoning

  6. It is easy to dive in head first when we are responsible and caring. I did that many times throughout my life. Now I am a volunteer for hospice but I have much better boundaries about what I will and won’t do as well as how much. It is rewarding help people who are preparing to leave this life. And I have met mostly supportive families.

    I must admit, though, that I give my money more readily than I give my time to the charities that I believe in.
    Mother recently posted..Chasing the Super Moon

  7. This is a memory your post jogged for me, but quite OT I think. (I must make a blog and stop imposing on other’s hospitality. Someday.) Anyway, I watched a program about Scottish comedien Billy Connolly a couple years ago. It was him tracing his genealogy, which took him GUESS WHERE? I wonder how many UK citizens might have similar histories. It was fascinating.

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