club staff vs volunteer

club staff vs volunteer

Post by sull » Thu, 07 Mar 2013 04:18:35


Problem:  you have a growing maturing club that has an excellent
culture of volunteers.    This culture is good, but not ideal, as a
volunteer in charge of one area - handles it superbly for a while,
runs into time constraints where the area he/she is responsible
isn't getting done.

Management of the various volunteer tasks becomes a job in itself.

The club got burned years ago when it hired a director, they're a
bit loathe to pull the trigger again.

I also have a sense, as they do, that as you bring on professional
staff,  you can damage the volunteer culture.  After all,
"why should I be doing XXX when we're paying a guy to
be here".

We all know there's a lot more to do in a club than one person
can handle.   My sense is to draw lines,  X tasks are the
responsibility of staff,  Y tasks are responsibility of volunteers.

What is your opinion on sets of tasks for X and Y?

Do you agree on the separation, or is there a set Z that
can be shared?

 
 
 

club staff vs volunteer

Post by James H » Thu, 07 Mar 2013 16:57:27

Quote:

> Problem:  you have a growing maturing club that has an excellent

> culture of volunteers.    This culture is good, but not ideal, as a

> volunteer in charge of one area - handles it superbly for a while,

> runs into time constraints where the area he/she is responsible

> isn't getting done.

No majic reply other than you are not alone!

We have the same issue with coaching. Most is excellent, and volunteer. But we also have paid. We have found that the paid can really bring on the volunteer, and vice verse. We are careful to encourage and bring on volunteer because the whole finance works that way ... we pay for coaching if we want it and may get a volunteer or paid, but the books need to balance.

We surveyed the membership and asked if they would like a boatman part time, and the vote was NO, but no one came forward to help the usual suspects  ..... so we have gradually introduced one and this is accepted.

However, these roles have so far all been subordinate to our elected general committee who do bear the heaviest burdon. Here we found that a few years of implementing rigour and structure really reduced faff and admin .... but people like to talk!

James

Quote:

> Management of the various volunteer tasks becomes a job in itself.

> The club got burned years ago when it hired a director, they're a

> bit loathe to pull the trigger again.

> I also have a sense, as they do, that as you bring on professional

> staff,  you can damage the volunteer culture.  After all,

> "why should I be doing XXX when we're paying a guy to

> be here".

> We all know there's a lot more to do in a club than one person

> can handle.   My sense is to draw lines,  X tasks are the

> responsibility of staff,  Y tasks are responsibility of volunteers.

> What is your opinion on sets of tasks for X and Y?

> Do you agree on the separation, or is there a set Z that

> can be shared?


 
 
 

club staff vs volunteer

Post by coac » Thu, 07 Mar 2013 22:41:51

My club has, for the last 20 years, employed a professional coach. At the same time we rely on a team of dedicated volunteer coaches to assist him in ensuring that all the serious athletes, from Novice to Internationals, get a consistent level of high quality coaching.

We have always made it clear, in the job description, that one of the tasks of the "professional Chief Coach" is to ensure that the limited time that the volunteers have available is used efficiently.  

The club captain is likely to direct the chief coach to concentrate much of his time on the top crews during the run into a major competition. However it would be very short sighted if, in following this instruction, he was to neglect the other crews with the club. One only has to cast ones mind back a few years to when CUBC found it necessary to promote an athlete from Goldie to the blue boat during the week before the race.

Quote:

> Problem:  you have a growing maturing club that has an excellent

> culture of volunteers.    This culture is good, but not ideal, as a

> volunteer in charge of one area - handles it superbly for a while,

> runs into time constraints where the area he/she is responsible

> isn't getting done.

> Management of the various volunteer tasks becomes a job in itself.

> The club got burned years ago when it hired a director, they're a

> bit loathe to pull the trigger again.

> I also have a sense, as they do, that as you bring on professional

> staff,  you can damage the volunteer culture.  After all,

> "why should I be doing XXX when we're paying a guy to

> be here".

> We all know there's a lot more to do in a club than one person

> can handle.   My sense is to draw lines,  X tasks are the

> responsibility of staff,  Y tasks are responsibility of volunteers.

> What is your opinion on sets of tasks for X and Y?

> Do you agree on the separation, or is there a set Z that

> can be shared?


 
 
 

club staff vs volunteer

Post by usbri » Fri, 08 Mar 2013 03:16:48

Quote:

> My club has, for the last 20 years, employed a professional coach. At the same time we rely on a team of dedicated volunteer coaches to assist him in ensuring that all the serious athletes, from Novice to Internationals, get a consistent level of high quality coaching.

> We have always made it clear, in the job description, that one of the tasks of the "professional Chief Coach" is to ensure that the limited time that the volunteers have available is used efficiently.  

> The club captain is likely to direct the chief coach to concentrate much of his time on the top crews during the run into a major competition. However it would be very short sighted if, in following this instruction, he was to neglect the other crews with the club. One only has to cast ones mind back a few years to when CUBC found it necessary to promote an athlete from Goldie to the blue boat during the week before the race.

If you are a club which has some paid coaching staff and volunteers, I would assume its incumbent on the committee to make sure that the paid coach is not only focusing on the top crews but also providing support to the volunteer coaches - coaching the coaches as it were?
 
 
 

club staff vs volunteer

Post by sull » Sat, 09 Mar 2013 03:10:24


Quote:
> My club has, for the last 20 years, employed a professional coach. At the same time we rely on a team of dedicated volunteer coaches to assist him in ensuring that all the serious athletes, from Novice to Internationals, get a consistent level of high quality coaching.

> We have always made it clear, in the job description, that one of the tasks of the "professional Chief Coach" is to ensure that the limited time that the volunteers have available is used efficiently.

> The club captain is likely to direct the chief coach to concentrate much of his time on the top crews during the run into a major competition. However it would be very short sighted if, in following this instruction, he was to neglect the other crews with the club. One only has to cast ones mind back a few years to when CUBC found it necessary to promote an athlete from Goldie to the blue boat during the week before the race.

thanks, all for responses.

The club does have paid coaches,  responsible for specific programs,
and paid for out of fees
to participate in those programs, though I am certain that the books
don't always balance.

w/o seeing the books, I'm sure there are periods where the club at
large is absorbing some
of the payment for coaches - ok by me.

Each program has a "lead" who is a club member, acts much as a club
captain for that
program, either sculling, masters, intermediate, or learn-to-row.
(yep lots of programs).
Some programs will share a coach.

This seems to work fairly well.   We've had little trouble lately
getting coaches to come in,
and some stay a while.

But the issue isn't the coaching, but the infrastructure.

My sense is to divide out discrete tasks volunteer vs staff member.

An example is membership enforcement.    This generally falls on
the club treasurer, a volunteer.   Depending on the person doing it,
there are various levels of enforcement from year to year.
It's a dirty job, someone's got to do, and out of about 6 treasurers
I can think of that the club has had over the years, only two
have really knuckled down on payments.

They do the right thing,  some members will look at those
two as being a-holes for coming after them because their
memberhip's a "little late".

If this was on a staff member,  this could be consistently
enforced,  but OTOH, by a volunteer doing it (who also
pays membership dues), there's quite a lot of gravitas
that they carry.

Boat maintenance:  I'd like volunteers to maintain the shells,
fix shoes, minor things, replace worn parts, etc.

I'd like a staff member to order spare parts, make more
substantial repairs or do the work to farm it out to professional.

Other areas are safety enforcement,  boathouse ***
stuff,  supervision of custodial issues and facility maintenance.

does this make sense?

 
 
 

club staff vs volunteer

Post by Henry La » Sat, 09 Mar 2013 03:27:46


Quote:
> I'd like a staff member to order spare parts, make more
> substantial repairs or do the work to farm it out to professional.

... and possibly maintain records of what needs doing, assigning simpler
stuff to one of the volunteers (by agreement) and recognising when it's
done.

It's my experience that getting people to do work might be hard, but
recording when it's needed, and making sure it's done, is harder still.

--

Henry Law            Manchester, England

 
 
 

club staff vs volunteer

Post by Charles Carrol » Sat, 09 Mar 2013 03:33:03

Quote:
> X tasks are the
> responsibility of staff,
> Y tasks are responsibility
> of volunteers.

> What is your opinion on sets of tasks for X and Y?

Mike,

... but isn't the staff ultimately responsible for overseeing that the
volunteers actually take care of the Y tasks? The big X!

Things run smoothly only when someone accepts overall responsibility.
Ironically this may be an "unpaid volunteer." Think of it as something
similar to the chain of command in the military, only with less formality.
Ultimately the person at the top is responsible for the general well-being
of the Club. In simple terms, he or she is the one who sees that the General
Manager is doing his duty.

It is really not all that difficult, so long as someone accepts
responsibility and exercises his or her power. They don't have to become a
tyrant. But they do have to be clear sighted and able to make decisions. I
have found in the sixty-five years I have spent on this planet that this can
sometimes be a rare quality.

Cordially,

Chuck

 
 
 

club staff vs volunteer

Post by sull » Sat, 09 Mar 2013 04:11:14


Quote:

> > I'd like a staff member to order spare parts, make more
> > substantial repairs or do the work to farm it out to professional.

> ... and possibly maintain records of what needs doing, assigning simpler
> stuff to one of the volunteers (by agreement) and recognising when it's
> done.

> It's my experience that getting people to do work might be hard, but
> recording when it's needed, and making sure it's done, is harder still.

very good point.   These are the sort of mundane but important tasks
that fall by the wayside.

Club has all kinds of brilliant ideas/applications out there, safety
incident
reports, damage excel sheets,  inventory lists, etc,  boat logs etc,
but consistent maintenance isn't happening with the volunteers.

I volunteer to be boathouse ***, but there can be a period of
a couple months at a time when I just run out of gas, or have
too many other issues to deal with to chase down coaches and
athletes over abused slings, misracked boats, dim lights, course
rules,  coaches picking up boat killing obstacles in water, etc,

that would be something I'd like to offload!!

 
 
 

club staff vs volunteer

Post by sull » Sat, 09 Mar 2013 04:16:45



Quote:
> > X tasks are the
> > responsibility of staff,
> > Y tasks are responsibility
> > of volunteers.

> > What is your opinion on sets of tasks for X and Y?

> Mike,

> ... but isn't the staff ultimately responsible for overseeing that the
> volunteers actually take care of the Y tasks? The big X!

> Things run smoothly only when someone accepts overall responsibility.
> Ironically this may be an "unpaid volunteer." Think of it as something
> similar to the chain of command in the military, only with less formality.
> Ultimately the person at the top is responsible for the general well-being
> of the Club. In simple terms, he or she is the one who sees that the General
> Manager is doing his duty.

> It is really not all that difficult, so long as someone accepts
> responsibility and exercises his or her power. They don't have to become a
> tyrant. But they do have to be clear sighted and able to make decisions. I
> have found in the sixty-five years I have spent on this planet that this can
> sometimes be a rare quality.

In the club, I like that the volunteer board is the ultimate authority
and supervision.   I have doubts about if the pro staff should be
supervising volunteerism.  I have a sense that the tasks should stay
separate.

The club has a very good boat maintenance system, indeed I
wrote them last summer and told them I thought they could
cut back on much of the work they were doing (heck they were
dissembling boats 3-4 times a year, once is enough).

My sense is that there can be volunteer hours dedicated
to volunteer task supervision,  that volunteer can work
with the staff member.

Some people do like to be in charge, I like to let them!

 
 
 

club staff vs volunteer

Post by K- » Sat, 09 Mar 2013 04:28:37

Regardless of the boat-related issues, having paid staff to handle the accounting is wonderful, and can protect you from a lot of critical tax-related errors. It also reduces your chances of embezzlement from club members.
 
 
 

club staff vs volunteer

Post by sull » Sat, 09 Mar 2013 04:56:37


Quote:
> Regardless of the boat-related issues, having paid staff to handle the accounting is wonderful, and can protect you from a lot of critical tax-related errors. It also reduces your chances of embezzlement from club members.

agree.  We have had that in the past, accountant retired last year,
not sure who has replaced.