Union County ARES Blog Page
Volunteers are important. But more important are the reasons for
volunteering, and the way an organization is managed to make it
effective. Take a moment and learn from the pros.
This checklist was adopted from a meeting I had the pleasure of
attending this past winter. It was with a group of hams that are very
involved in their community. Their participation spans from causal
observation at parades, to real emergency events. Weather spotting is
less than 10% of their mission. The rest is local community
involvement. They have performed maritime directional finding,
communication exercises with militia, training in schools and churches,
and have drilled with other clubs to advance their skills in preparation
Their motto, "A Good Ham Knows: Preparation, Education, and Service to Community"
speaks volumes. The thing most impressive is they do this not for the
recognition, but because it's the right thing to do. In preparing this
article about their organization they specifically requested no mention.
What they did ask is that their suggestions and information be
distributed freely on the hope that it will help other organizations
gain the proficiency and achievements they have.
The key point made at the meeting is that things just don't
happen in a community. It takes people, local people, to be the
soldiers of any organization. An organization, especially one in a
rural area, is much more effective than asking the state or the federal
officials to come in and solve problems. Volunteers know the community,
know the people in the community, the communication capabilities,
resources, and how to get things done! They are the link.
Volunteering is an important and essential contribution to
society. Without volunteers many of the tasks we face in life would be
compromised. Without a volunteer fire department, how would a small
community react to a downtown building fire? Without volunteer weather
spotters, how would a federal agency such as NOAA get real time data
from the field?
You can't take volunteering lightly. Before pledging yourself to
an organization, analyze all the reasons and your abilities. You
should get involved if you can perform a service. You should not
volunteer if you don't have commitment, ability, or preconceived notions
how the organizations should be run. Bad volunteers cause problems
within an organization, as well as personal and professional credibility
issues. Most of all, they let down their community.
Take for example a weather spotter that decides it's his
responsibility to chase down a tornado and get in front of it to observe
the winds and damage it causes. He announces he's going in and is not
heard from again. His fellow volunteers and emergency responders are
now placed in the position of focusing on him, and applying assets for
possible search and rescue.
How about groups of people that say they are volunteers, but
don't do anything? How are they helping, and what is the public's view
of other volunteers and the organization they represent? What if a
volunteer EMTS organization never answered your call in a medical
Let's look at this from both sides. First we will look at why
you volunteer, and then we'll look at the volunteer manager. Before
putting your hand up to volunteer, think about the following.
- Why do you want to get involved? Is it because you have the
time and talents, or is it for the fraternity and recognition? Can you
serve a productive, required need?
The difference between a volunteer organization and a club is that
the club is a fraternal organization. It is there for the meeting of
other hams, and the sharing of interests. A volunteer organization
exists to serve a need. Many people try to mix these two together, and
it usually doesn't work. Why should people perform work and service to
community when their reason for joining a club was just to have fun and
meet other hams.
- We all have busy lives. Even retirees have full
schedules. Are you able to volunteer, or are you are already
over-committed? How much can you shoulder realistically?
You should not feel obliged to take on a volunteer position if you
are already busy with other things. Over-extending yourself is the
first step on the path to burn-out and failure. If someone pressures
you to do more, you do not owe any explanation whatsoever. Simply say,
"I already have things to do." Volunteer only if you have time to do
- Are your talents needed? Is there something you
want to do? This is an important question because it focuses on your
investment in the group's mission.
Are you joining a group of weather spotters because you want to
provide information vital to public safety? You shouldn't volunteer
just to get a sticker for your car, a badge, name in the paper, or
because your friends belong. Separate personal wants and needs from
service to your community. If you are not participating for the right
reasons it's safe to say you're ineffective to the organization, and
probably wise to move on to something else.
- Do you have the ability to perform the volunteer
activities for which you are expected to perform? You would not want to
become a volunteer firefighter if you have asthma, and you're afraid of
fire. You would not want to be on an EMTS run if you faint at the
sight of blood. Ask yourself the simple question, can I do what is
asked of me?
Tell the volunteer organizer about your skills, and explain to them
any concerns you have to fulfilling your duty. Allow them to find a
position best suited to your aptitude and interests. Don't take offense
if your services are not required at first.
- Are your efforts competing with other volunteer and
hobby positions? Are they politically challenged? To whom do you owe
your loyalty? These may seem like odd questions but suppose you live on
a county line. You're a volunteer with ARES in one county, and a RACES
member in another county. Both counties call you up. To whom shall
Another situation might be where you are a member of a club, and your
buddies have a loyalty to the club and don't want you to be a volunteer
of what they see as a competing organization. If there is competition,
how might that affect your effectiveness in the scope of volunteering?
If members of a club are going to attack you for belonging to another
organization, it might be better not to volunteer. It's not fair to
the volunteer organization if you have to keep looking over your
shoulder for conflict, or your buddies are sniping at you on the radio.
As a rule of thumb, if there is conflict, choose one or the other.
Besides radio clubs and emergency positions, you shouldn't have
to compete with family, church, school, and other personal commitments.
If there is conflict with family or personal commitments, the club and
organization should be a far distant second. Family first!
- Are you physically able to volunteer? There are
certain stages in your life when volunteering may not be a good option.
Someone who is retired and out of physical shape should probably not be
involved in strenuous activities. However, their services could be
used as net control, clerical roles, or simply to assist in coordinating
If you want to help with fieldwork, perhaps you could be a spotter
for overhead electrical lines, or buried infrastructure. Or maybe just
coordinate activities for the organization.
- Do you have the right equipment and resources to
perform what is asked of you? Does your radio work properly? Do you
know how to set repeater offsets, tone settings, and memories?
As ridiculous as these sounds, I have witnessed hams that don't know
how their radios work! If you can't operate your equipment, or don't
have the proper equipment, perhaps you should resolve this problem
before hindering an organization. You should know your equipment
intimately. If you can't remember, carry a manual or instruction card
with you at all times. Having spare batteries or a spare radio is a good
idea, but it's an investment.
- Are you joining because of peer pressure? Sometime
our friends are our own worse enemy. They may want more "numbers" in
their organization. Or they may want someone to take over a position,
and for whatever reason they feel you want the job. People are bullied
and even coerced into volunteering. This is not a good reason to be a
It is not unusual to be elected at a meeting that you do not attend.
Or be pushed into position in front of a meeting, belittled with
questions why you won't accept on the spot. If you are present at such a
vote, vocalize strongly your refusal. State clearly that you do not
want the position, period, and ask those who are pressuring you to stop.
If it should happen in your absence, send a carefully worded
letter refusing the position, setting out brief reasons why, or simply
say "I do not accept". I would also recommend sending this by USPS
letter, receipt requested. With e-mail there is often the temptation by
the recipient to forward it on with comments, or it can escalate into a
long e-mail debate.
- Are you joining because of sympathy? Believe it or
not, many people take on positions with volunteer organizations because
they fear the organization's failure. "Ok, I'll do it because nobody
else will", is a comment a lot of people have made, only to regret
You shouldn't have to become a volunteer because you fear an
organization's demise. This sounds harsh, but if an organization fails
because nobody wants to be a part of it, then maybe it's not needed, or
there is a lack of community support. Sometimes failure is an option
when there is lack of need. And if needed it will rise from the ashes
like the Phoenix.
If you have to step in due to a vacancy, it is acceptable as long
as you state a reasonable time period for your replacement. 90 to 120
days is typical. But never accept a long-term status out of fear that
if you leave, you're responsible for putting the organization in the
- Can you find a way to be a volunteer without killing
your time, energy, or finances? Being a volunteer is a commitment. It
can easily become a second or third job. Your position has a
responsibility, but will it take you away from family, friends, and
You should not volunteer if after your shift you feel physically
stressed, or exhausted. Nothing will make an employer unhappy that to
have you less than productive because of your extra curricular volunteer
work. And your long-term employment could be affected if you choose to
go spot weather events all night, and then call in sick to work the
Most volunteer organizations don't pay expenses. If you are
called upon to drive distances, (as in weather spotting), do you possess
the finances for gas? Will this activity affect the condition of your
car to the point where you can't get to work? Can you afford to do the
things an organization asks of you? Sometimes your volunteering is an
One trap volunteers get into is pledging their personal assets,
or money to purchase assets for the organization. You should not
entertain the thought of providing for group resources until you have
carefully considering the consequences, and weighed all the options.
Radios, antennas, cable, vehicles, generators, and places to hold
meetings should not be donated unless you have a clear understanding
that once you "give" them to the organization, there are no strings
attached, conditions, or reasons to take them back.
- What is your level of commitment? Are you dedicated
or are you just mildly interested? If you are prone to making excuses
for not participating in events, nets, training, or meetings, this is
probably a sign you have not invested fully in the organization. It is
not fair to the rest of the organization if they can be 100% and all you
can muster up is 40%.
Do you use language to suggest that being a volunteer is less
important, with no commitment? If you use the phase "I'm just a
volunteer" as a way to explain away not performing your duty, you just
established what you and your organization is worth. Nothing. If you
can not commit, it's best to quit. And never make excuses.
- Are you risking your safety? You would be surprised
at how many people have now made the transition between storm spotter
and storm chaser. In some cases I have seen normally sane people get
caught up in the excitement and drive into storms or dangerous
In the case of RACES, you encounter many situations where you might
not be prepared or knowledgeable. Have you been properly training in
hazards and health risks? You should request training from your
organization on the dangers you will encounter.
If you feel unsafe, consult the person in charge and let them
know. Trust your instincts. If you are denied any safety training, you
are within your rights to leave an organization.
These are but just a few examples of questions you need to ask yourself when thinking of joining a volunteer organization.
Be fair and honest with your assessment of your priorities. It's
far better not to volunteer, than to say you will then not live up to
your end of the bargain.
The Management Side
Now let's look at the management of a volunteer organization. If
your organization is self-sustaining then you need to run it like a
business and not as a casual club.
An example of a non-self sustaining organization is one like
RACES, which is controlled at the top by an Emergency Manager. If your
organization has a non-ham Emergency Manager in charge of your club your
first task is to get them in the loop on what ham radio can and can't
do. They should feel comfortable in their relationship with your
organization, and know that they CAN count on your volunteers when the
Do not make promises you can't keep.
Being a leader of a group is work. It's not to be taken lightly.
I've seen dozens of groups fail painfully because the leader decided
to put off meetings, skip nets, or otherwise not take their duties
seriously. Apathy is a killer, and has murdered more organizations than
I care to count.
I've also seen leaders get involved in things that regular volunteers
should be doing. For example; the leader should not always be the guy
that takes the net, sets schedules, chairs projects, does the meeting
agenda, and invites in people to put on presentations. You should
delegate! Distribute! Divest yourself of the minutia. You should have
the support of all your volunteers. Everyone doing just a little bit
is better than one guy doing a lot.
Don't get involved with small insignificant stuff, when the
larger picture is ignored. I once knew a guy who focused on writing
MOUs (Memos of Understanding), by-laws, maps and guides. He would get
into long debates about league protocols, and how other organizations
did things. He ignored the nets, membership, and training.
Consequently the organization fell apart. Keep your eye on the prize!
Bylaws and MOUs mean squat when an F4 tornado is coming at your
community and you don't have people, the net, nor the training to be
One of the biggest things you hear from successful people in
business is that it's not the amount of hours they work, and how hard
they work, but whom you have selected as your management team. A good
leader is one who has the right people. If the leader is sick or can't
participate in an event, things go on as scheduled. A bad manager is
one where everything comes to a halt if they are not involved in every
single phase and function.
You should never take on a leadership position unless you are
fully prepared to do the necessary work. You should set up a good team
consisting of secretary, treasurer, one or more vice presidents,
trustee, and appropriate chairmen for your committees. You should not
do it all!
For managers or officers of a volunteer organization, here are some
suggestions for making, and keeping your organization's integrity
- Ask yourself; Why do I want to be the leader? Am I able to
lead, or am I already over-committed? How much work can I shoulder?
Will my position compete with other volunteer organizations, hobbies,
and personal needs? Am I the leader because of peer pressure? Am I the
leader because of sympathy? What is my level of commitment?
Does this sound familiar? If it does sound familiar, a lot of
reasons for being a volunteer go hand in hand with being a leader of an
organization. You should be a leader for the right reasons. Before
accepting the position, ask, "am I invested 100% in this organization?"
- Check your volunteer applications carefully. If you
have the ability to run criminal record checks it would be advisable
especially if the applicant will work with the public. Ask the
applicant to produce a copy of their amateur radio license, and check
the class of license and expiration dates. Do they have a valid drivers
license, or points on their license?
- Check your applicant's ability to operate the equipment
your organization uses. Do they know area repeater frequencies, and FCC
rules? Do they know how to change frequencies, set PL tones, and have a
basic understanding of how a transceiver works? Do they know common
procedures, and the difference between repeaters and simplex? Do they
know basic propagation situations, power, antenna height, and how it
- An area often ignored is when volunteers are required to
use their own equipment, but they don't know how to operate it. New
hams sometime get "deals", or inherit a radio from someone else. At a
venue I recently attended we were forced to change repeaters because two
volunteers could not change their frequency or program in PL tones. If
a volunteer does not understand their radio's operations or has
something incompatible, ask them politely to study the radio and resolve
the issue. Optionally, you may want to loan them a radio, or council
them on how to operate a radio. Changing your entire operation because a
volunteer is not trained to operate a radio, or has improper equipment,
sends the wrong message to everyone. Surprising as it seems, there
are new hams and volunteers showing up that know nothing about basic
amateur radio operation. You need to be the "filter" for quality
- Always hold regular scheduled professional meetings, and
take attendance. Members who don't show up should be queried why they
chose not to attend. When you talk to them, do it in private and not in
a public forum. Even a "we missed you last week" mentioned on a net
can be misconstrued as calling someone out publicly. Not participating
is no excuse.
- Make sure you hold regular scheduled nets. Like your
meetings, you should take attendance and question members that never or
- Keep a record of volunteers that participate in all
organization functions. Audit their status at each quarter. At the
end of the year their record of participation should weigh into their
continued involvement with the organization.
- Volunteers who participate should be praised and
complimented. Those who don't participate should be asked why. (More
on this later). At one organization I know, they have a point system
for the training taken, hours volunteering, and events they participate
in. At the end of the year awards are given in the form of a framed
diploma to the top people.
- Keep track of all volunteer achievements. If they take
classes that benefit the organization, these should be made a matter of
their record. Ask the achiever to speak about their classes and the
good they see in the learning experience. Hopefully it will motivate
- All meetings, projects, drills, nets, and training
sessions should be scheduled well in advance. A good idea is to have a
full year of activities prepared by the first of the year. This allows
your volunteers to properly plan around events, including family
vacations, local and distant hamfests, and other personal time away.
- Provide training for people, and stress the importance
that all volunteers participate. Emergency managers can usually provide
training at little or no cost. It is important to have your volunteers
as educated as possible. NIMS, CPR, Hazmat, are all good to know.
- Perform drills on a regular basis. If your emergency
manager is unable to get you involved in a state or regional drills,
make up one that will allow your volunteers to get a feel for the heat
of the action. Think of various scenarios in your community you might
have to respond to.
Formulate a drill, and allow all volunteers to experience the action.
Then go back and analyze what you did right and wrong. All your
volunteers should know how to act based on the training and drills they
attend. They should not have to ask what to do when an emergency
arises. They should say, "where am I needed", and know what to do.
- When holding a meeting, have a written agenda and
follow it. If possible schedule a presentation or program that pertains
to the organization's mission. Many organizations have their guest
speak first, then do their regular meeting. That way the guest may
leave if they don't have the time to sit through a meeting, (although,
extend the courtesy for them to stay and learn about your organization).
- Never, ever, allow meetings to develop into a kvetching
sessions, or old war stories. If someone brings up something not
pertinent to the organization, ask him or her to hold their comments
till after the meeting. Close the meeting before allowing them to
start. If they cause a scene, it's advisable that you and members of
your administration meet with the volunteer privately right after the
meeting and discuss their behavior. Disruptive behavior should not be
- Items that need to be voted on by the volunteers should
be announced to volunteers thirty days prior to vote, allowing them time
to think, and research the subject. Dropping it on them at a meeting
is unacceptable if you expect a vote and approval the same day.
- Keep accurate minutes of your meetings, and remind those
who are members of committees a few days ahead of a meeting that you
will call on them for a report at the meeting. Don't ambush them at a
meeting and expect them to come up with figures and details.
- The leaders of the organization should not be the only
ones doing the work. In making your list for the year, assign what you
feel is a reasonable number of people to perform tasks. Make it known
that everyone needs to take a turn, and that nobody should have to do
something twice until everyone has rotated through the list. Distribute
- When you hold nets, everyone should have a turn at
performing as net control. It's a good idea to announce on the air the
person who will be next week's net control, based on a list you have
created ahead of time. That way you have record of whose turn it is,
and you have plenty of people to know whose turn it is.
- If net control forgets to start the net, someone else
should jump in and start the net. They can always abdicate to the
scheduled net control if that person shows up late. Don't let a net fail
because nobody wanted to jump in. This sends the message; "failure is
- Keep your net orderly. A net should have a preamble,
followed by a check in of volunteers. Keep a record of those who check
in. If a non-volunteer checks in, ask them to wait till the end of the
net and you will be happy to answer all question. Half of the time
their questions are answered simply by listening to the net.
You should train and advise your volunteers on proper net protocol as
well as permissible transmission. Never allow arguments, disagreements,
or any non-organization content to take place. It's also a good idea
to make it known that promotion of other organizations, clubs, or any
advertising is prohibited. This is YOUR net, not theirs. If they
insist that they want to pass information, ask them to wait till after
you have closed the net.
- If you have someone with a disagreement, ask him or
her privately what it is. Acknowledge that you understand the problem,
and you will get back to them shortly. Immediately meet with your team
and articulate to them the concern of the volunteer. Then, and within a
week, you and your team should meet with the person and discuss a
resolution. Hopefully the problem can be corrected, but in some cases
you may have to tell the volunteer there is nothing you can do. If the
volunteer threatens to quit, express regret, but tell them that this is
the position of your team and if they want to quit all they have to do
is draft a letter of resignation. Someone threatening should never hold
you hostage or change your mind.
- If something needs attention, address it. Find a way to
fix the problem. Never allow it to become public discussion or a source
for volunteer's complaining. Don't make assumptions, jump to
conclusions, or suggest solutions without getting your facts correct.
If it's a problem that requires finance, find a way to finance it
without volunteers being asked to pass the hat. Look for outside
donations, grants, or public funding. Don't ever suggest that a
particular volunteer shoulder the expenses. Finally, don't rehash the
problem on nets or at meetings. All you do is set up a scenario for
more complaints and moaning.
- When planning drills, and projects, plan ahead.
Prioritize. You should have a committee meeting prior to the event, and
finalize details well in advance. Then, articulate the plans to your
membership. There should never be a situation where on the day of the
event volunteers are in the dark. Make sure you have the people and
assets in place before saying, "we're all ready to go." After drills
and projects, always analyze your successes and your failures.
Remember, a failure is a learning experience. But if you fail at the
same thing twice, shame on you.
- Volunteer's time should never be wasted. It's a poor
idea to have the whole organization out for an event that only requires
three people. Likewise, calling everyone to a meeting and then
announcing you don't have anything, or there is no program for the
meeting is not only an embarrassment, but it wastes volunteer's time.
As you look out at the faces for the meeting remember that their time is
no less valuable than yours.
Be prepared, and be respectful of their drive to and from meetings, and the time invested at the meeting.
- Be honest, and ethical. Own up to mistakes and
lapses in judgement. Never lie if questioned about organizational
activities, or embellish situations.
I knew a ham that made a lot of accusations about another repeater
interfering with his repeater. Openly, on the air, he accused the other
repeater of QRMing them. After checking the situation, the problem was
with his repeater. The other repeater owner was falsely excused.
Sadly, no apology was made. A leader speaks for the club, and if the
words they choose, and the things they say speak for the whole
- Do you waffle? Do you excuse poor performance or bypass conflict? A good manager gets things done.
You should not get in the habit of producing excuses, or dragging
your heels in completing projects. For example, if your organization
would install an antenna for an emergency office, you and your
organizations credibility is on the line if someone has to keep asking
you, "did you get it done?" Don't say you'll do something unless you
will do it.
If you openly excuse poor performance, you send a very clear
message to your other volunteers that failure is acceptable. If you
don't resolve problems, then you tell your volunteers you have no
If you want the position of manager, you need to manage your
organization, your position, and your volunteers. If you can't do this,
perhaps management should not be a direction you take within the
- Use Public Relations cautiously! The best way to
sabotage your organization is to make up stories, embellish events, or
make it sound like your organization has done more than it did.
You can write a letter to the editor of a local newspaper to tell of
the good deeds being done by your organization, but be accurate in all
details. The letter should be short, to the point, and tell how your
organization benefited the community. When helping law enforcement,
fire, and EMTS, ask them to assist in your press release. Sharing the
experience is not bad.
If you invite the press to an event, make sure they know the
right details. Don't try dazzle them with your high tech geeky equipment
because only hams care about that. The public want to know who you
are, what you did, and how did it benefit their community. That's all.
If your work and service is good, then it will speak for its self.
Remember, image is everything. Your people and your equipment site
should be neat, professional, and safe.
A funny story, (or not so funny if you are a member of this
club). A ham radio club had the idea to be in their communities Labor
Day Parade. On the day of the parade they loaded up a hay wagon with a
few of their members pulled by a beat-to-heck pickup. As it came down
the parade route, there sat three very obese guys with HT radios on
their hips. They wore ripped bluejeans and t-shirts that didn't cover
their stomachs. They looked forward with no emotion, and the sign on
the side of the hay wagon said "_____ Ham Club". A little girl in the
crowd summed it up. "Ham? Daddy, do they call them guys hams because
they look like our pigs at our farm?" Nobody noticed the radios, nobody connected that these guys talked on Amateur Radio … but the image they placed in people's minds lasted forever. Perception
is everything! Think before you go public. And remember the public
does have the ability to listen to your transmissions on scanners.
What to do about Non-Volunteers
At some point in your tenure, you will have a problem with a
volunteer. The biggest problem most organizations have is
non-participation. Often it's just someone who never participates, but
wants to be a volunteer or part of organization. In other cases, they
may have been asked to do something then never produced results. There
are also times when volunteers become disruptive or exhibit
inappropriate behaviors. When this happens you should be quick to ask
questions, seek resolutions, and protect the integrity of your
Step 1: First of all, talk with the volunteer in private.
This should be a one-on-one conversation, but you open by saying that
you and the organization have concerns. You should document honestly
and fairly the effects of their actions and statements. Remind them of
their commitment, and the people it serves. Talk to them about the need
for the program to function at the highest level of effectiveness.
State that their cooperation is needed to make things work.
After you have made your initial remarks, give them ample time to
respond. Ask them to tell why they chose the actions they did.
Inquire about any circumstances that may not have been apparent to
anyone but them, such as a family problem or other employment matters.
Avoid accusatory statements, and attacking their actions. Your
discussion should be only about what the problem or concern is, and what
is needed to resolve it.
Often the person who you are talking to will attempt to deflect
their responsibility by going off the trail to something that is not
significant. Or they will bring up someone else to blame for the
action. Keep the focus on their actions and consequences. Take notes in
front of them, and articulate your steps for corrective action. Be
fair in your actions. Then set a meeting within a month to track their
You should always state a positive resolution of the problem, and
establish a benchmark to measure change. And state that not changing
their actions will result in dismissal.
End stating your confidence in their ability to become an even
more valuable contributor to the program's goals if they so choose and
A meeting like this is especially effective in dealing with such
minor, but annoying, performance problems as the volunteer who is
constantly coming in late, not participating, or becoming a minor
nuisance to the rest of the organization at meetings or on nets.
Be aware that in this first meeting, it might become apparent
that the volunteer simply wants "out". You should have prepared a
graceful way to allow them to move on to some other assignment or take
some time off from the organization. I often have a form, generic,
which states "I have decided to leave the organization, and pursue other
interests." The volunteer only needs to sign and date this to leave.
If belligerence is their response, suggest they move on to some other
community effort immediately. Above all, keep control of the
situation, take the high road, and don't say anything that you may
Step 2: If there is a second meeting with a volunteer who
says they are willing to work on correcting their actions, review the
goals agreed to in the first meeting, and indicate to them their
progress. If no progress has been made, ask why and what would help them
move toward the adjustments needed. Ask them to clarify what is
preventing them from success.
At this point you must document, and have them agree to specific
changes in behavior by putting the new changes in writing. Document
specific what the problems are, and results you need. End by stating
the consequences of dismissal if they do not live up to their end of the
bargain. Keep your meeting and all matters strictly private.
Agree to meet for a final time in 10 to 14 days.
Sometimes people feel it necessary to discuss or complain about
their meeting to other volunteers or friends. If another volunteer asks
about details of the meeting, simply state that the matter is between
you and the person in question, and you have nothing more to say. If
they press you for details, state firmly again, "I have nothing to say".
Do not get drawn in to revealing details that may put you into a bad
position at your next meeting, or give the volunteer the opportunity to
say that you are speaking about them behind their back. Regardless of
how intense the person might be, silence is golden, and recommended by
Step 3: At the third meeting you might want to have
another member of your governing board there. They should start out by
articulating clearly why the volunteer's actions are not supportive of
the organization in a non-confrontational manor. For example, if the
person fails to show up for nets, or arrange to have someone come in for
a program, they would express how this is unfair to the other
volunteers to be left in the lurch. If they are disruptive on nets,
explain to them how this is not proper conduct, and how they are being
perceived, and the organization is being painted in the public by their
actions. Then, this second person should say no more, and refrain from
making any further comments as you address the issues.
Make sure you give praise to any success toward the agreed-on
goals. If some of the goal has not been met, ask the reason why. If the
goals are vital, state this as unacceptable and tell them they will be
monitored for a week to insure they live up to the organization's
If none of the goals have been reached, remind them of the
previously stated consequence of removal from their position. Thank
them for their previous service, write up your actions and allow them to
leave. Collect any badges or keys to organization's property and
vehicles. Make arrangements to get any organization's property back
from them within a week.
If there is a concern about retribution, have them sign a copy of
the letter they received after the second meeting in which problems and
corrective actions were discussed. If they refuse to sign it to
acknowledge their understanding of the issues raised you might want to
call them, you have a witness to attest to this refusal.
Keep your cool, and never threaten, belittle, or swear at the
person. Don't give them ammunition to take back to other volunteers or
the public that paints you in a bad light.
Keep accurate documentation of all events, dates, times, and who
was present. You may need this at a later date should the person decide
to either take on your organization through legal means, or in the
public forum. Should they harass other volunteers, tell lies, or jam
your net, you will need this documentation should the police or FCC get
Confronting problem behavior in volunteers can be uncomfortable,
unpleasant, and often a difficult task for someone who has not acted in a
managerial position. If you have never been in a position to talk with
people about performance, it might be wise to take some courses on-line
in human resources.