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Re: <nettime> Re: RHIZOME_RAW: Re: One Day Left
Don Cameron on Sun, 19 Jan 2003 06:55:31 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Re: RHIZOME_RAW: Re: One Day Left

Being the first to acknowledge how little I know of Rhizome or any of the
underlying issues behind this recent spate of posts; the scenario of an NFP
seeking financial contributions from volunteer contributors has been
replicated many times in the past (and by a great number of NFP's), almost
always to their peril and subsequent ruin.

The psychology underlying volunteer contributions is extremely complex and
contains one acknowledged oddity of enormous value to NFP's... volunteers
rarely calculate the value of non monetary contributions until such time as
a request is made for direct financial contribution. A great many volunteers
donate hundreds or even thousands of hours of time per year; donate goods
and services of a very high value; provide skills and expertise that at
consultancy rates would bankrupt most NFP's within days... yet when asked to
open their wallets... will baulk, react, and cite a great many reasons why
they now feel they are being 'ripped-off' by the very NFP they have chosen
to support through the free provision of high value goods and services. This
usually leads to volunteers abandoning the NFP in preference for another
entity that perhaps places higher values on non-forced volunteer

>From a volunteer management perspective; the key to this is understanding
and acknowledging that volunteers will contribute whilst ever they do not
feel compelled to do so (volunteerism is not salaried employment). Demanding
that volunteers make a financial contribution, even as little as $5.00, is
to damage the very ethos that drives volunteerism. Volunteers will not
contribute when they feel compelled to do so.

My suggestion to Rhizome is to firstly conduct a true and proper valuation
of volunteer contributions (so you know exactly what value these people
bring to your organisation), and to then assess the potential loss you will
experience as a result of this policy - Such an analysis should consider
that losses will be more than just monetary; the organisations reputation is
already clearly suffering (I doubt that I would support any organisation who
treats its volunteers in this manner). Obviously all of this should be
weighed against the value of income brought about through charging each
remaining volunteer $5.00 per head.

This is always an onerous and costly process for everyone involved... would
it not be better to seek other methods of achieving financial

Best rgds, Don

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