Friday, February 21, 2014

Just say NO

I understand that charity work is not everybody's cup of tea. When somebody approaches my nonprofit saying that they want to be involved I'll be the first one saying are you sure you want to try? Do you really want to take this on? Do you think you can spare the time? Nobody will be upset or think any less of you if you turn around and say I've changed my mind. Just be upfront about it and let us know. I'm fully aware that I can't expect amazing things from people who volunteer their time. And I'm grateful for all they do, I'm thankful that they're even trying. But what I do expect is for people to be able to come up to us and voice their concerns and tell me that they can't or do something, even if they say they would. This appears to be a common pattern. Our nonprofit first got started with a group of people who felt energetic and ready to change the world, most of whom fallen of the grid without any explanation. For some, contact just stopped. I don't know what they were expecting and how fast this thing will grow. I suspect there were people who first jumped on and wanted to tag along and see where it takes us. Again, I understand that circumstances change. You may even overestimate your own ability. But as we are all adults we owe it to each other to be upfront about things. If you don't want to be involved don't get our hopes up. Had I known how little what everyone declared before we formed would actually happen I'd think twice about forming a nonprofit. But it's here and I'm determined to save it. Still, over the next months we had people approaching us with different ideas. But the pattern i always the same. "-Hey I can be your grant writer", "I'll put together a business plan", "I can do an amazing presentation". And then nothing. No contact. And we've gotten it from people of all ages quite frankly. And for months we've been coming up with excuses between me and the other board members. More than a person in question obviously cared to explain themselves. It must be because they're busy. Or they're overwhelmed. Or they started a job. It's one thing that you say you'd do something and then don't do it. And that's bad enough. But to not even explain anything? To not even say I will not do it. And we've been telling everyone we met at ever junction. Probably more than they cared to hear but we wanted to reassure them. It's OK if you say no, if you walk away if just announce it. In fact we've been saying it so much I feared people would feel like we want them to quit. One excuse we came up with recently was, "they're just unable to say NO". I think no is a perfectly acceptable answer. It lets you figure out where you are and move on from there. It's upfront and honest. Still, many people will just not say it. As if there's some benefit in keeping everyone in the dark. We'll find out eventually, but it will drag on. Is the concern that you don't want to be the one who disappoints and is unable to deliver? For me the only disappointing part is luck of honesty. I now go into those interviews not expecting much. Even if the initial impression is great. But then I still have hope that what we've done can work. And that pushes me forward.

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