Politics in Volunteering

Why is it that even when we volunteer our services, we get slammed with politics?

Since there are so many volunteering opportunities available to meet any kind of interest we might have, we all end up volunteering at some point or the other in our lifetime. Sometimes we volunteer because we are looking to pass time, sometimes to meet new people and sometimes to add to our job skill that will look good on our resume.

Volunteering is a win-win situation for the volunteer and the hosting organization.  The Hosting organization gets free services and get a chance to accomplish their goals without paying for it, and the volunteers get real-life experience that they can put on their resume or just simply have fun.

Even though volunteering starts as a no-pressure commitment, over time it becomes like a job instead of a fun activity where one is spending time and socializing. While that may be true, people who volunteer know that it is not always so. There is politics that goes on with people trying to assert their influence and power over others. They are practicing the same influence building skills that they would do on a paying job. They are sabotaging people that they perceive as “weaker” than them so that they can take over their position or show themselves as being “above” them. They are hustling for positions with the desire to get close to the “top” people in the organization.

For low-key people who are volunteering to pass time, to meet new people or to be close to their children as in schools, extra-curricular classes, and Parent Teacher Organizations, this can all be very overwhelming.  These are the people that end up most likely getting sabotaged by their ambitious co-volunteers. And that is what is unfortunate. People with no hidden agendas, or with agendas as mild as being close to their children or to network, get hit the hardest. They are made to feel unwanted and incompetent and sometimes removed from their position.  All their time given for free is disregarded. And that is very sad. And unfair.

Mind you, I am not saying that this happens everywhere volunteering goes on, but it happens more often than not.

So to protect these volunteers, should there be in the hosting organization, a code of conduct for volunteers that needs to be instituted and strictly implemented?

Do you think the way I think? or Not?

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