Thursday, April 09, 2015

Volunteers: Neighborhood Blitz vs.City Animal Shelter

What if city staff removed the shingles a Goodfellow Air Force Base volunteer group just hammered into the roof of a Neighborhood Blitz home?   What if they rammed down the door of the new frame your church group just hung?  What if they fired shotguns into the new siding Angelo State athletes just installed?  Besides counteracting the good work performed, the city would never see those volunteers again.  

The City of San Angelo invited interested volunteers to attend an Animal Shelter orientation.  Sixty showed up, an exciting prospect for leaders looking to save money. 

The thirteen basic needs of every volunteer:
1. A specific, manageable task with a beginning and an end.
2. A task that matches interests and reasons for volunteering
3. A good reason for doing the task.
4. Written instructions
5. A reasonable deadline for completing the task.
6. Freedom to complete the task when it is convenient for the volunteer and most beneficial to those receiving the work (slightly altered by this author)
7. Everything necessary to complete the task without interruption.
8. Adequate training
9. A safe, comfortable, and friendly working environment.
10. Follow-up to see that the task is completed.
11. An opportunity to provide feedback when the task is finished.
12. Appreciation, recognition and rewards that match the reasons for volunteering.
13. Value added to encourage employer to support volunteer efforts.

City leaders need to ask those sixty volunteers how their 13 needs are being met.  If volunteers aren't given the opportunity to express their skills and talents they'll leave.  If they aren't appreciated they will leave.  If their work is actively countermanded, trashed or ignored by shelter leaders then the city has set up an adversarial situation for community volunteers, a virtual no-win.

Does the city have what it takes to collaborate on animal services?  The City knows how to plan for and work with volunteers for its annual Neighborhood Blitz.  That knowledge should be put to use at the Animal Shelter.  That is if the shelter really wants volunteers. 

Odessa reformed their animal shelter, which faced the very issues confronting San Angelo's.  Our shelter faces significant issues in curable disease prevention/management, reducing our horrific euthanasia rate and successfully placing adoptable animals through a multitude of means. 

Volunteers can be a huge plus if the city truly intends on collaborating.  If not, let's save everybody's time.   Leadership is required. 

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