When volunteering is no longer fun

For the past 2 months I have been volunteering with a small non profit. My role was to help them relaunch a curriculum teaching girls entrepreneurship skills. I was having a blast going through the pilot data, interviewing people, and helping tease the curriculum into 2 parts (a 101 version and 201 version). The super early meetings were not even a deterrent to me. Empowering girls and curriculum development are my passions.

Everything changed this week. At my weekly check in, one of the curriculum developers requested that I access all future meetings from my laptop (not my phone) and to isolate myself while working. What?!? I took a deep breath and later sent a very respectful follow up email saying that as a mother of 2 teenagers learning from home, living in a house with dogs, cats, chickens, oh and a husband who does telemedicine from home, I could not isolate myself to work on the project but that I would do my best to attend all future meetings from my laptop. I emailed again last night to say that I could not attend this morning’s all team meeting (not our curriculum team meeting, which is the most relevant for what I am doing) because my son had a college counseling appt. I got a not so nice email saying that this project has to be my top priority, all meetings are mandatory, and another meeting had been scheduled to discuss my availability of time tomorrow with the Executive Director. Keep in mind this is a non profit, I am volunteering my very specific skill set to, and everyone who works there is a woman. And they are teaching young girls to problem solve, work together to make the world a better place.

I was shocked and then quickly realized this was not the volunteering experience for me. No matter the job or project, family should always come first. And flexibility is so important now during a global pandemic. So I am walking away from a project that had so much promise. Not to toot my own horn, but this is their loss. I could have contributed in ways that others could not. But if I have learned anything from my work with Girl Scouts, it is that you support your volunteers, appreciate their hard work, and understand that moms cannot isolate themselves in order to work or volunteer.

Leave a Reply