Hello, My Name is...

One problem campaigns often run into is volunteers who want to give advice on how to run the campaign, but don't want to work. 

A few years back I had a "volunteer" contact me about helping on our campaign. I scheduled a time for her to come in and put together a list of phone calls I needed made and instructions on what to say. 

When she arrived, she launched into a series of questions about what the campaign was doing. I'm a big believer in letting volunteers in on a little "inside" information so they feel like a part of the team, so I happily answered her questions. 

When she finished asking questions, she made some recommendations on other things we needed to be doing, thanked me for my time, gathered her purse and left. 

My first inclination was not to invite her back. The last thing most campaign managers want is for their volunteers to create more - rather than less - work for themselves.  

But after a few days, I decided to try something different. I put together a job description for the things she wanted done - they were valid concerns - added a "volunteer coordinator" title to the job description and called her back. 

I told her she was right on, we did need those things done. We also were stretched pretty thin and could use her help. I asked her if she could volunteer as our volunteer coordinator and help out the campaign. 

She gladly accepted, a little to my surprise. 

So the moral of the story is that while bossy volunteers can be a pain, they usually do want to help or they wouldn't be there in the first place. You just need to figure out a way to channel their interests into work that can help the campaign. Give them a job description, give them a title, and put them to work. 

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