The vast majority if not all local volunteer agencies grew from a grass roots civic movement to provide a service for the improvement of the community. Agencies will fly the American flag and will open meetings and functions with ceremonies pledging allegiance to that flag
I am proud to live in the United States and to be able to have my voice heard in a democratic fashion. It provides me with both a sense of duty and makes me personally invested in the success of the country. I am a yearly voter for those who will represent me in the government and I am not afraid to let them know through correspondence or phone calls what I think of a topic or issue. Having the same abilities is what keeps me invested in the volunteer organizations I belong to. I think its essential, in order to have a successful volunteer agency, to maintain those same feelings and that sense of personal investment in all the members.
Unfortunately leaders of volunteer agencies who are democratically elected will often quickly forget this. They become enchanted by their new titles and unintentionally transform the mantle of responsibility that has been entrusted to them into a lust for what they perceive as power. Authoritative decision making, also commonly referred to as Executive decisions or Chief orders, are only effective when the person making such a decision possesses all the necessary information, has the required expertise, and the decision needs to be made quickly. Sadly, many times volunteer leaders lack that skill set but make these types of decisions in order to manifest their fictional authority.
It’s important as someone who volunteers to be invested in the success of the organization as a whole. In doing so it is each volunteers responsibility to select the leaders who will share that level of investment, who have the ability to learn the necessary skills, and are humble enough to understand that their election to a position is not so they can be served but so that they themselves can serve.
By electing the most popular, or the person who you are the friendliest with instead of those who are best suited is not only problematic for the organization but most importantly for the community the organization has been founded to serve. Therefore, ultimately, the mantle of responsibility for the success of the organization does not rest on the leaders but rather on the members.
With that in mind, be sure to choose wisely…