Problems and complaints about how an organization functions is a relatively universal occurrence. It doesn’t matter whether your agency is paid or volunteer, there is always room for improvement, and usually the first people to point this out will be your own members.
One of the biggest challenges in volunteer organizations is in getting those with the claims of inefficiency and system problems to realize that they are part of the solution. While paid organizations have the resources to place experts on the problem or dedicate time to the issue, volunteer organizations are usually more limited. The true key to resolving these types of issues, for both types of organizations, is through conversation.
Unfortunately, the leadership of volunteer organizations don’t necessarily understand the necessity of this key ingredient. Often they will hear the complaint, but not actually listen to identify the actual problem. They will view this as an attack on their performance instead of the constructive criticism it actually is will usually respond with a diatribe citing perceived accomplishments, reinforcing the fact that it is the leaderships issue to deal with, and promise some sort of resolution they have absolutely no ability to keep.
Instead of the aforementioned diatribe, volunteer leaders should take the time to actually listen to what the problem is. Engage the members in a conversation to verify that is the actual issue and harvest ideas for a solution. Then the leaders should have a conversation themselves about what the solution should be and begin implementation.
Conversation. It is too often the missing key to unlocking the solution to problems and issues.
What about your organization? Do you have conversations about the problems or are promises of magical solutions made? Do those every get delivered on? Inquiring minds want to know…