I am a strong believer that everyone has something to contribute to an organization. It may be something others view as small, but to the person contributing its huge. It may be something the person contributing views as small, but to others it may be huge. This is especially important in volunteer organizations when the value of a contribution is magnified by what is often a greater need than the available supply.
Still, there are rules and regulations that must be followed. Just because you are a volunteer organization does not excuse you from being any less professional than a paid organization. For that matter the standards should be higher for such an organization because in theory their members desire to be there. For some reason though there is a perception that because it is a volunteer organization the consequences for ill actions should be lessened because of the contributions one makes freely.
If you break a rule or regulation in a school, what happens? Depending on the severity it could mean detention, a loss of a recess period, a suspension or even an expulsion. If you break a rule or regulation at work, what happens? Depending on the severity it could mean being kept later to fix whatever mess was created, a loss of pay, a suspension or even a termination.
While there are laws that require school attendance, once you are of legal age it is no longer required but voluntary. While it may be great to not go to work, going to work is currently the only way in order for you to be economically independent other than winning the lottery. Ultimately, going to work (whether you actually like what you do is irrelevant for the purpose of this) is also a voluntary action. So why do people continue to think that just because you are a volunteer organization when you break the rules the same level of consequences should not be applied?
Of course I ask this because a situation has arisen that, were we a paid organization or a school the punishment would be clear. The fact is that we are not, but in the mind of the offender these levels of consequences never occurred to them because of the contributions they bring to the organization.
While a volunteer organization may have different levels of consequences for infractions and violations of the rules and regulations, its important to remember that our contributions do not justify bad and unsafe behavior nor does it excuse us from those same consequences we would face if we were paid.