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to never want to volunteer at a playgroup fundraiser again?

(35 Posts)
ally90 Mon 14-Jul-08 09:39:32

Cancelled my dh's plans to go out on the night (despite the warning I had given him in May and June I would be out that night hmm) so I could help with a big do that was on. Turned up. They wanted NO HELP. I asked and asked and asked...each time they were fine for help...fgs they ASKED for volunteers, I put my name down on the list asking for volunteers at that time of night! AIBU to think that if someone is a first time volunteer you should

a) make them feel welcome
b) give them a job to do so they feel involved

I mean if you WANT help surely do what you can to make the person 'want' to come back. As it is I'm now convinced they are a set of martyrs (I was also offering to take over so people could get something to eat...still no luck!) who need to be needed.

What a waste of my night.

However event was a big success and it all looked wonderful...they did do a fab job.

But if I hear one more moan/whinge from them how 'no one volunteers' I may just have to slap them tell them the truth.

BTW one lady was a bitch unfriendly towards me and made it clear I was not welcome...the rest were friendly, (but made it obvious I was an outsider to the team) and glued to positions (I think that is the 'arms outspread and fire round ankles' position)

How would you feel? And those who are part of a team of you generally make it easy for first time volunteers to join the team?

nametaken Mon 14-Jul-08 10:25:50

YANBU - I have helped out at fundraising events for years and always make newcomers feel welcome and give them lots and lots to do grin.

I certainly wouldn't waste one minute of my time asking for volunteers to come and then not give them anything to do.

If they ask again, either say no, or ask for a specific job in advance so that you know what your doing.

markiedarlin Mon 14-Jul-08 12:31:17

I had something similar. I do a bit of work for a cat charity. they have the usual jumble sales, fayres, supermarket collections. I had a cat from them and because he was very old and need quite a lot of treatment from the vets felt that by way of helping them I would volunteer when they had said events. the first one i went to I most certainly felt like an outsider. everyone seemed to have their job doing their stall and although I understand the there some people who need to know whats what etc but surely if you have a volunteer you should seize the opportunity of help and make people feel welcome. Hence I do not now do any of the jumbles sales etc but as many of them don't like giving up a couple of hours on a saturday afternoon I seem to be more than welcome to stand in the supermarket shaking tin.

To be honest I think well leave them to it. If I can raise a bit of money by standing in tesco or morrisons etc for a couple of hours to raise a few poinds well I've done my bit

ally90 Mon 14-Jul-08 13:07:16

I thought I was being really controversial...was expecting lots of YABU!

So I'm not the only one in this position then!

I certainly do not intend to volunteer my precious time with dd and dh in future but I will quite happily bake cakes and donate jumble sale items.

I think what riled me most of all was the 'playground' attitude that stood out...felt taken back 20 years in time! I've actually felt rather angry and upset by the whole thing ie been awake in early hours churning it over thinking was it all me? Really should not be wasting my time thinking about it anymore but there is that doubt that I really am that unlikable...and just too gawky and gauche and awkard to be around...which is just how I felt trying to look inconspicuous around all the partygoers...billy no mates I was! angry sad

MummyDoIt Mon 14-Jul-08 13:11:37

I had this with a charity Ladies' Pamper Night. The organiser kept saying she was desperate for help so I volunteered for the whole evening and all I was given to do was to stack a few chairs at the end. I spent most of the evening drinking tea with another lady in the same position. The organiser then complained in the follow-up meeting that she'd been rushed off her feet and needed more volunteers. Sometimes it's down to the fact that some people need to learn how to delegate and let go of tasks.

nkf Mon 14-Jul-08 13:12:03

They are very weird women. In my experience, if you even hint that you might be able to help, you're in . If you turn up, you're there for the long haul.

HumphreyCushioni Mon 14-Jul-08 13:13:45


Events organised by committees can be quite excluding.
Sometimes they don't mean to be, and have become that way from not getting much support and having to do everything themselves.
Sometimes it is a cliquey thing.

What a shame you didn't get included. sad

ally90 Mon 14-Jul-08 14:16:46

Thank you guys lovely to have mn to validate my feelings!

I do think the majority were having problems delegating jobs...I mean, fancy not taking a break when they had been busy all day and someone fresh and new comes along and offers to give you a break?!?

Made me hmm grin at the ladies pamper night! Blinkered some people...!

mrstoady Mon 14-Jul-08 14:49:25

I also have found them very cliquey. IME they bitch about others "inability to do the jobs properly" so you know they will be saying the same about you. I resigned from my PTA for this reason.

toomanystuffedbears Mon 14-Jul-08 15:27:33

I tried to join a Women's Club that did community service projects. I went to the monthly meetings when ds was an "night out" away from the baby.
At the meetings only one woman would say "hi" to me and she was the one that suggested I join. No one would talk to me. There were several people that just sat.
I did that for a year, then when I decided to quit, one of the older "core" ladies called for some I told her: No thanks; I have come to the meeting for a solid year and no one
can be bothered to even say Hi to me; quite frankly, I'd rather be home with my crying baby than be in this group anymore.
I heard later through the grapevine that the year of invisibility was their "dues" and after that they'd recognize you. That's a bunch of crap, I'm still glad I quit.

toomanystuffedbears Mon 14-Jul-08 15:34:16

Hi ally90-I have another story on this.
My RL friend is involved in a church group that provides receptions for funerals and other events. One occasion the group had a table to sign up new members for the group. The lady sitting at the table asked my friend if she was there to join- no...RL friend has been in the group for 3 1/2 years.

plantsitter Mon 14-Jul-08 15:42:59

(I think that is the 'arms outspread and fire round ankles' position)

I'm going to have to find a situation to use that expression myself! grin

Alderney Mon 14-Jul-08 16:20:54

My first experience of volunteering at an NCT event was horrible - I left at the end of the night in tears.

However, I will say that I can be very Bloody Minded and, rather than stopping me from doing it, I then ensured that I got MORE involved so that no-one ever felt like that again. I'm now the Nearly New Sale Co-Ordinator and I make sure that all volunteers are welcomed and treated with respect, and thanked for the hard work they do. We have created guides for them so that they know what to expect and how things work.

My friend always says that people are either involved because they had a fabulous experience themselves, or are involved because they had a horrid experience and want to ensure no-one else does...

MrsTittleMouse Mon 14-Jul-08 16:25:12

shock at these experiences.

cornsilk Mon 14-Jul-08 16:32:42

I wonder where you are Ally! That sounds just like the PTA at my ds's school - which was why I left after a year. At one event I offered to help and the organiser said she'd ring me if she needed me. She didn't ring me so I didn't go. One of the mums told me she was slagging me off big style at the event and saying I'd left her in the lurch. Best leaving people like that to it.

ally90 Mon 14-Jul-08 20:03:10

I'm thinking that is part of the case here MrsToady, only they knew how to do the job...I could not possibly understand the complexity of ripping tickets in half shock as a first timer...good god! Next thing they know I may actually serve a spoonful of salad to someone...and leave a lettuce leaf hanging precariously off the edge of a plate...shock shock shock

Hi TMSB 3.5 years and one team member did not recognise another shock (can one use too many shocked faces??) Like the year of shunning the newbie...hmm how very odd. Glad you told her were to stick her help tho grin

Plantsitter - I thank you (see last nights sleep was not wasted. I thought of witty and withering comments to make instead...then discarded them as being too inflammatory...)

Alderney...what a shitty thing to happen, must say I was near tears myself about it all...bloody horrible experience being so outright rejected...people have no empathy sometimes...but maybe it was the end of a very long day hmm. Have debated about getting more involved (briefly) then decided I don't want the hassle of trying to crack the committee of Colditz.

MrsTittlemouse - love the name guess you treat people differently?

Hi Cornsilk...I'm guessing that is what will happen to me this week...but in this case I did say I would come and help out the following morning...but didn't...shame that...I think they were all still tidying up at least 2 hours after they said they would be finishing...trying to feel bad about it hmm...but failing too grin bet the bonfires took some time to build though...there will be some awailing, grim moaning and teeth grinding this week at playgroup...but at least it will keep the resident backstabber playgroup assistant busy.

shreddies Mon 14-Jul-08 20:07:09

What bloody idiots. I find it so depressing when you see playground politics amongst adults. I'm sorry you had such a crap time. Fuck 'em I say

notasheep Mon 14-Jul-08 20:36:05

Ally-what a bloody ungrateful lot.
As Chairperson on our PTA if anyone new ever volunteers i come very close to giving them a big hug and a kissgrin

FromGirders Mon 14-Jul-08 20:44:27

I clicked on your thread to say a big yes, YABU, because in the past i've been the organiser with not enough helpers, feeling like i have to use a cattle prod to get people to "volunteer".
I am sitting here with my jaw hitting the floor that you weren't welcomed with open arms and given something to do. I hope your playgroup committee realise how lucky they are to be as "well-staffed" as they obviously are.

spicemonster Mon 14-Jul-08 20:45:33

I have to say that I had a very similar experience of volunteering with NCT at a nearly new sale and won't do it again.

ally90 Tue 15-Jul-08 14:15:26

Thanks for comments needed them today! grin at Fromgirders - oh go on! I wanted this to be controversial! wink

Saw the lovely lady today who had been so childish and unwelcoming...she was like this grin and followed me round to have a conversation with me...suspect someone told her her behaviour was off with me...and she was trying to make it up hmm I was friendly (as I could be given her unutterably rude and childish behaviour) and she seemed to get a bit of a huff because I would not reciprocate and go over the top nice with her...ah reap what you sow.

Kewcumber Tue 15-Jul-08 14:51:06

spicemonster question here

FromGirders Tue 15-Jul-08 14:52:54

Just been reading the thread about PTA's too. I guess I have a bee in my bonnet about this, having been the chair of a playgroup committee (they saw me coming). The playgroup fees only covered the staff's (minimum) wages, and the cost of snack. Everything else - craft materials, end of year presents, santa presents - had to be paid for by fundraising, and all the admin (organising fees and accounts, getting through inspections) was done by the committee on a voluntary basis. I'm not exaggerating at all when I say that if the committee hadn't put in a lot of unpaid time, the playgroup simply wouldn't have existed. When I suggested a fee rise, it didn't go down well, yet nothing the (very small) committee did was ever good enough.
School PTA's sound a bit different though. After all, the school would still exist if no-one ever did anyhting to fundraise.

ally90 Tue 15-Jul-08 15:06:08

Fromgirders - apparently not even staff wages are met with our funds. I found it interesting to read just how short we are for money and at other playgroup I go too. For the last year since we've been going I hear all this vague grumbling about not enough funds, will shut down...but NO facts and figures to be seen! It was only this w/e that I found that the funds don't even cover staff wages. I think it would really help things if they did actually tell people what is covered and be open with the info...and erm...welcome volunteers with open arms! We have a new chair, she's lovely and most of others are nice too, but (as an outsider) I feel they need to be more inclusive...not in a harrassing way but letting people know how things stand...and not bitch about no one helping or not helping enough...any small contribution is a contribution to the whole. But as an outsider...who am I to tell them what's what?

TBH I did think this weekend would be a write off..but they really were organised and got it all done in time and it was a huge success...well done them...and I feel slightly guilty about the doubts I had! But they did not strike me as organised. Feel quite humble at how wrong I was!

I can see how frustrated you must feel though at some parents (not all, some are busy/other things on etc) just going along for a free ride.

FromGirders Tue 15-Jul-08 15:14:11

Whereabouts are you ally? Interesting htat you have two playgoups in your area - are they voluntary committee or cuncil run ones?
As far as money goes, accounts should be presented at the agm every year, but as children come and go, it's possible that half way through the year, your committee ought to have an update, so that new parents understand what the situation is.
It can be difficult to keep eneryone informed though - I got lambasted when I tried to speak to everyone in a group when they came to pick up the kids (hated doing that made me feel very teacher-ish), and complained at when I gave out letters . . .
Quite glad my kids are at nursery now, I can voluteer to help out with keepinghte garden nice and stuff without having to involve anyone else.

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