Monday, August 26, 2013

Who Helps You Focus Your Efforts?

Every week, or nearly every week for some, Rotarians gather for their weekly Rotary meeting. Every day there is something that needs to be taken care of or addressed to keep the club running as smoothly as possible. Emails, phone calls, meetings, mailings, filings, promotions, etc. are all part of what keeps things going behind the scenes.

It is a constantly regenerating list that is without end and it is the officers that take charge of these tasks. It is a full time job that these people do without pay and they are duties that are, generally speaking, ones that no one enjoys doing. When was the last time you looked forward to stuffing envelopes? How many of you eagerly await emails that ask for everything under the sun and you have to be the one to consolidate the fundraising efforts into a concise message/focus?

Admittedly, I enjoy both to varying degrees, but I am also incredibly odd. Most of the people I talk to basically run in the opposite direction when they are asked to assist in one or both of these matters while the ones that agree to help do so begrudgingly. And of course there are the ones that ignore the request and, instead, add another item to the to do list (these are the people that insist that whatever it is needs to be taken care of as soon as possible).

Since when did volunteering with a community centric organization require a political background? Pork belly charity seems to be the name of the game and implementation without financial forethought can run rampant if left unchecked. With the demands placed on the clubs and on the people behind them, it is astounding that anything gets done. Don’t get me wrong, this is by no means a blanket statement and should not be taken as a deterrent to either those thinking about joining or those considering taking a leadership role as there are many clubs that run very smoothly and the members understands both the limitations and opportunities within which they must operate.

The purpose of this post is for those who are members and are proud of their affiliation to consider the bigger picture and not to just think about what you want to see your club accomplish but to consider the other factors at play. First and foremost, does the project address a need that exists in the community or is it simply something that you want to do? If a need can be established, follow up with the following questions and dig a little deeper. Does your club have the means to see the project through to the end both financially and with regard to the time commitment? Is the project the best use of the club’s time and finances?

Everyone has good ideas and the occasional great one but we can’t be everything to everyone. While it is hard to sometimes have to let go of an idea or project, it is something that needs to be done every once in a while in order to ensure that the greatest possible impact can be made with the resources at hand. This is not a foreign concept and I’m sure that this is not the first time that you have heard those questions but they are definitely worth repeating as they are frequently forgotten.

I have experienced the wide spectrum of how operations are handled as well as the expectations that members have of their club and the officers. While one is easier to deal with than the other, the motivation to contribute is not dependent on ease of operation. It all comes down to passion. If you maintain your passion to give back to the community, help others, and be a part of something greater than yourself you will put up with almost anything in order to see the impact that your club can have on those around you.

Remember that those who take on a larger role are people who want to see things get done. They are not there as a barrier, all they are trying to do is to make sure the proposals made are in the best interests of the membership, the club, and the community. If you can assist them in any small way I encourage you to do so. Whether it is by assisting with some of the aforementioned tasks, helping streamline a process or system, or general things here and there any and all support is appreciated. Or, if you are unable to do any of the above, take the time to thank them for their service.

This is why we put service above self. This is how we improve ourselves while we improve our community and why we take the good along with the not so good. It is just that simple.