Filling In for Volunteers: A Paradox


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Seth arrived at the office early Saturday morning. It was quiet among the empty desks, almost hushed. Only one other staff member showed up, carrying a large foam coffee cup. Volunteer Hannah was sick and could not come in to answer the phones that morning. Seth had called every volunteer he could think of, but since it was last-minute, very few volunteers were at home and those who were, had plans they couldn’t change. So, Seth went in and answered the phones. After all, it had to be done, right?

We’ve all done it. Sat with a patient. Drove a client to an appointment. Filled in at events. Pulled up a chair at a table and stuffed envelopes. Manned a kitchen. Answered phones. Took visitors on a guided tour. Filed records. Completed a project. Why? Would the organization dissolve if a volunteer role went unfilled…

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