Sunday, September 14, 2008

Volunteer deadbeats

The soccer saga continues...

The trick this soccer league uses to get parents to volunteer to work is to put a dollar value on it: you can volunteer, or you can pay $20 more to play. This seems like a fair exchange to me. Organizations like this run on volunteer help, and it seems reasonable to require a premium to get out of the work.

But I learned that in reality, only half the people who say they will volunteer actually end up doing any work. When asked to pick dates to serve, people just blow it off. It's easy to ignore email, and people have probably figured out that there' s no time or manpower to make them fulfill the obligations they agreed to.

In the snack bar Saturday we talked about that a little bit. I suggested that they charge everyone the full price and give a refund when the service has been completed. One woman said that instead of a refund, they should apply the $20 to next year's registration. But not everyone is going to go back next year. I suppose they could get a credit card number to charge at the end of the season, but that seems like a logistical nightmare.

Later, I realized what the perfect solution is: shame. Now shame is kind of out of style, and it's hard to shame people anymore. But the trick would be to shame them in front of their children.

The coaches should have a list of parents, the jobs they have volunteered for, and whether or not they have done their work, or at least have set a date for it. At the end of the soccer game each week, the coaches should call the players and their parent(s) together and go over the list:

"Mrs. Reed, thanks for working the snack bar last week. Mr. Brady, you signed up for setup duty next week, great, see you at 7. Mrs. McGillicuddy and Mr. Clampett, you said you'd work 'where needed' but have not signed up for anything yet. Did you not get those emails with the available dates? Let's see, how does the 8:30 - 10:30 snack bar shift next Saturday sound to you?"

The important part is that the kids are there, hearing that their parents are deadbeats. Seeing the coach chastise their folks not not fulfilling the obligations to which they agreed at the beginning of the season even though they had no intention of coming through with the work, to save 20 bucks. The parents will be embarrassed. They will realize they are being poor role models for their children and will repent and sign up.

They really will, won't they?


Anonymous said...

I would like to think so. It would be worth a try, anyway!

Sharon-Momn4boys said...

My kids are not in organized sports so I can't relate but it sounds like a great idea. Actually the 'get the rebate after you do your time' idea sounded good to me.

I have a friend who did the snack bar at the ball field.... all of it...volunteered. She said if she did not do it, there would be no snack bar. IMHO the snack bar should have been closed a few times and maybe she would have recieved some help!

kerri @ gladoil said...

Man, I don't envy you. This would just drive me crazy! I think they should just refund $20 at the end of the year. Or close the snack bar and have the deadbeats do without the goodies. :(