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Thread: Thinking I might retire on 12/1!

  1. #61
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    I have done volunteer work in the past and most enjoyed the grass roots neighborhood type of stuff like planting trees or cleaning the creek. With some volunteer work it feels like the organization just wants a count of warm bodies doing their bidding so they can get more grant money.

  2. #62
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkytoe View Post
    I have done volunteer work in the past and most enjoyed the grass roots neighborhood type of stuff like planting trees or cleaning the creek. With some volunteer work it feels like the organization just wants a count of warm bodies doing their bidding so they can get more grant money.
    Most of my volunteering is done at our regional food bank. Recently I and several other more-active contributors of time and funding were invited to sessions with their volunteer coordinators so they could get an idea of what we thought about volunteering there.

    The interesting outcome of the session I attended was that, to a person, we all felt sufficiently "recognized" not by our selection for these discussions or for thank-you dinners or plaques, but by the food bank recognizing us as an integral part of the team. The staff is welcoming every time we show up. While there always are plenty of options to serve, we are not guilted into signing up for "just one more session this month" or made to feel bad if we're not a "regular". We are given the tools and operational parameters we need to work fairly autonomously. Our effort is tallied at the end of each session and, at the end of the year, the food bank reports on how many virtual FTEs us volunteers have provided.

    It is made clear to us, to clients, and to the people the food bank asks for funding that what gets done does not happen without a committed corps of volunteers -- who are not wrung out on the guilt of letting little kids go to bed hungry. While it is personally gratifying to know that we almost literally are putting food on the tables of hungry people, it also is good to know that the organization values us -- we're not just a necessary community involvement or numbers padding. And it's why I work harder for food bank than anywhere else.
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

  3. #63
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    It takes great expertise to operate a volunteer-based organization successfully. The dynamics are so different but most interesting. How many people do you feed on average each day, Steve? There is such a need as economic challenges arise in our society.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

  4. #64
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by razz View Post
    It takes great expertise to operate a volunteer-based organization successfully. The dynamics are so different but most interesting. How many people do you feed on average each day, Steve? There is such a need as economic challenges arise in our society.
    razz, I'm just a (volunteer) worker bee! But according to Second Harvest Heartland's Web site, they provided food to direct clients here and food partners throughout Minnesota (and eastern Wisconsin, IIRC) to the tune of 80 million meals (equivalent) for more than half a million clients last year. They illustrate that by saying "Enough to feed a city of 73,000 people, three meals a day, for a year."
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

  5. #65
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    My only beef with volunteerism is that where we lived in South Carolina, volunteers were picking up all kinds of work that people should have been paid for, such as hospital work, accounting for non-profits, etc. Meanwhile, people over 50 could not find jobs anywhere. So it was skewing the job market and seemed exploitative.

  6. #66
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    I’m not sure I agree with that Tybee. I have a problem with unpaid internships at the entry level in for profit entities, but if an accountant wants to contribute to a non profit organization by giving time instead of money, I think that is perfectly ok.

    i also think the teacher’s union should let my dad teach math for free. The money freed up by not hiring one math teacher should go to resources for students and salaries for the paid teachers. If the school can’t figure out how to spend the money other than hiring an additional math teacher, great, pay the other one and reduce class size.

    the key is, they need to hold him to the same standards as any other teacher, and they need to actually let him do it for FREE not for a reduced rate. Nationwide, you could probably find a few dozen people who would do that for a year or two - lol!

    i think childcare providers should be paid, and paid well. But I don’t think a relative, or even a friend, who agrees to care for a child for free while the parent works is taking someone’s job! I think they are helping to strengthen their community.

  7. #67
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    Volunteers performing services generate no taxable income, so fewer taxes are collected, but they provide services to their community, so less funding is needed. It removes the government from the equation. What do you think Alan?

  8. #68
    Simpleton Alan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chicken lady View Post
    Volunteers performing services generate no taxable income, so fewer taxes are collected, but they provide services to their community, so less funding is needed. It removes the government from the equation. What do you think Alan?
    I'm all in favor of volunteerism, but sometimes special interests won't allow it.
    Case in point: My wife retired in her mid 40's to free up time to help with our special needs grandson. She also volunteered at a local elementary school in a reading program for special needs students. She loved the impact she had on the kids and gladly worked for free, although the teachers union felt differently, arguing the point that volunteers were taking jobs from their members. After two years, she was advised she must either stop her volunteer efforts or take a full-time job with the district. So, now she's a full-time employee in the Autism Unit, complete with salary, benefits and retirement benefit accrual in OPERS. It's silly.
    "Things should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler." ~ Albert Einstein

  9. #69
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    The way I see it, the issue wasn’t that she was taking jobs from their members - it was that she wasn’t paying union dues. Because she still has the job, but now the school district has less money for other things. The kids come out behind (they keep your wife but lose other resources) The teacher’s union comes out ahead, the feds come out ahead, and how the state does depends on her tax rate vs. her retirement benefits.

    my mother was a union neutral teacher, until the year they convinced her to be union rep. After she saw how the sausage was made she became a fierce opponent. My mind was set over the dinner table before my first paycheck.

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tybee View Post
    My only beef with volunteerism is that where we lived in South Carolina, volunteers were picking up all kinds of work that people should have been paid for, such as hospital work, accounting for non-profits, etc. Meanwhile, people over 50 could not find jobs anywhere. So it was skewing the job market and seemed exploitative.
    Check with the state or federal labor department to see if this is legal. A position that is usually a paid position cannot be done by a volunteer for no pay.

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