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Thread: Volunteering and the impossible task

  1. #1
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    Volunteering and the impossible task

    I think some people know what the 'impossible task' is, that thing you are stuck on that is just not getting done and you can't totally explain why. For me it is the last donor letters for the non-profit I took over as treasurer for. I knew this was a big job, and I did all the letters for people who donated through pay pal. It has been hard to get the actual information to do the letters for the check donations first of all. It seems the last year has been a mess. My teacher (that is supported by the non-profit) is quite challenged by organizational tasks. I finally got a set of spread sheets and some of them are from the previous year. To get motivated and feel like I know what is happening I entered the last year into QuickBooks and reconciled the checking account. However I am only minimally motivated.

    In any case it appears I actually have the information now, and it is already March which is horrible (as a side note I asked to take over this job later in the year but I got it in January and pulled some nights to midnight to get the large batch of letters out). Tomorrow is the board meeting so I am doing them today. I bought envelopes even and can print letters at Office Max. I probably won't get all the things done for the board meeting (workman's comp insurance, an accounting of specific medical funds donated, and a solid statement of where we are financially). I think this is actually some perfectionism as shown by balancing the last year of the checking account as a double check for these donations rather than just doing the letters.

    Going forward I have set up a shared google doc for all deposits! And a protocol for anyone who deposits funds so I can actually track what the heck is going into the account easily.

  2. #2
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    It sounds like you took on a thorny little volunteer job, so good for you!


    I recently took on the treasurer job of a tiny organization and I would not have taken it on if I had to use a spreadsheet with it. I have a simple checkbook. We write less than 10 checks a year. It is not burdensome. Dealing with an organization that pays people is even more problematic and complex.

  3. #3
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Yuck, ZG. That does look like an unpleasant task. I know I would procrastinate on it for sure! One time I was hired by a pharmaceutical company (way before I started working in market research) to develop datebase lists for United Way. Man, that was the most boring job. I really couldn't stay focused. I'm surprised they didn't fire me.

    I am a lifelong procrastinator but I recently found that what has helped for me is an old-fashioned kitchen timer. I set it for 10 or 15 minutes and tell myself I'm going to stop when the timer dings. But 10 minutes is all I need to be into it and forge ahead.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

  4. #4
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    I called my friend who is also the board president and I feel much better. I did all the ones I had reasonable information for. The rest is just going to have to be okay. I also talked to her about what I really can let go and what I should do (don't need to research all of last year but do need to know about the money for medical expenses).

    She also told me how much she enjoys having our group back together, there are 3 of us on the board with the teacher who we worked closely with for 4-5 years. That was just the boost I needed. She shared some of what she has been going through in her area with the buddhist groups so I feel better, a lot of us are trying to find the community in some way.

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