RCA should use more volunteers

RCA should use more volunteers.

When RCA contracted with a management company, Meredith & Hopkins, 10 years ago to handle a portion of its administration, the stated reason (as I recall) was because the Club leaders couldn’t find enough volunteers to do RCA’s work in an adequate fashion and in a timely manner.

First, RCA should use everything it has to encourage more volunteerism. Put notices in the Aerogram, the Proceedings, and on the website. Send requests for volunteers in email. Make announcements at Club meetings. Leaders, make phone calls. Send emails. Talk it up.

Second, current leaders should be as receptive as possible to new volunteers. Several committee chairmen have told me that they don’t want more volunteers. Several members have told me that they have been rebuffed when they try to volunteer.

I don’t know what that’s all about, but I do know two related pieces of information: One or more committees currently are seeking volunteers; and some members wait to be asked for their help — they don’t … um … volunteer. You can find committees on your own, or if you would like my help to match you up with a committee seeking help, contact me.

RCA is fairly committee-heavy: It has about 20, depending on how you count them. Some do a lot of work, some a little less. Maybe some current committees could be discontinued and some new ones formed to make things work even better.

Third, volunteerism encourages fellowship and identification with the Club, bringing new faces into the leadership and improving membership retention. Give more members an opportunity to help, and let them have a hand in Club affairs.

RCA should not exist for the purpose of providing paid jobs. Maybe some functions are specialized enough and carry with them a level of difficulty that requires commercial help, but is it true that hired help is necessary for “day-to-day management” and to handle “all the administrative functions the Radio Club of America needs,” as some suggest?

Some say it’s impossible for RCA to offer necessary or even superior services to satisfy members and attract prospective members, sponsors, donors and others without paid management at a level that keeps dues high, volunteerism limited to a few, and opportunities for leadership at a minimum. That’s defeatist. I hope it isn’t true. I don’t believe it is true.

RCA should not become a dues-machine that spends the bulk of its collections on administration. It should exist as a fraternal organization with volunteers who carry out the majority of its functions with little money spent on administration.

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