Thursday, June 26, 2014

How to be a volunteer at your club

    So you belong to an amateur radio club and it's a great bunch of guys and gals.  If you're relatively new to the club most of the important positions (president, vice president, treasurer, etc.) are probably already taken and are occupied by relatively popular individuals among the membership.

    But there are also opportunities throughout the year where volunteers are asked for to take on some task.  These tasks may be something as simple as bringing donuts to the meetings, or might be more complicated and time consuming.  For example, your club may find the need to have an equipment manager to gather details of all the equipment owned by the club for insurance purposes.  A volunteer for a position such as this may or may not be heading up a committee, but no matter, in the end what's important is how much work is going to be involved, that is, how much of a commitment is involved with the position.

    An equipment manager will have to make a list of all the radios, antenna tuners, coax switches, microphones, power supplies and more.  That list will have to include the manufacturer, model, serial numbers, price paid, etc.  The list will most likely have to be computerized into either a spreadsheet or database file and a report made that can be printed out and submitted for the insurance company and club records.

    Depending on how much equipment the club owns this may be a relatively short list, or a long and complex one.  There may be complicating factors like some of the equipment may be on loan to members and need to be tracked down for inclusion in the list.

    All of this is going to take time.  Your time.  You'll need to make visits to the clubhouse (if there is one) or individuals homes to gather the information.  You'll need the software for your computer (not such a hardship with the free Office Suites available online and cloud options from sources like, and you'll need to allocate time at home to enter the information, organize and check it all for errors, then print out reports which will require more proofing (and printer paper and ink).

    Your position may be a one-time thing or an ongoing permanent job.  The question is: are you up for it?  Can you take on the responsibilities without becoming annoyed or irritable if you're not given enough recognition for all the work?  Have you ever been in this kind of position before and found yourself getting resentful?

    If so, it could ruin your club experience and others will see you going through a hard time and not want to volunteer for things because they'll think, "hey, look how much he's going through with all that, I don't want to end up like that!"

    The only way to be a good volunteer and an example to others in the club is to take on responsibilities because you want to.  If you can take on a job and be cheerful because you don't care if you get recognition or not, then you'll have a positive experience and others will see you as an example of someone to emulate.

73, Kevin AB2ZI