Paperwork Is Too Much Work

, , , , , , | Working | March 25, 2020

(I am a volunteer working directly with the Administrative Manager of Volunteer Services for a non-profit. One of the things I have to do is double-check that every prospective volunteer’s paperwork is completed before they are activated. I come across one file that is… special. It is marked, “Rejected: Not a Good Fit,” by the assistant manager. Curious to see why the file was rejected — and to make sure the appropriate notes were made as to why this volunteer was rejected — I open the file and am soon reading it out loud to my manager. This is a summary of printed emails between the prospective volunteer and the assistant administrative manager:)

Administrative Manager: “[Prospective Volunteer], just about everything is ready except for your references. You didn’t fill out the form.”

Prospective Volunteer: “Oh, it’s [Reference #1], [Address #1], and [Reference #2], [Address #2].”

Administrative Manager: “[Prospective Volunteer], we sent out the surveys and both came back as not residing in those locations. We need their current addresses to send the surveys to.”

Prospective Volunteer: “Okay, well, here are their phone numbers. Just call them up and ask for their new locations. [Phone numbers].”

Administrative Manager: “[Prospective Volunteer], as they are your references, you need to contact them yourself and get their information. Their current information is supposed to be on the form we gave you to fill out.”

Prospective Volunteer: “I already sent you their phone number, so you can just call them for the relevant information. Thanks.”

Administrative Manager: “[Prospective Volunteer], it is not our responsibility to fill out your paperwork for you. It is yours. If you do not supply us with the information, we cannot activate you as a volunteer.”

Prospective Volunteer: “Well, I sent you their phone numbers, and it should only take a quick phone call, so I don’t know what the problem is. I’m doing you a favor by trying to volunteer my time to your charity. I even did you the favor of calling them and telling them to expect a phone call from you soon.”

Administrative Manager: “[Prospective Volunteer], that is not how this works. We require you to fill out all of the paperwork yourself. Since you are refusing to do the minimum work required, we will not be needing your assistance with our charity. I will be deactivating your file.”

Me: *to manager* “Soooo, this volunteer literally called them to tell them to expect a phone call from our office, but refused to ask for their addresses herself while actually on the phone with these people?”

Manager: *sighing* “I wish I could tell you this is the first time someone expected us to fill out their paperwork for them but… Well, welcome to my world.”

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