Communicate About the Details

PMD focuses on short-term volunteer commitments. However, we also strive to develop ongoing relationships with the charities we help. Over time, the charities and I learn how best to work together, whether it is understanding what we’re good at (or not) and the activities that are really suited to our help and skill sets. 

Communicating about the details is key to project organizing. During our initial service projects, a charity may not understand or appreciate that it must communicate whether it really can follow through on the lists of tools and materials that it agreed to provide. As a result, we sometimes don’t have all the tools and materials that I estimated that it would take to complete the planned tasks, which really frustrates the volunteers and me. Had I known in advance that the charity could not purchase or borrow a wheelbarrow, tamper, etc., then I would have taken it upon myself to get it or to modify the work expected. 

After we’ve worked together on a few service projects, it becomes easier due to repetition and due to fewer communication barriers about what we each really need, whether it’s meeting a deadline for up-to-date literature about the charity or providing particular tools and materials. 

Since we have openings for projects on December 2 and 9, I hope to hear from some of the charity representatives who lurk on PMD’s email list. We haven’t worked together yet, but they’ve skimmed PMD’s weekly project announcements to develop a sense about the kinds of service projects that PMD organizes. Then when potential service project opportunities arise at their charity, these folks call and discuss them with me. There is no required application form/bureaucracy since we aren’t even sure yet that we can work together. 

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