For the past 15+ months I have been designing a volunteer program for a faith-based non-profit. They have had a few volunteers throughout their long history but no infrastructure with which to support them. So they asked me to design a program which would be international in scope, would benefit churches as well as this organization and would feasible given the current realities of the organization.
Well let me tell you, it’s been a huge challenge – much bigger than I ever thought it would be. Having never run, let alone designed, a volunteer program, I did a ton of research. I even went to Florida to attend a conference on volunteer adminstration. (And who wouldn’t want to go to Florida in November, especially when you are from Illinois?) And I jumped headfirst into creating this program and testing the components with volunteers who were just starting. 15+ months later, I have a one inch binder which contains the program and a 10-page evaluation document listed each desired outcome, what I designed to meet it and my evaluation of the effectiveness of what I created.
Along the way, I met a lot of opposition. Change is not easy for some and I was proposing a lot of it. I learned a lot about myself and how I react to conflict. And I’ve discovered some of the secrets to working with people who have very different personalities and work styles than I do. It’s been a growth experience all along the way and I’m so grateful for it. I’ve shed a lot of tears as I worked through the joys and trials of a program design like this. In some ways, it is a relief to be done while in other ways, it’s sad and hard to let go.
When I was asked to take this role, I knew it was temporary. I knew that once the design was done and tested, my role would be done. There were some assumptions made by our administration that I would recommend the hiring of a full-time Volunteer Coordinator to oversee the program. However, I came to the conclusion that this would be a poor use of God-given resources and an unnecessary hire. However, this meant that I wrote myself out of a job.
Tomorrow was supposed to be my last day. Thankfully my debrief with the administration was put off until Monday. So I’ve been seeking other job opportunities, not really sure what I want to do or even where to begin looking. Today my boss comes to me with a job proposal. She needs a project assistant to help her catch up on a number of projects that she’s trying to juggle. It’s a short-term job (3-6 months) with the potential of turning into something longer term if it can be proven that it’s really a necessary role. And perhaps I could step into that role if I prove that I’m capable of handling it.
As a project assistant, there are a number of things that I would be doing. I’ll be working in research & development, making lots of phone calls, and networking with churches and other agencies like ours. My boss needs help with conducting surveys of other agencies, researching a funding model for a current project she’s developing, and researching how open source might be helpful for a non-profit like ours. And she has a church survey that has been prepaid, the questions are prepared and are waiting for our response so the research company can go ahead with the survey.
It sounds like it could be interesting and I figure I could do just about anything for 3-6 months. I’d like to give it a shot and see how it goes. And this really is a blessing from God. He knows that I can’t afford a day without income and He’s chosen to provide for me through another short-term role. Of course I was once again reminded that His timing is not ours as I would have loved to have known about this a few weeks ago rather than less than a week before my job was ending. 🙂