Railway Preservation News

Volunteer Perqs
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Author:  softwerkslex [ Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Volunteer Perqs

One of the stories I remember from the folks at the Hesston Steam Museum, is that one day it was hot and they had no ice or cool drinks. Elliott Donnelley told one of the members, "go out and get the biggest refrigerator you can find with an ice maker".

Author:  Alexander D. Mitchell IV [ Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Volunteer Perqs

Another topic side-drift: The subject of whether formal membership must be a pre-requisite of volunteering or not.

And even that can become a perk of sorts.

There was one group with which I volunteered for several projects where I came in sort of "on call" when my (then-) youth, strength, stamina, and/or knowledge was needed for specific projects. Somewhere about the third year, somebody elsewhere in the organization pointed out that I was supposed to be a member in order to be doing volunteer work for them (at this point I even had an access key!); it was only then that I found out that a senior member had been paying for my annual membership just to keep me on the projects, when I though they had just added me to the mailing list as a "thank you."

There was another instance where I was finally coerced into joining another organization, and as I paid the dues, a couple people literally remarked out loud, "What?! Hasn't he was a member all this time? He's been helping out at our annual [event] for five years now! And doing more than a lot of our other crew!"

If you give many, many people three things--the tools and necessities needed to do the job (be it a shop, crash space, a uniform, or food), the necessary authority/permission to just DO it, and the respect and thanks for a job done well--it's amazing the work they will put in to and give a cause, if only you give them reason to believe in the cause.

Author:  jayrod [ Tue Sep 10, 2019 6:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Volunteer Perqs

Ya have to be a member to be covered under our insurance.

Back on topic, we have fridges stocked with water & soft drinks. Sometimes, if we really behave ourselves, we get lunch. For me, it's job satisfaction.

Author:  Crescent-Zephyr [ Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Volunteer Perqs

On the subject of memberships.... some operations treat a membership equal to a season pass “buy a membership and come all year” - but then the membership price goes up yearly with the annual ticket price hike and soon volunteers get annoyed that they are getting charged more to volunteer.

Author:  Stationary Engineer [ Tue Sep 10, 2019 10:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Volunteer Perqs

At our RR, if a member has 120 volunteer hours, including travel time, they get their membership dues for the next year waved. It was easy when I spent a week helping to set up for and working on the two Thomas event weekends.

Author:  JR May [ Wed Sep 11, 2019 7:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Volunteer Perqs

Interesting question, having been on both sides of the no perks versus all kinds of perks within one organization over a period of 30 years or so, as both a worker bee and as management. Yes, the usual membership application/payment was needed to volunteer, but it was free the next year if 75 hours were signed in for, family generally got on free for regular trains, newsletter, maybe a picnic, by-monthly membership meetings. Years later, there was a big membership appreciation dinner with awards and such.

In truth the most important perk was probably just providing a pleasant, rewarding, work environment, supported by decent management, a place you enjoyed being at, where lifelong friendships are generated. Call it a pleasant, inviting, rewarding, working, social environment. Free this or that, big dinners, awards, certificates really don’t matter in the end.

J.R. May

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