Day 461: Volunteer Cycling

As mentioned in earlier podcasts, I’m in the downward phase of a significant volunteer effort for the local canoe club, setting up their new website. I’m also in the ascending (?) phase of a massive project for the radio station, helping them set up their own podcast network.

I’m hoping that I’ll be largely wrapped on this by mid-July — the Canoe Club and radio station have cyclical responsibilities, of course — and be able to focus on some other things starting this summer. Personal projects, this podcast, the side hustle… there’s a lot of other things I can do.

Longevity with an organization is important. But when I look at a lot of the things I get involved with, I have a growing feeling that staggered 5-to-7-year cycles are really what’s best for volunteer orgs. When there’s no external pressure to adapt and evolve, cyclical leadership is the next best thing. The main problems I’ve seen in all the volunteer associations I’ve been involved in is a kind of combination of founder’s syndrome and inertia. One or two strong personalities drive the bus for too long, it becomes “their organization,” and everything starts to stagnate. It’s not impossible for this to happen with an excellent “founder”, but it’s still never good.

I’ve got a strong personality myself, and pretty defined ideas, so it’s not a bad thing for me to opt out of things after 2-3 years for a while. I think I’ve got good ideas and good instincts and I’m a hard worker, but my desire to drive the bus can be stifling to other people.

At any rate, I’m looking forward to some hard work and drive in certain areas to hand off, more or less, the same areas in the summer.