Taking Responsibility

As I have said before, RMHC Richmond is a wonderfully collaborative workplace.  Many jobs cannot be done properly without the input of another staff member which encourages communication.  There are still holes and issues that arise with this method of work. Due to the overlapping responsibilities taken on by different individuals, it sometimes becomes hard to identify exactly what is the main person’s responsibility and how much is expected of another person.  I do not know if this happens across the entire organization, but I have certainly noticed it in my work.

One of my main jobs is keeping up with the auction items that get donated toward our Red Shoe Rendezvous gala and auction that is coming up in September.  This job involves soliciting donations by phone, email, or in person, keeping up with donated items through physical and online forms, and sending out receipts of donations as well as hand written thank yous to major donors.  All of this information is tracked in a large spreadsheet that has information manually inputted. Soliciting donations for this gala is very important, and the responsibility falls on many shoulders; since the goal is to raise over $300,000, we are seeking out as many items or certificates as possible.  All of the people responsible for soliciting donations and keeping up with donors include board members and staff that rank as high as the executive director of the chapter. That being said, I am still the only person in charge of ensuring that donation forms are filled out and that receipts and thank yous are sent.  This job becomes very difficult when those soliciting donations do not do the proper follow up and information about donations is not logged properly and just left in an email for me to eventually find. Every solicitor other than myself has other jobs and responsibilities, so many of them think that once they have confirmed with a donor that they have finished what they needed to do, but my supervisor and I would be a lot more efficient with our jobs if there were more clearly defined steps for the others to take.

Overall I think that those who work for RMHC and volunteer their time to help out are very caring and generally know what they are doing.  I think this is just one instance of bad, more specifically incompetent, leadership and followership. I think it could easily be improved if my supervisor, who is ultimately in charge of the entire event and auction, detailed clear instructions for all of those involved.  She makes sure people are given access to the donation but gives very little in regards to what they should do next like filling in information on the spreadsheet so that I know to follow up with the donation. All of the solicitors do not try to ask for further instruction either which means that they contribute to the inefficient nature of the task.  As a leadership studies major, I will make it known that the current method is hectic and difficult for me to do my job and I will propose the solution of creating a step-by-step process for a solicitor so that it becomes more efficient.

One thought on “Taking Responsibility

  • July 17, 2019 at 4:16 pm

    Definitely sound messy (and frustrating). You suggest that there is a spreadsheet; is this a shared document (e.g. Google Docs) that all individuals soliciting in-kind donations can access? It seems that having such a shared document in which individuals could immediately submit the necessary information about whatever donation they secured would be a no-brainer, right? But maybe that is what is supposed to be happening now? I think talking with your supervisor and strategizing how to get a handle on this would be good; again, the discussion can be in the context of the fundraising – if things are sloppy, if items are overlooked, if appropriate individuals/organizations are not thanked for donations, that will impact RMHC going forward.

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