What if Volunteers Came with Labels

The best leaders are readers of people. They have the intuitive ability to understand others by discerning how they feel and recognizing what they sense. John C. Maxwell

Whenever you buy something new it usually comes with a user’s manual or tag. These manuals are fraught with warnings on product use like: No bleach, no iron, do not operate in water, use mild soap, do not drop, avoid skin contact, do not fold, spindle or mutilate and the list goes on. Sometimes we pay absolutely no attention to the warnings as in when I recently got an envelope in the mail that clearly said, “Do not Fold” neatly folded in my mailbox. My mail delivery person clearly must be a guy. Guys don’t do directions well.

I love those little silica packets that are found in products to keep them dry. Each packet will say “Do Not Eat”. I guess, for product liability reasons, they don’t want to be responsible if someone would mistake these packets for their morning sweetener. Here are some funny warnings:

  1. "DO NOT put any person in this washer"
  2. "This product moves when used" (on a Razor scooter)
  3. "Use care when operating a car (...)" (on a bottle of dog's pills)
  4. "Never use a lit match or open flame to check fuel level" (found on a Jet Ski user manual)
  5. "Do not hold the wrong end of a chainsaw"
  6. "Do not iron" (on a lottery ticket)
  7. "Machine can fall over and cause serious injury or death" (on a vending machine)
  8. "Caution: Please do not use this directory while operating a moving vehicle" (On a Bellsouth Yellow Pages for Augusta, GA)
  9. "Be careful of bad language on this mobile phone, because a partner's feeling is going to be bad" (on a cellphone)

And my favorite

  1. "If you cannot read (...) warnings, do not use this product"

Wouldn’t it be nice if volunteers came with warning labels? Here are some I would suggest:

  1. Computer illiterate even though they say they are
  2. Frequently out of town
  3. Volunteers because his wife wants him out of the house
  4. Needs constant attention
  5. Will explode if criticized
  6. Needs lots of affirmation
  7. Doesn’t answer calls or emails
  8. Works at their own pace usually alone
  9. Will quit at any provocation
  10. Can’t say “no” so is overbooked much of the time

Feel like working with volunteers is a minefield? Would you like to be able to take advantage of this wonderful, God given, resource for your organization or ministry? Come to the Southern Arizona Social Service Alliance meeting May 15 at 7:00 AM and learn how Robin Blumenthal recruits and utilizes volunteers to benefit the ministry at Pantano.

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