So, volunteers. I've had one this year so far. In 9 months. That's pretty bad, even for this small rescue, we usually have more than that. But just one, and not even one of the people who I see every now and then, this was someone new.
Anyway, wanted to mention a few things. First, I don't know if there is a misconception about what I do all day, but I have a day job. Let me repeat that. I have to work outside the home, just like everyone else, so that I can afford to live and eat and all that good stuff. This means that I am not home 24/7. Granted, this does make it more difficult to schedule people, especially since my schedule changes weekly, sometimes even in the middle of the week, but it is do-able.
But here's what's been happening lately. I get a text (or call, or email, or contact-method-of-choice) that says, "Can I come volunteer Tuesday at 3?" Now, that's nice and good that that's when the volunteer is free, but... this is why I have no volunteers. I may be free every other day after 3, and they're only free that day. And then, get this, some people actually get upset when I'm not free. I like volunteers. I want help. So chances are, if you've contacted me and I've said, sorry, you can't come, it's not because I'd rather clean cages alone or would rather spend time with the dogs. Chances are, I will be at work. The other day, someone asked if they could come at 3 the next day. I told them, no, I wouldn't be home all night. They said, ok, how bout 4? No? How bout 5? How bout, I start work at 2 and won't be home til after 10?
And then, cancellations. I try to do whatever I can to accommodate volunteers. I do. Because I would like help, and not many people want to help. So for example, today... well, earlier this week, I had someone asking about coming today at 3. I told them, I get off at 3, so they'd need to come 4 or later. So they said ok, they'd come 4:30. They text me around 4:30 saying they're outside. I go outside... no one there. Not sure if they went to the old address or what (they never asked me for the address, but the website, and every place that I can update, has the new address), but they were not here. They asked me what the address was, and I told them, and mentioned that it was only a few minutes away (they said they were in Munster). They said, oh sorry, their parent doesn't have the time to bring them today, they'll have to come another day.
Now, maybe that doesn't seem like a big deal on the surface. But, few things. First, yesterday, they wanted me to switch shifts. I said, no, I have a volunteer coming. I would have MUCH rather worked the later shift (versus the morning shift), but I kept my afternoon open so my volunteer could come.. which they didn't. Today, they would have liked for me to work an extra hour or two. But, I couldn't, because I knew I had to drive straight home so that I'd be home in time for the volunteer. So I lost out on a better shift, and a few extra hours pay (which god knows I could use right now), for a volunteer that never showed up. Not to mention, when I got home, I spent time cleaning up the rescue. Not significantly, but enough so that when I gave them something to do, there would be less things in the way. I have a ton of other things to do, and if it was just me here, the organizing could wait. But I did it, in anticipation of this person coming. And they never did. The few minutes was too far I guess, for them to come out of their way.
Which is why it irks me to no end when I am expecting someone, volunteer or not, and they don't show up.
This person had asked what they would be doing, if they came. I told them, probably cleaning cages, putting together orders, maybe making something that we sell. They said ok. I'm really glad this wasn't one of those people who insists on making toys, or doing something else that requires a ton of prep work, cause then it irks me even more when I've prepped for something that I will end up doing all myself. Which sounds about right.
One last thing. We had the Darien expo this weekend. We made a total of $5 in donations, and a negligible amount in sales. Like, two sales total. That is pathetic. The same goes for adoptions, which have been inexistent for some time now, again. One of our recent surrenders donated a large amount of money to the rescue, and this will help pay for food and supplies, which are normally paid for by orders, adoptions, etc. But since those are so few and far between right now (and the ones I'm working on packing up are all orders that are like $5 item, $15 shipping, almost not even worth doing), the money is dwindling.
I could deal with less money, if I had less help. Really, I would prefer the help over the money. A few hours of help every week would significantly reduce the time it takes for me to get things done, would make the rescue more efficient at getting things like orders out -- because let's face it -- I can only put off cages and such so long before I have to say, orders have to wait, let me go clean cages -- and more efficient processing of orders would likely mean more orders. Heck, I can't even make hidey houses because no one is ever here to help me, and they take an hour each, and that's time that doesn't exist for me. They bring in the most money for the rescue, and I just have no time to make them right now, because I have no help.
Even if 1-2 people could donate a few hours, say 2-4 hours, one night a week. Or one morning a week, depending on my schedule, it would make a big difference. Everyone says, oh I'll help out, but no one actually does, and it's actually gotten to the point where I cannot do this alone. No offense, but I don't need anyone to help with handling chins, I need help in areas that actually lessen my time spent at the rescue (cleaning cages, feeding, watering, etc) or bring in larger dollar amounts to the rescue (filling orders, making toys, making houses). I appreciate when a lot of people donate the $0.75 change from their order -- it does add up, and it does help -- but I would much rather have people at the rescue helping than the money. The money pays for food, and supplies, and that's great. But there's no longer enough hours in the day for me to keep up with all of this, and if I was more up-to-date on orders, and always had clean cages, I guarantee you the rescue would do better and I wouldn't need so many money donations. Which again, I'd rather have people, because I have tried, and found out, it is almost impossible to find people who will come here and do this sort of work for pay. Which means... volunteers. Which brings me back to my making-sure-my-schedule-was-fine-for-the-person-to-come-today-because-I-could-have-really-used-the-help,-but-who-never-showed. Ugh.