As their administrator you may not be familiar with the three levels of activity in which your volunteers may choose to serve. It is our aim to describe these to you and discourage casting all volunteers in to one performance mold, so to speak.
The one common and underlying thread that motivates all dependable volunteers is a strong sense of duty. They will be the last to admit this to you, but it is a commitment to duty that motivates them. This is particularly hard to be understood by paid employees with no experience with volunteers; particularly by or among those employees who cannot understand why anyone would want to volunteer for work which they themselves do not particularly enjoy. The sad truth is that few people work day to day at something they really like and derive a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. The biggest single reason governments do not have a volunteer program is that the professional staff person does not understand, recognize, and subscribe to this concept. They, of course, seldom see these words (the RACES BULLETINS) because, if they have no volunteers, there is no delivery of these weekly volunteer program management bulletins.
Just as there are three communications service areas -- administrative, operational, and technical -- there are also varying degrees of activity from one volunteer to the next.
Some people are required to perform on what we will call a CONSTANT basis. A RACES Radio Officer, a CAP communications officer, or a volunteer CD communications officer puts in a lot of time. He or she does their work at your office, at home, and at their own office. It is not at all unusual for these administrative volunteers to put in 16-30 hours a week.
These same people plus another type of volunteer serve on a SCHEDULED basis. These are the people who are required to serve at a specific time and place on a repetitive and scheduled basis. This might be for weekly radio schedules, paper work at headquarters, training, and other frequently scheduled activities.
Other people may serve only when they are needed to perform INFREQUENT and usually unscheduled tasks. A few examples include extra operators for a major incident, installation or maintenance activity, computer programmers, special projects, etc. I use as an example one volunteer we have who is a computer communications program expert. If a terminal hangs up we may need his advice fast. One phone call and the problem is usually cleared in minutes. His advice is invaluable and priceless. He does not come in to the office and serve. He may respond into the field on an incident perhaps once a year. But you can see how it's impossible to put a price tag on his value to us without his having to meet radio nets or serve some expected hours per month.
You and, more importantly, your Radio Officer will know the capabilities and talents of each volunteer. It's your Radio Officer's responsibility to recruit enough people with the likes and skills to provide depth and redundancy.
As your Radio Officer's supervisor it is your role to motivate, lead and inspire. Let your volunteers be the best they can be --- and they will!
--- Stan Harter, KH6GBX