Have you ever been volunteered by someone else?
I’ve volunteered a lot over the years, but it was my choice to volunteer.
Once I was volunteered (more like assigned) by a fellow board member to do promotion for our annual fundraiser. I was absent at the meeting where they divvied up the jobs, so when this board member called to tell me what I had been “volunteered” to do, she said, “Well, I thought you’d want to help out. Everyone else is.”
So I was volunteered and guilt-ed into it, too!
I declined, explaining that I had not experience or gifts in marketing and promotion a fundraising event.
It doesn’t feel good to be volunteered into doing something does it?
A homeschool mom emailed me to say that she teaches at a local homeschool program. The homeschool organization gives free classes to board members. That’s very generous of them.
This teaching-parent is paid based on the number of children enrolled in her class and was pretty surprised when she was told she would have two of a board member’s children in her class and they would “be pro bono cases.” That means she wasn’t going to get paid for these two students in her class! This teacher has a written contract with the homeschool group and it does not mention any “pro bono cases.”
Pro bono means “for the public good” and refers to an attorney offering his or her services for free to help a public cause.
I find it odd that the homeschool organization used the term “pro bono” like this. They shouldn’t obligate someone else (the teacher in this case) to work “pro bono.” It’s like volunteering someone else!
Some homeschool groups waive tuition and fees for board members, but that doesn’t mean the group should stiff the teachers! It means the homeschool group absorbs the cost themselves.
So homeschool leaders, go ahead and be generous. Offer discounts to your hard working board members (but read this to make sure the discounts are not taxable income to your board members), but please treat your paid teachers well too!
Don’t go “pro bono” or volunteer someone else. It’s just not nice.
Carol Topp, CPA