Society for Healthcare
For several years, interest in our Auxiliary has been fading and we are seeking to either restructure or dismantle the Auxiliary. The majority of volunteers are more interested in serving their 4 hours than committing to serving on the board. I would love to hear if anyone else is having these issues and/or if you have made changes because of them. Does anyone have a volunteer advisory committee or something similar? Some of our board members feel that volunteers would be more engaged in a structure where there is no hierarchy, i.e., President, Vice President, etc. I feel it is time for a fresh new look!
Over the years, many have struggled with the same issue Sophia. Only in recent years did I have the same problem as you. We actually suspended the bylaws a few years ago and had developed a team to look at the situation. After the SHVL conference last year, several of the volunteers stepped forward to take officerships! Attending the conference actually helped them see the need of keeping together. But we are hanging on by a thread. We concluded with the auxiliary needing to remain as an entity because the gift shop is a business and it belongs to them. I feel like the officers are developing and we can go forward but the auxiliary board has suffered. We now call the remainder of the auxiliary board positions that were chairman of services "scheduler/trainers" so that other volunteers are not feeling like another volunteer is telling them what to do. With a lack of auxiliary leadership, now I sense they are becoming lost. We don't meet as often with the auxiliary board and no longer have the mentoring that we need. I am so busy trying to be a full time gift shop manager, coordinator and director, that I have had to let some things go. Every time I turn around I'm in the gift shop.
I have been with the hospital 30 years and in volunteers services about 28. I am looking at retiring but also want to see the legacy carried on. I realize it is time to change but want to make sure it is for the good of the auxiliary and the hospital. I put something out on this forum several years ago the same as you but really didn't get any replies. That was when we decided to attend conference. We found out that many were as lost as we were. We met auxiliary presidents who had been in the same position for six years because they couldn't get anyone to fill the spot. Many of the officers remained the same and were just hanging on.
All I can say is be proactive and ready to move and change when the possibilities arise.
Connie, Thank you so much for your reply to my concern and for sharing your experience with this.
I laughed at your comment about always being in the gift shop. I can relate - when I started 5 years ago it was a challenge to keep volunteers scheduled and the gift shop open. More times than I can count, I was checking out customers because we had no help. Thus no time for other, more important issues. A couple of years ago we decided to outsource and now the gift shops are contracted out to Lori's. Although many were resistant, it was the right thing to do given the challenges. The Auxiliary and volunteers were no longer able to sustain the day to day operations. I know that area hospitals (we are in Northwest Indiana) are having the same issues with their Auxiliary but they all still run their gift shops and so they continue to hang on.
Thank you again for your encouragement. I know it's time for change, I just need to be creative about what that might look like.
Best to you!
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