What to Do when a Member Asks for More than Was Originally Requested?
A volunteer signs up for a service to drive to a specific destination and the member wants to be taken to several additional stores. Perhaps a volunteer offers to do a small home maintenance project and the home maintenance project is not what the volunteer expected or much larger than anticipated. The tech volunteer faces a blank computer screen. And what about the relatively rare situation in which a volunteer thinks the member is at risk or the volunteer is in an uncomfortable situation?
It’s really up to you. If you have other commitments and can only do what was originally promised, we understand and you should keep to your schedule. If you have the time and don’t mind the additional requests, of course you should do them. Some things might be anticipated. A trip to the doctor’s office is frequently followed by a stop at a drug store. Handyman tasks are often more complex than the member anticipates.
Whether you decide to do the additional requests or not, please call the office and let us know. If we know that a member has a tendency to ask for more things than they originally requested, we can press the member for the complete list when they make another request, or discourage their requests if we feel the requests are unreasonable. We can also forewarn the next volunteer about the possibility and let them decline the service if they have only enough time for the original request.
We do not do chores on an ongoing basis. We do not mow lawns or wash windows. We do not paint rooms, although we might help a member assess proposals from contractors and we have several volunteers to do that. We do not do major projects.
We change hard-to-reach light bulbs, take the old grill to the landfill, put in or take out an air conditioner, help move a piece of furniture, and so on. We do not take the member for an afternoon of shopping entertainment if they have only asked to go to the supermarket. On the other hand if a member requests spending an afternoon in the mall and a volunteer wishes to do it -- God bless them. We help the member with TV remotes, printers, phones, Kindles, iPads and computers. We do not reconfigure hard drives. Everything we do is with the knowledge and discretion of the particular volunteer.
We follow the rubric, “Do what a good neighbor would do.” Our daily call managers and Nauset Neighbors are available for support.
What do we expect of our volunteers? In the final analysis, it is how a volunteer as a sympathetic, understanding, warmhearted good neighbor wishes to answer it. Each volunteer has his own values and internal moral compass, and that guides Nauset Neighbors on its way.
In the final analysis, it is up to you to decide what services you feel comfortable doing. The online signup makes this very easy. Just ignore anything you are uncomfortable with. Even if we call you, please feel free to say no to the call manager. We understand.