Voluntary societies in crisis

A year ago I wrote (in Triple Whammy) about voluntary organisations in decline as members aged. Here I extend the analysis to other demographic inequalities and then look at their death spiral in more detail.

(1) Diversity and organisational health

There’s a tipping point in any group below which any minority begins to feel marginalised and above which they can feel comfortable, heard, accepted.

Let’s be clear: I’m saying only that being a member of a small minority, anywhere, usually makes life more difficult. (That shouldn’t be controversial.) What defines a person as a “minority” below is just being different enough that they don’t fit in socially. I’m not talking about active discrimination, but about mutual awkwardness or inability to relax.

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Triple whammy revisited

Here are three statements and a cluster of questions, all confirming and extending what I said in The triple whammy of an ageing boomer cohort and the need for generational change in voluntary societies, published here on this blog a year ago. The first has been edited from a local club newsletter (I have chosen not to identify the club) and the others were responses to my blog post.

Phil (Townsville) said…

In early 2010 I joined the committee of The Club as Vice President. Although asked about serving a higher office I believed it to be inappropriate for a Johnny-come-lately to do that: it might injure toes of longer-serving members of the Club. From the lofty role as our VP I moved to the role of Secretary in either 2012 or 2013. … Almost a year ago at our AGM I became the President. This has been an honour and a privilege…

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The triple whammy of an ageing boomer cohort

The original title of this think-piece was longer and more informative: The triple whammy of an ageing boomer cohort and the need for generational change in voluntary societies

My starting point was observing, over the last ten years or more, wildly diverse clubs experiencing similar problems without realising that their problems are, in fact, generational and therefore common.

I will talk about “voluntary groups” but the term should be interpreted very broadly: my comments apply, more or less, to all unpaid activity outside the home: to amateur orchestras, tennis clubs, gardening clubs and Amnesty groups alike. And my “voluntary workforce” covers tuckshop helpers, NGO committee members, Op-shop volunteers, and everyone else who contributes unpaid hours to the community.       Continue reading “The triple whammy of an ageing boomer cohort”