While I do appreciate marketing people and realize we need them to get out the word on services we provide, I am always stunned at their lack of understanding when it comes to volunteers and staff for that matter. Marketing people have a “vision” and the rest of us are all props in that vision. Trouble is, staff is paid and has to put up with marketing shenanigans, volunteers are not and do not have to put up with ridiculous requests.
When volunteers are asked to show up, stand around useless for hours in case something might happen for a photo-op, it gets really hard trying to convince smart people that this is a good idea. Of course the smart people are the ones they want, because they make the best photo-op, but the smarter the volunteers are, the more they see the photo-op for what it is, a stunt.
Volunteers don’t come to us wishing to be stunt men, props, photo ops or smiles on a billboard. They come to us for real volunteer experiences. I don’t think for a minute that marketing people will ever get that, because they see all of us as a means to an end. The question then becomes, does this end justify the time of volunteers who could be doing the real work?
We’ll see. I’ll ask, but savvy volunteers will see this for what it is. Savvy volunteers want a role in an independent film that is meaningful, not a stint as a stunt person for some slick blockbuster.