Project Management

The Do's and Don'ts of Volunteering

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at [email protected] Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

I love the fact that ProjectManagement.com has a regular PM Philanthropy theme at the end of the year. When I thought about some of the aspects of work that caused me the most frustration over the course of the last year, a lot of them came down to requests for me to donate my time and services. I’m sure that wasn’t the intention, but it seems like a topic worthy of exploration.

Like many other project professionals who have a bit of a public profile, I receive a lot of requests from individuals and organizations to support their efforts and communities. Wherever possible, I try and assist—but it’s impossible to agree to everything, so I have to be selective in what I agree to. That comes down to the people who offer me the best opportunity to actually make a difference, and I am sure most people who are looking to give back feel the same way.

Therefore, if you are looking to secure assistance for an event, community group or other opportunity to contribute, it’s essential that you approach people you believe will help in a way that makes it easy for them to provide that help. That’s what I’m going to address here, with a few examples of what not to do that I experienced this year.

1. Provide information
Most of this stuff is fairly basic—and most fundamental of all is to tell people what you want. I can’t tell you…


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"Man who waits for roast duck to fly into mouth must wait very, very long time."

- Chinese Proverb

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