Ethical dilemma: what would you do?

As a member of your club’s planning committee for an upcoming fundraiser dinner, you are responsible for planning the event’s live auction. You’ve spent weeks securing sponsors and items for the auction. The dinner is a huge success and your club meets its fundraising goals. At the end of the year, your club president asks all members to report volunteer service hours. You report all the hours you spent working on the fundraiser, but your club president does not count preparatory work as a service project contribution. You strongly believe the many hours spent ensuring your goals were met should be recognized.

What would you do?

22 thoughts on “Ethical dilemma: what would you do?

  1. I have always felt that verified planning hours should be counted but should be approved . That time assures success. A time schedule be discussed and approved before hand and updated as necessary by the Club. Jim

  2. The club president should have made clear exactly what counts as service hours at the beginning of their term. Discussion on what counts as service hours could have been established up front. I’m pretty confident that planning time should be counted as service hours.

    1. Several years ago Rotary International announced a partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that will inject much-needed millions into the global campaign to eradicate polio. In their form of management, The Gates Foundation encourage recipients to track expenses that include service hours. Their form of management has reflected onto that of Rotary International.

    2. We count service hours because it can be valued as an in-kind donation and better positions the organization for its fundraising efforts. In another 501c3 organization where I volunteer we assign a value to our volunteer hours when applying for grants,

  3. The planning time is very important for the success of any project, so the hours spend should count.

    I’m president of my club and I value al the time spend out side the meetings, to prepare for a project.

  4. Bring the issue of the hours not being recognized by the Club President, to the Board of Directors of the Rotary Club, ask them to decide the issue. Check your Governance papers, the Board of Directors has the final decision.

  5. If the planning hours were truly spent (4-Way Test), report them. That’s the real time it took to provide the service, or in this case the fundraiser that makes possible the service. If RI didn’t want to count fundraising as service, that would be different. But then you wouldn’t want the non-planning hours spent in running the fundraiser to be counted as hours either. But it seems that RI is interested in showing outside funders, nonprofits, and govts how many resources our organization has – and the hours of our volunteers are the major part of those resources.

  6. Of course they count. We live by the 4 way test. Verifiable hours..what’s tha mean? Your mama has to sign?
    I work on several projects each year and have for the previous 14 years. I have always tracked my hours. How else does one do a qualitative assessment of the project. This fellow needs to reconsider his original answer. I’ve worked on our silent auction for 7 had run previously for 13 years. I did a qualitative analysis of those 7 years and we discovered that 75% of the stuff was purchased by our club members; 55% of the donations were from club members’ businesses or their friends and families ..we raised over $20,000 annually. We voted and cancelled it.
    That took pressure off everyone because we had started a Ribfest ……it took place 7 weeks after the silent auction. Result. Ribfest is the best in the area…we make more money than before and people aren’t strained/stressed. Just sayin’
    Big Dawg
    PS Everything has a shelf life. Gotta go! Mine’s up

  7. Firstly, it should not be the Club President who decides but rather the Board who should have set a clear set of project procedures including what hours would be recorded. As Rotarians we should constantly look to a “Best Practice” approach, enhancing the ways in which we do things and resolving issues before they occur.

    In this particular case I would raise the question with the Board or request that the matter be discussed at a Club Forum as it effects the the entire Club whose Members may well find themselves in a similar situation in the future.

    As an AG I have advised Clubs at the beginning of this year that they clearly communicate the procedures to their Members and have offered the following advice.

    With regards as to what can be recorded as Volunteer Hours it must be kept in mind that time spent at normal meetings of your Club and its Board or any meetings constituting the general running of the Club is not regarded as volunteer hours. This would also include basic Cheque Handovers or project visits (as opposed to Community or Project Assessments which are done in the course of planning the Project).

    The Rule therefore should be that Project Participation include :-
    • Project Assessments and Planning Meetings
    • Time spent researching and resourcing the Project
    • Time spent implementing and activating the Project
    • Actual time spent working at or on the Project
    • Time spent on the Monitoring and Evaluation at the end of the Project
    • The Volunteer Hours of Project Partners and Contributors

    Many Clubs have Committee Meetings where they discuss their ongoing projects which they may want to consider as volunteer hours, in this regard it must be borne in mind that as Rotarians our first commitment is to the running of our Club and planning our community involvement through our Avenues of Service, so that such a meeting would not be regarded as volunteering.

    Most Clubs would of course have two types of project, Input Projects (Fund Raising or Gathering Resources) and Output Projects (providing Goods and Services to the Community), both of which would qualify for the accumulation of Volunteer Hours.

    While this is a rather long comment, I may note that the issue is not “to record or not to record” but that Rotarians display a tolerance for each others points of view and exercise the principles of the 4-Way-Test.

  8. The real importance is the good that will come from the successful fundraiser. ‘Suck it up’ and don’t worry about personal recognition. The people involved in the success of the project know who was working and who was not. Accountability for hours in the background is about the ‘Look at Me!’ factor. If you donated your time, good for you. The beneficiary of the effort is ultimately going to thank ROTARY, and that is good enough.

  9. Preparatory hours are as much a part of the project as the project itself. With great preparation the project is completed first without a hitch and 2n in a much easier fashion with less stress on the volunteers and members. If you don’t lay the Keel you can’t build a ship

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