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The Local volunteer center wont leave me alone

  • 09-04-2021 7:53pm
    Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭

    I applied to a volunteer position in an animal shelter through the local volunteer center, ive been volunteering one or two evenings a week when I can and the lady that runs it is lovely, doesnt put any pressure on anyone and we have a rota for all volunteers each week so we decide ourselves what evenings we each want to do and im really enjoying volunteering.

    The volunteer center has been another story, when I initially signed up with them last Summer specifically for volunteering with the animal shelter I was constantly getting texts and weekly phonecalls asking if id be available to volunteer for different things like bag packing in shops for charities, shop assistant in charity shops and money collections. I said I wasnt available, for starters I wasnt interested in volunteering for any of those positions and I was already volunteering my time in the animal shelter while working full time. I told them I wasnt available for any other volunteering.
    The texts and phonecalls started to become aggressive and during these conversations I was questioned why I wasnt available and felt like they were trying to force me.
    Conversations went something like this
    Volunteer center - Are you available this Saturday to do a money collection
    Me - No, im not available and already volunteering in the animal shelter
    VC - Why are you not available?
    Me - Im already volunteering in the shelter, I cant give any more of my time
    VC - Are you working?
    Me - No
    VC - So youre free on Saturday.

    If I was working they would ask me what time I finish and insist I volunteer after work.
    They needed a volunteer for a befriending service at the end of April last year, they contacted me about it and I said I might be available but I will let them know, I was finishing up final year college assignments and had my thesis to do so didnt know at that stage, after I finished my exams I had to move house in May then my grandad died in early June and some other things happened and I never got back in touch with the volunteer center. I was ignoring their texts about random flag days & bag packing. Then around mid June I got a call from a man from the volunteer center questioning why I hadnt been in touch and why I hadnt started volunteering at the befriending service. I explained everything about the exams and moving and my grandad dying, he responded 'Well that was in April'. At this point I didnt want to volunteer at the befriending service because I felt like I was being bullied into it. So I ignored all calls and texts from them.
    Over this period of time the texts became increasingly aggressive and pushy, demanding why I wasnt available and to reply to them.
    When restrictions got tighter I stopped being contacted by them but the contact has started again and its increasingly aggressive and pushy. Im also getting emails from them nearly everyday, its relentless and has put me off ever volunteering with them.
    They started ringing me on different numbers and private numbers and ive accidentally answered some of them, in the phone calls they have an aggressive attitude.

    I dont know what to do?


  • Registered Users Posts: 216 ✭✭Skibunny77

    I would ask for the managers name and make a complaint. Ask them to remove your number from their phone list. You are under no obligation to justify why you are not available for volunteer positions!

  • Registered Users Posts: 938 ✭✭✭Ice Storm

    Stop making excuses and explaining why you are not available. Tell them straight out that you are not interested and to stop contacting you. Don't engage in conversation.

    If they continue, tell them that you will report them for harassment.

  • Registered Users Posts: 29,855 ✭✭✭✭freshpopcorn

    I’d cut ties with them to be honest and find somewhere else to volunteer.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,312 ✭✭✭YellowLead

    This sounds awful! And unusual behaviour from a volunteer centre. Rather than declining requests to volunteer specifically tell them you do not want to be contacted again and that you want your information deleted from their systems. You have the right to erasure under GDPR.
    Though they might need to retain you if your animal shelter work is via them.
    Otherwise go that harassment route as somebody else suggested.

  • Registered Users Posts: 930 ✭✭✭TheadoreT

    Thats truly bizarre. I mean don't even begin to try justify your free time to them again, thats probably seen as weakness to them. Its harassment, let them know that you dont consent the contact next time and you'll be involving the garda if it continues. Being in a perceived well intentioned charity position doesnt excuse people to act like psychopaths.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,917 ✭✭✭Jequ0n

    TheadoreT wrote: »
    Thats truly bizarre. I mean don't even begin to try justify your free time to them again, thats probably seen as weakness to them. Its harassment, let them know that you dont consent the contact next time and you'll be involving the garda if it continues. Being in a perceived well intentioned charity position doesnt excuse people to act like psychopaths.

    While I agree with the first part of your post I am puzzled by the psychopath comparison which makes no sense

    OP, agree with the previous posters. You need to stop pandering to avoid conflict or an uncomfortable conversation. Sounds like you are dealing with someone who is well trained in swaying opinions, so stand up for yourself. This person is not a friend and you won’t be upsetting them.

  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser

    Goodness, that's awful! This is a perfect opportunity for you to practice setting boundaries though, because the social/emotional risk to you is so negligent, it's almost non-existent. Next time they call you, tell them: no, thank you, I'm not available. If they ask follow up question, say the same thing, politely but firmly: I'm not available, thank you though. If they continue to insist, for some bizarre reason, repeat it again: "As I said, I'm not available. Thank you, have a lovely day." Then hang up.

    There might be a reason why you might wish to stay on their mailing list, if that's the case, by all means make a formal complaint to the volunteer center's management. Volunteering only works if it's beneficial to both parties, this is one of the most basic principles in volunteering, and all good volunteer managers know and respect this.

    If you don't wish to stay on their mailing list, just send the centre an email and ask them to remove your contact details from their database, and ask them to not contact you again. By law, they have to follow your instruction.

    Honestly thought, use this situation as an opportunity to strengthen and empower yourself. You are in the right here, you don't owe anyone any explanation in this situation, let them know you know this, it will feel great! :) All the best, Op!

  • Registered Users Posts: 984 ✭✭✭LimeFruitGum

    I can't imagine what this befriending service is going to be like, if this is how they nag people into working there. They sound so blinkered about staffing it that they're bashing the phonelines until they fill those slots. It is a ****ty way to get volunteers. I wonder if your form had some tiny tickbox about being contacted for other things?

    You have the power in this conversation - your time. As long as you're giving them mixed signals (i.e. confirming when you're free, not responding), they're going to think they've got a chance. "No" is a sentence; it's not like they're paying you!

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,322 ✭✭✭✭jimmycrackcorm

    Install an app on your phone that will block calls and texts from their number. Problem solved.

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,176 ✭✭✭✭ILoveYourVibes


    Their behavior would lead me to believe they are not reputable and something dodgy is going on.

    I would withdraw from them.

    Tell them not to contact me again.

    Tell them they need to look up the word 'volunteer' in the dictionary.

    Your kindness is being exploited and not appreciated.

    Volunteers don't have the same rights under contract as employees do and a lot of places know this.

    Why you don't want to volunteer is your business.

    You might need to let the animal center clear you separately after that though if your clearance came through the center so maybe talk to the animal center about that..

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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,292 ✭✭✭TheBoyConor

    They are way off the wall with their pushy demands.

    Continue with the animal shelter but volunteer to them directly. And tell the agency to shove their flag days up their hole.

  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,197 Mod ✭✭✭✭HildaOgdenx

    Filter emails so that they go straight to spam/ bin. Or as others have suggested, get your details removed from their mailing lists.

    Block any of the numbers that they have used so far and don't answer calls from unknown numbers for the next while.

    It will be quite some time I imagine before bag packing and collections will be on the go, even when we are back to normality with all shops open and so forth.
    (I can't remember when I last saw bag packers or charity collectors/ flag days even pre lockdown.)
    So they won't have any reason to call you for those, for quite some time, I imagine.

    You're not obliged to tell anyone what time you finish work or anything else.
    So if they do still manage to get through on your phone, bear that in mind.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,055 ✭✭✭Emme

    >Mod snip - No need to quote long blocks of text from the OP as you are replying to them anyway. It makes it difficult for those using the touch site to navigate the thread. <

    This is disgraceful. You are volunteering with an animal charity and that should be the end of it.

    If they call again tell them you have no time to volunteer any more than what you are doing. Tell them it is none of their business what you do with your time and you don't want to hear from them again. Block their phone number. If they get through to you again on another number tell them that you are recording their contact with you and if they contact you again you will report them for harrassment. Ask them to delete your contact details on your database. They have to do this to comply with GDPR rules.

    Do the people in the volunteer centre get paid? Perhaps they find it hard to get people now because details of charity salaries (not small) have become public. People donate to charity so they can PAY people for what they do, not badger busy people into giving up time they cannot afford.

    You have to enjoy the volunteering you do, well done with the animal charity.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,930 ✭✭✭spaceHopper

    They are counting on you to be polite. You have the contact for the animal shelter so just keep helping them.

    Send a letter to the volunteer center saying "I no longer with to avail of your services and am unable to volunteer through your centre, please remove my contact details from you lists and delete then accordance GDPR rules" Follow it up with an email and then block their call and texts.

  • Registered Users Posts: 27,695 ✭✭✭✭AndrewJRenko

    What is the "volunteer centre" ?I've never heard of such a thing in Ireland. What organisation runs it?

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    What is the "volunteer centre" ?I've never heard of such a thing in Ireland. What organisation runs it?

    They're government-funded and each county has one AFAIK.

    OP email if you can to ask that your record be deactivated/deleted, you are no longer to be contacted either by phone or by email and you are not available to volunteer. You 100% do not have to offer an explanation why and once you have the record of the email that should be the end of it. If it persists beyond this then contact Volunteer Ireland who are sort of their parent body and should be able to help you.

  • Registered Users Posts: 788 ✭✭✭markmoto

    She probably hoping to get reference of them after finishing college...
    I would politely withdraw from voluntary position all together and tell them that I got job full time or moved somewhere else.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    markmoto wrote: »
    She probably hoping to get reference of them after finishing college...
    I would politely withdraw from voluntary position all together and tell them that I got job full time or moved somewhere else.

    The reference would come from wherever (s)he is volunteering, not the Volunteer Centre. They are like the FAS of volunteering - they just make the introductions.

  • Registered Users Posts: 461 ✭✭Pistachio19

    Block their number. If they call from another number, as soon as you realise it's someone from the volunteer centre just say you are not available to talk and hang up. Write to them and request that your details be removed from their database.
    Ask the place you are volunteering in if you can continue doing so without any involvement from the volunteer centre. Chances are they may be delighted for you to continue.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,061 ✭✭✭leggo

    Yeah this one is easy. Under GDPR law you’re entitled to dictate if they hold onto your information and also they need your permission to contact you (which you can change your mind on at any stage, so even if you agreed without realising when you signed up you just need to let them know, I’d do so in writing just to have it provable and on the record). Simply let them know all of this and they’re then committing a GDPR breach and face serious punishment if reported. It’ll stop them immediately.

    Also block their number. Job done.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,419 ✭✭✭antix80

    Welcome to the charity sector

    I volunteered for office work. I figured I'd do a day or 2 half days during the week.

    Day 1. Can you represent us at a pub quiz this weekend?

    Me: sure, sounds like a fun way to get to know the team.

    Them: no, you need to bring 3 friends. I only volunteer during the week and I'm not available the weekends. Neither is anyone else.

    Me: ah. OK. Nah, you're alright. Good luck

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,319 ✭✭✭JustAThought

    Y - and so much volunterring ends up stressing out about resources or fundraising.

    OP - writ them a letter - address it to the board/chairperson - tell them you are being persistently called and harassed by their OTT team and want it to stop - you volunteered and have been accepted for animal charity work - this does not mean you want to or are available to help every charity that signs up for their help. Their staff/volunteer training and staff policies should reflect this and not intimidating or harassing their volunteers until they leave.