RMFW is an organization run entirely by volunteers. For a group with over 600 members and a budget of more than $175,000, this is no mean feat! As our new Volunteer Coordinator, I want to spend some time highlighting this Herculean effort.
We began trying to track volunteer efforts in 2014, in part because we needed the information for our audit. But we also recognized there were a lot of volunteers doing things behind the scenes without anyone being aware of their efforts. That year, we asked all of our board committees to submit lists of their volunteers along with their job role(s). In 2015, we did the same, but also began to analyze the data in other ways.
RMFW has a twenty-three member board: president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, anthology, by-laws, conference, contest, critique, education events, history project, hospitality, I-PAL, membership, newsletter, PAL, podcast, programs (monthly), publicity, retreat, technology, volunteers, and western slope programs. As board members, each is responsible for helping to run the organization through oversight and policy-making. However, board members also have the responsibility of chairing a committee or heading up special tasks as an executive committee member. Each committee utilizes volunteers for sub-roles.
Our smallest committee is by-laws, which has no volunteers beyond the board member. The largest committee is conference, which had thirty-four different volunteer positons in 2015. Some of those positions were filled by one person while others (such as workshop moderator) involved dozens of people.
In 2015, we recorded 113 different volunteer positions. Many of those roles (contest judge, newsletter contributor, e.g.) involved multiple slots. By our best estimate, there were 471 separate volunteer slots filled last year. They were filled by 196 different people.
Volunteer tasks ranged from short-term in duration (picking up an editor from the airport, hosting a table at conference) to long-term (planning retreat, editing the anthology). Some involved small spurts of volunteer energy (writing a blog once per quarter) and some involved daily responsibilities (maintaining the website, coordinating contest or conference, serving as president). Some efforts were easy (tweeting) and some were more involved (selecting conference workshops).
On an average, RMFW volunteers took on 2.4 tasks each. Most (102) of our volunteers filled one role each though 79 people completed two to five different responsibilities. Eleven members stepped forward to offer their time for six to ten different tasks. Four members fulfilled more than ten roles during 2015.
The work these dedicated volunteers accomplish, in addition to being writers, is nothing short of amazing! Together, we achieve as much as a crew of paid employees do in the business sector. We undertake great things and make them happen, allowing RMFW to devote its funding almost entirely to educating writers, improving our craft, networking, and sharing knowledge.
If you’re interested in joining the RMFW volunteer corps, please visit the volunteer page on www.rmfw.org. We’ll then send you a volunteer application to get a sense of your interests, skills, and desired level of activity then match you up with the best roles for you.