How to alienate your supporters?

Today, I got yet another notice of a “mandatory” parent meeting, a few days from now.   It’s not the first, but the first from this particular organization.  It’s not work-related, and not an organization of which I am a member… but like the others, a group of which my children are members.

Note to the folks who orchestrate these things: the likelihood of my participation drops to near zero if you call a mandatory meeting without first asking whether I’m available, and providing information about the subject matter.  Unfortunately, I’ve already been to far too many of these (all associated with my children’s activities, not my own) where, after I’ve cancelled something far more important, I learn that the subject of the mandatory parent meeting is simply to provide information that could have been sent in an e-mail.  Yes, the very same e-mail sent to demand my presence.

It’s odd, but I’ve never had a notice that a parent-teacher conference was mandatory, although I would readily consider it such.  For that matter, no teacher has ever assigned me a time to show up without first asking when I’m available.  I’ve had children in school for 17 years now, and I’ve never missed a single one.

In three out of four of the groups I’ve gotten mandatory-meeting demands from lately, the topic was the need for volunteers.  Okay, that could have been handled by e-mail, or a note sent home with my child.    Furthermore, I’m far more likely to volunteer if you don’t first waste an hour or two of my time to make me show up somewhere, just to tell me that you need someone to bring cookies to practice or write an article for the newspaper.

Grouchy?  You bet.   I know that everyone’s mother or grandmother taught them the bit about catching more with honey than vinegar (or some variation on that theme), but it seems that all the extracurricular things my kids are involved in have gotten caught up in this business of “mandatory” meetings.

I suspect that participation will further dwindle as demands escalate.   Mine does.

One Response to “How to alienate your supporters?”

  1. on 16 Jan 2010 at 9:36 pm Mike

    I totally agree.

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