Friday, January 28, 2011

Animal activism in Singapore: difficulties of the volunteer webmaster

E-MAIL FROM A NEW VOLUNTEER WEBMASTER DATED JAN 22, 2011

He explained to me that they have had bad volunteers who bad mouth them
and they are wary of accepting new volunteers. To ignore or turn off
potential volunteers is not helping them or the animals. If you treat
your volunteers like they are all bad people waiting to do something bad
to you, then who would want to work for free for you?


E-MAIL TO A NEW VOLUNTEER WEBMASTER DATED JAN 22, 2011


On 28/01/2011 03:29, Kong Yuen Sing wrote:
> You have done a good job and provided free service. That is good. The
> webmaster may be too old to learn new tricks or has no time. Well done.
> Volunteers come in different forms. Some are very dedicated but others
> quit after some time as no money is received. Pl be patient.

E-MAIL TO DR SING DATED JAN 29, 2011
Hi Dr Sing,
>
> I only moved it to .... and imported
> the content over from
> Blogger. Then I organised the content, added some contact/adoption forms
> and left it to them to do whatever they want with it.
>
> I was planning to do more for the web site but I asked the webmaster if
> he is willing to use the new features I had planned for him.
> Unfortunately, he said he is unwilling to learn to use them and post
> better written content and photos.
>
> I told the webmaster they need to take better photos and organise the
> content in a certain way like how I have done it for them. Initially,
> there was some resistance but in the end, it seems like they have taken
> up the suggestions. The older photos were terrible.
>
> So I told him if that is the case, I won't invest my time to create
> better features for his web site if he is not planning to use them.
>
> I think I will not do anything more to help them for now because they do
> not seem co-operative or appreciative.

E-MAIL REPLY FROM DR SING DATED JAN 29, 2011

Thanks for feedback. Voluntary work is never free from criticism by armchair critics and that makes the volunteer sensitive to outsiders. I think this group does not want much widespread publicity as the whole of Singapore's animal welfare activists will dump all stray cats and dogs at its doors (but not the donations). This does happen in real life when I speak to two such groups.


Animal activism is highly stressful for the volunteer webmaster who is usually dedicated to help find homes for the home-less dogs and cats using his IT skills which may be outdated as IT keeps changing and he probably is holding a full-time job.

My new volunteer webmaster friend wants to change the whole format and system. There is simply no time for the incumbent webmaster to do what he wants(as physically, time is limited for all volunteers since they have got to earn a living). The young is idealisitic. The incumbent old webmaster is pressed for time and money. The two sides will never meet.


In Singapore, the voluntary organisation for the homeless dogs and cats are always short of money as the numbers of strays grow in number. Volunteers are a big headache because of their demands for attention and time. Bad-mouthing critics, prowling tabloid journalists - this whole area needs a Human Resource Department to handle but small animal activist groups with little funding cannot provide this service.

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