The Good Humored Greening of Communications

MailYesterday I was (happily) a bystander in one of those interactions that are so prevalent in smallish volunteer organizations coping with the new media. Out of the blue, my church’s Green Team (our environmental conscience) got an email from someone no one had heard of before, telling them they should “champion, promote and implement the conversion of our tree eating, postage wasting newsletter to an internet version.” Yikes.

Astonishingly, our very kind and patient Green Team co-chair bristled and let the person have it. She noted that they were just a small group of volunteers who didn’t have a magic want. Then other church leaders weighed in, pointing out, for example, that online actually is the primary mode of distributing the newsletter.

Eventually the thread made it to the Communication Committee (AKA Comm Comm). It’s where newsletter responsibility actually lies. Comm Comm is a sizable group, full of older, less-than-reticent members, and at that point, there was much hilarity. Thank heavens. It was absolutely the right response. We’ve been down the online-vs.-print road goodness knows how many times in the last few years. If I could have an ounce of chocolate for every hour Comm Comm has spent talking about and working on this issue, I’d be a very fat diva.

Yet still there is so much to see and learn from this kind of interaction. The take-aways for me right now are:

  • Humans yearn for the simple. Alas, the shift into new media is anything but simple.
  • Volunteers are fragile. They are at risk for lack of appreciation, and having a healthy, vibrant community to disperse such issues into is a wonderful antidote.
  • Good humor can save the day when dealing with complex issues mixed with tender feelings.

What do you take away?

6 Responses

  1. Sometimes, it really seems like the most criticism comes from someone no one has heard of, or someone who rarely attends church, doesn’t it?

    Pleased to hear that the committee put it into the proper context. I’ve been to more than a couple of meetings were the desire to make everyone feel their opinion is valued somehow led into useless conversations about ”Yes, yes, if we can simply relax the law of gravity then we can float one newsletter around, from house to house around the city, and save all that money on paper!”

    Don’t even get me started on the person who complained that our newsletter went out via yahoogroups and it required her to accept cookies, which was a huge moral principle.

  2. Will we never learn?

    We used to think that oil would last forever, but now we know better.

    We used to think that trees would last forever, and didn’t do much environmental good anyway, but now we know better.

    So why, oh why, in all of this discussion about electronic media distribution, do we so blithely and blindly assume that our electron reserves will last forever?

    We’ve been here before. The next thing you know, we’ll be importing over 80% of our electrons from Canada, and then we’ll have to invade the darn place.

    Human folly continues.

  3. So good to hear from all y’all!

    Lizard Eater — you’re among those who gave me the blogging bug. Thanks so much for jumping on to this new one of mine.

    And Charlie — funny you should mention that about electrons. My brain was going in the very same direction, though I can’t say I’d considered Canada.

  4. I wish we had a Comm Comm. But we are such a small organization and I bristle anytime anyone who is NOT volunteering to do anything makes suggestions about how others OUGHT to be doing things. Blah!

    WELCOME BACK! I’ve missed your blog and insight.

  5. Thanks, uuMomma! It’s great to be blogging again. How I missed it. And you are right on target about the righteous non-involved.