By Susan Lesh
As has been noted around the country, our available volunteer time has been shrinking. We are committed to many groups and activities. We have jobs, sometimes several jobs. We have family obligations. We have to exercise! At Bergen Ethical, we also have tasks that require a certain skill level; the difficulty is matching the volunteer to the skill. For example, many of us are not skilled in house maintenance tasks; yet the building MUST be maintained. We have leaned on the expert and devoted members like Jim Norman and Bob Gordon, but few people with those skills are lining up behind them.
During our Fall 2019 Membership Meeting, Joe talked about the need to hire someone to perform some of the duties of our Building Committee. As homeowners know, buildings don’t remain standing without help. And, as Building Chair Jim Norman noted, our building gets a lot of use and so needs a lot of help. We have hired a new cleaning service, UChoice Maintenance; they have a maintenance crew so any problems can be addressed quickly. We have also hired a handyman, Joe Trobunella, to take care of some of the longstanding building needs, such as small carpentry or painting tasks.
The office has also needed to hire a consultant to help with the bookkeeping as we have moved to an online system. This is beneficial because it allows multiple people access without having to come into the office. It has been a long transition, however, because new technology skills need to be learned. No longer can we just balance the checkbook by writing in the ledgers. Eventually, this system will provide us with more information at our fingertips, but we need help to get there.
We have long had a paid director of the Sunday School; the teachers and teaching assistants are also paid a stipend. Linda Bennett, our administrative director, and Theresa Forsman, in Communications, are paid positions. Professionalizing these positions has helped our efforts in educating our children, coordinating our volunteers and committees, and getting our news out in FOCUS and social media. Hiring UChoice Maintenance and the bookkeeping consultant will help our volunteers reduce burnout and maintain their activity level in the Society.
Susan Lesh is president of the Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County.