Walking in a Leader’s Shoes

Walking in a Leader’s Shoes

This week, I attended a class on nonprofit volunteer management. I’m part of a local charity working to clean up my state’s dirty air. During the class, I sat next to the organization’s brand new, first paid employee—our Volunteer Coordinator, Erin.

At the beginning of our class, each person talked about their organization and their volunteers. I told the class about Real Diaper Association’s Real Diaper Circle Leaders. The virtual coordination of volunteers gave an interesting contrast to most of those in the class who are coordinating volunteers in person for delivery of social services. Plus, I’m really proud of the program we’ve created, so I like to tell people about it.

During lunch, Erin and I were meant to work on the website for our organization. As we looked at how different websites manage volunteers, Erin told me, “I need to talk to you about diapers when we’re done.”

Doesn’t this happen to you, too? It always comes up in conversation if the conversation goes on long enough. Someone is bound to ask “What else do you do?” and there they find cloth diapers. “Let’s talk now.” We dropped websites completely. Wouldn’t you?

Erin hasn’t used cloth diapers before, but she is completely committed to using them for her new baby. She wanted a low-cost, low-impact diaper that she could wash successfully in her top-load washer.

After we talked through some of the possibilities, I suddenly realized I was sitting in my class on nonprofit volunteers demonstrating what RDA volunteers do.

“You wanted to know what my volunteers do? This is exactly what Real Diaper Circle Leaders do. They meet face to face with parents to talk through cloth diapering possibilities.”

As the President of Real Diaper Association I don’t spend much time in face-to-face demonstrations, but I really appreciated the opportunity to walk in the shoes of our volunteers this week. Having this experience as I was considering how best to coordinate volunteers has helped me to be clear about the real needs of RDA volunteers.

Lori Taylor


Real Diaper Association

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