Animal Welfare Professionals

 View Only
  • 1.  Unethical Behavior in Nonprofit

    This message was posted by a user wishing to remain anonymous
    Posted 22 days ago
    This message was posted by a user wishing to remain anonymous

    I was volunteering in a non-profit as a person with lived experience of homelessness. Two Bipoc volunteers and their white ally accused me of "racism" and "microaggressions."  Needless to say, I was confused and hurt by the allegations. If I said anything wrong, it was not intentional. I have asked for clarification and no one has ever explained what it is I did that they found so offensive. Instead, one volunteer told me "I deserve no grace", "you white ladies are all the same", and "I should sit and think about what I did." The founder of the organization removed me from their virtual conference, their planning committee, and I was pressured to talk to board members and submit to mediation. All the while refusing to explain what I that they were so upset about. This organization prides itself on being transparent and inclusive. I'm devastated and this has impacted my mental health negatively.  I found out after the fact that one of my accusers has been problematic with other volunteers. In fact, this person was asked to Chair the Racial Justice Working Group and she refused. Her reason? She feels the Chair should be "unambiguously black." I know these are hard discussions, but I'm wondering if anyone else has had a similar situation and how did you handle it?


  • 2.  RE: Unethical Behavior in Nonprofit

    Posted 21 days ago

    Hi Anon,

    It sounds frustrating that you can't get clarity on the issue. You mentioned the opportunity to attend mediation. I think that sounds like a good place to have a conversation where you can get answers and work toward a resolution. My understanding is that mediation would include a neutral third party, who should help bridge the gap, answer your questions, and bring some healing, which it sounds like you want. I would sign up for the mediation!

    I think a great temptation in this situation is to be defensive; it's a natural reaction! But being mindful of that instinct, you can let the walls down and enter these conversations with openness and quietude. In this situation, I think that the best thing you can do is continue to serve with grace and compassion, and take the role of the active listener for a while. You already acknowledged that these are hard discussions; people might be bringing all sorts of different perspectives, experiences, and past trauma to the conversations in ways that are invisible to you. I encourage you to adopt a spirit of curiosity, love, and selflessness as you seek to understand what others experienced as a result of something you did, and what change would be good and just. I really hope it works out for you, the other volunteers, and your organization! Thank you for volunteering.

    James Pawlowicz
    Humane Rescue Alliance

  • 3.  RE: Unethical Behavior in Nonprofit

    Posted 21 days ago

    WOW! I would be too!...Please let me REMIND you: the pets don't care what color you are, they only see in black & white anyway without judgement/opinion/ wealth? Please stick with it or get with a  different rescue to work with...sounds like "judgements & politics" are getting in your way! The animals don't care about gossip, go where your work is appreciated! I welcome ALL volunteers, regardless, some of them have disabilities as well...As President, I do NOT turn down any volunteers & I make it my business to meet each and every one of them, NO MATTER WHAT! Thank you for being a GREAT VOLUNTEER, we need you!

    Mary Murray, LadywiththeHuskies, PROOF4PETS &

    [Mary Murray]
    [Founder, CEO and President
    [Greene Animal League
    [Greeneville, TN