Posted by: greatfoundation | January 11, 2010

NGOs are not dating networks

Most of the time a lot of people hoard the misconception that NGOs are a place where you can find a partner to date…I have come across a lot of people who have expressed this as a thought….Recently I met someone in a conference and was chatting casually about the work we do at the NGO…To this the person responded…”Yes obviously an NGO is a place to meet new people, find a boyfriend or girlfriend, etc….”
I said “I do believe that a lot of people hoard the misconception that you are actually harboring a ground for romances and flings at an NGO.” But my two – three year experience has shown that there are three lots of people who join the NGO

1. Who are genuinely looking at working as a volunteer and contributing to the society?
2. Who are looking at creating a social network?
3. Who are looking at dating or making new friends?

The first lot are really dedicated and take extra efforts to ensure that the children they serve are growing and benefitting by their presence…One is awed by the dedication that they show…One such dedicated volunteers was stationed at Mumbai and used to travel to Pune every weekend and take the session at the school (every Saturday)…Such dedication towards society serves as an example for all…

However, there is the second lot who join the NGO looking at the volunteer profiles…A number of times people have joined based on the people working as volunteers at the NGO. For example, one potential volunteer had seen the page of the “volunteer speak” and then said I would like to join…After a period we realized that the volunteer was only approaching the existing volunteers and asking them for new job openings…This kind of behavior was not acceptable to all the co-volunteers and they complained about such interrogation…We warned the person to control such behavior.

The third lot is the most hilarious of the all, cause they believe that an NGO is where you could fix potential dates….A few incidents that have taken place strengthen this belief even more….that a lot of people treat NGOs as dating networks….A few funny incidents are narrated as follows:

It is usually our practice to take the new volunteer to the school to show him/her the class, division, school and introduce him/her to the children and school authorities…One very funny person I came across had asked to join as a volunteer and so I took this person to meet the children…After the person had met the children and the school authorities. This person says to me “I thought you are a forty or fifty year old woman who helps in the NGO…this statement didn’t put me on guard as a lot of people who I meet believe that I am pretty old…However the next statement threw me off balance…”You are a young thing and quite interesting indeed…you are into so many activities…I would like to know you better personally….” this I responded….”We run an NGO not a dating service….please keep things on a professional level and these kind of remarks will not be appreciated”…With this the person settled down…

Another incident took place when I had made a presentation about the NGO in a one off conference…A person approached me and said I would love to join your NGO…could we meet and talk about this…I want to do loads of things….this and that…etc…I was impressed at first by the enthusiasm that the person possessed but later found that the person was really “chipku”…rather not interested in working….but just flirting and knowing me more….he he…flattering…

The last incident was when a volunteer told me that someone had joined the volunteer initiative cause this volunteer was working…As initially I had no idea about the situation I had placed both the new volunteers in the same class. But when I was apprised of the facts I immediately swapped their classes. Thus thank god I saved a situation and continued with the volunteer initiative…

These are a few reasons why volunteers join an NGO…but believe me NGOs are not dating grounds/networks. A lot of co-volunteers do not like being stalked or troubled with flimsy behaviour….So friends let us make NGOs a place to bring a social change not into dating networks…lets keep dating separate from social work… 🙂



  1. Very good post!

    I’d also found that when I went to make presentations to some corporates some of the younger executives were interested in trying to find out more about me and flirting… sometimes you have to be strict about it.

    • Thank you Andrea, yes we learn to be strict with such people….

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