This paper describes two action research projects in co-located voluntary organizations, where both projects could be characterized as process failures. Our main focus is on the mechanisms of appropriation. The analytic framework as well as the basis for the action research projects, have been informed by activity theory. In particular we describe how ICT-based systems enforce structural discipline, how designers may misconceive the design task when designing for voluntary organisations, how the tension between use value and exchange value influences the use and thus appropriation of ICT in voluntary organisations, and finally what the possible impact of a lacking common conceptual basis may be. It is concluded that voluntary organisations exhibit unique features that should be taken into account in the design of ICT based support.