Tuesday, 8 April 2014



Please do comment and let me know what I have missed on the lists in this post. I'd be very interested to get other takes on the area.

It's a great way to improve your CV and sometimes leads to a job offer. So lots of people are doing it. It's no longer the domain of blue rinse ladies who've retired.

I volunteer because I have a lucky life and am able to. I can get involved in a completely different role from my day job, maybe one I might have chosen if I'd been more knowledgeable at 16.

Volunteers nowadays could be anyone, students partway through degrees looking to improve their language skills, unemployed professionals who really don't want to watch Jeremy Kyle, community service people, life skills students and still the older ladies.
In amongst that mix is a high level of intelligence on occasion.
So why is it that volunteering doesn't seem to be respected?
I've volunteered and turned up on my given day having paid my car park fees to be told I wasn't needed that day.
Someone else I know was issued with a name badge only to have it taken away and then replaced with a badge reading 'volunteer' presumably at some stage this would save them around 50p.
Neither of these examples are things that you would expect to happen to you as a paid employee.
I'd like to see volunteers treated as employees whose pay is £0.
IE given the same respect as paid employees.

After all:
A volunteer 
Is there  (usually) because that's the organisation they've decided to donate their skills to and they have an emotional connection
They work because it's a choice
Their mortgage payment at the end of the month is not dependent on it
If they go off sick it makes no difference financially
Often they have high level skills
They save an organisation money purely by being there

An employee
Can take time off and still get paid
Has no emotional connection
They are there (often) for the mortgage money
If a higher paid job was on offer they would move
It takes a lot to remove an employee from post so they needn't be hugely productive

If a volunteer was treated as an equal member of a team the value of the whole team would increase.

Nb the examples used are from a shop and a homelessness charity. In the first case the salary saved was around £40 a week and in the second case £80 a week (1 day worked in each case)
First case volunteer qualified accountancy technician with web and pr skills. Second case IT ubernerd.

I can't imagine that Medicins sans Frontiers volunteers have the same issues. I hope not.

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