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An Old Chestnut in Volunteer Management Rears Its Head: Corporate Social Responsibility and Paid Volunteers

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This past August 2018, Starbucks, the coffee giant, and the non-profit organization Points of Light launched a six-month pilot program that allows Starbucks employees to get their full pay check while volunteering at selected non-profits for half the work week. Before long, the Internet and Volunteer Program Manager list serves were buzzing about a topic that routinely rears its head in volunteer management circles. Namely, do Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs create positive, beneficial experiences for volunteers, or is paying someone to volunteer simply absurd?

In this Voices, author Allyson Drinnon hears from people on both sides of this debate, ranging from a volunteer program manager to a corporate representative familiar with the concept. That Starbucks’ Salted Caramel Mocha Frappucinno® may never taste the same again.