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Merging Customers into Employee Volunteering Efforts

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Just when you think you've seen everything in volunteerism, somebody comes along with something totally new.

And then you discover that other people are thinking about it as well.

Steve was sitting in the Washington Dulles airport over the holidays, engaging in the popular airport occupation of people watching. In front of him was a young couple en route to Vermont, laden with lots of bags of Christmas presents to take to friends and family.

It was the bags that caught his attention.

Two of them were from a familiar store - REI, or Recreational Equipment, Inc., an outdoor equipment supplier. The interesting part was the message blazoned on the side of the bags: "Volunteer with us!"


Steve and Susan highlight what might be a new trend - "customer volunteering" - and what might be the implications of this form of service, both philosophically and managerially.