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If They Know So Much About HR, Why Do Their Employees Prefer Volunteering Over Work?

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e-Volunteerism’s Steve McCurley and Susan J. Ellis recently attended the 2010 National Conference on Volunteering and Service, where they were deluged with what is becoming an increasingly common message: “Don’t despair. For-profit corporations and their business wisdom are coming to save you.” The obvious premise of the push towards such "new" concepts as pro bono volunteering is the age-old assumption that agencies are best when “operating like a business.” This comes along with the assumption that the so-called do-gooder types in nonprofits (and the incompetents in public service) obviously lack business skills, which implies that anyone from a corporation can put an agency on the right track. 

In this Points of View, both Ellis and McCurley unleash a round of post-July 4th fireworks to question why corporations have to be so “smugly sanctimonious” about sharing their expertise. These volunteering experts readily acknowledge that corporations do have some useful knowledge, and that many non-profit and government organizations could certainly improve their management practices. But, they explain, a corporation’s notion of wisdom might not match a non-profit’s notion of wisdom, especially when it comes to volunteering.