When Should We NOT Involve Volunteers?
As advocates for volunteers, we are generally in the position of convincing administrators and frontline paid staff to be more creative in designing work for volunteers – to involve them more. Yet there are times when an organization might consider assigning volunteers to a role or task, but ultimately decide not to do so. When would a “no” decision be best? What criteria should be applied or what circumstances should be considered, and why? Further:
- Of the criteria you use in deciding not to develop a volunteer assignment, which are situational/temporary (that might be resolved and then you would assign a volunteer) and which do you consider basically non-negotiable?
- What reasons for not involving volunteers appear reasonable and practical on the surface, but actually speak to fundamental beliefs/assumptions about the relationship between paid work and volunteering? How can we challenge these?
- What would you consider a warning sign to say “no” to volunteer involvement?
There are no clear-cut answers to this important topic rarely presented to the field. But this Keyboard Roundtable provides a unique discussion among colleagues from Australia, the UK, Canada, Lebanon, and the US.