Monday, May 3, 2010

Ban Volunteering!

Can you imagine banning volunteering? No…of course not you say! Can you imagine a government saying where you can and can’t volunteer? Can you imagine that?

Take for example a privately owned nursing home or hospital. Because it doesn’t fall in the not for profit sector there are those who argue that they can’t have volunteers!

Their argument is that volunteers are free labor in such settings etc. Hogwash! I’ve experienced NFP agencies where the use of volunteers can be questioned as suss or “staff replacement!” And in such settings I’ve seen calls for volunteers during industrial action. When volunteers are utilized to fill in for staff during industrial disputes I protest! And I protest loudly. But never, never would I say to legislate against people volunteering. Even in this example!

It’s called VOLUNTEERING for a reason! Banning certain volunteering is like banning certain speech because you don’t like it! Which I realise occurs in some countries. Freedom of speech and freedom of association are paramount to any democratic society.

For the sake of full disclosure I work at a private hospital. I believe I would have the same beliefs if I did not.

Because I have a greater interest in volunteering.

I have often stated that volunteering in private settings is fine once certain standards are met i.e. that it is not cost cutting, reducing labor hours etc.

Nevertheless If I want to volunteer some time working for any organisation I choose to give that time to – I feel that is my right.
Some will argue – No DJ! You do not have that right.


Legislate to ban certain volunteering and hello Nanny state!

Compulsive volunteering was always an oxymoron. People telling us where and why we should volunteer is scarier!


  1. Not fair DJ - even if I can hear the lilt of Irish cynicism in your comments.

    You will know about the universal moral principles of 'love thy neighbour' and 'do unto others...'. You will know about the origins of charity societies and all the NGOs that people our world these days. What I really want to hear is something a bit more positive, as in

    You've got to accentuate the positive
    Eliminate the negative
    Latch on to the affirmative
    Don't mess with Mister In-Between

    I don't think you are too young to know this old Bing Crosby song. And don't you dare dismiss me as a woolly-minded bleeding-heart liberal.

    So by heck, please give me a lift, tell me what is good and worthwhile about managing volunteers and why I should be still pushing this barrow. Be assured you will hear from me if I do not find your answer satisfactory.

  2. oh Shindig! I would never dismiss you as a woolly-minded bleeding-heart liberal! But I am too young to remember the Bing Crosby song. I do know he did a beautiful rendetion of Danny Boy though.

    And I take you point. Some more postive tales should be sprinkled in amongst the other stories.

    "You will know about the origins of charity societies and all the NGOs that people our world these days." - Well I do and I have worked or volunteered for many of them.

    But I guess I created this blg to create a myriad of views. To get people thinking. Engaged. Laughing and disagreeing! All, I hope in a respectful way.

    Managing volunteers is the best job I have ever had. I am forever counting my lucky stars that I found this career. I have met the most amazing inspiring and beautiful and dynamic people. I have seen peoples lives change because of volunteering. To be a manager or coordiantor or leader in such a sector can be life affirming, can be life changing and by heck I hope you continue to push that barrow! :-)

  3. Thank you DJ. I am much comforted.


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