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Looking for resources on the word "volunteer" vs. team member, unpaid coworker, etc.

  • May 22, 2019 1:27 PM
    Message # 7356994


    Developing a staff training to help colleagues better supervise volunteers in their programs, and one of the points I hoped to make was that we need to view volunteers as unpaid coworkers or teammates, to better integrate them into our team, culture, etc. The old point that volunteer defines a pay scale, not a job.

    My boss edited out this part of my presentation with the argument that she wants our coworkers to treat volunteers as guests, VIPs - "they're gold, they shouldn't just be treated as coworkers!" I appreciate her point and opinion - love having a boss that wants our volunteers to be treated well, of course - but it sparked a conversation about the language we use (and the language I want our org to shift into using), and she asked if I could share some articles, trainings, etc. that have led me to this view so she can be better informed. (Seriously love my boss.)

    While I know I've read articles and attended trainings on this topic many times over the years, I don't keep old PowerPoint handouts from trainings often, and don't want to spend a half day digging around the Energize site for articles. (Though I did pull out this one, "that pesky word volunteer").

    If anyone happens to have anything handy or bookmarked and can share, I'd appreciate an arsenal of literature about the language of volunteering!


  • May 23, 2019 9:28 AM
    Reply # 7369805 on 7356994

    Hi Emily! Your boss sounds awesome in the way that they're coming at this from a curiosity standpoint. I agree with you in how you want volunteers to be viewed and treated. We ride that line at the library, too; volunteers are unpaid staff and also patrons, so they're in the center of the venn diagram between those two worlds. 

    One of the things that comes up for me with this challenge is how volunteers are integrated (or not) into the in-group of staff. Here are a couple of resources I've bookmarked over the years that may be helpful for making your case...

    I'll let you know if I find other things that might be useful! 

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