What is it? The dictionary: “freely offer to do something”. This is indeed a gift for society. We need to maintain it as such and be on the alert for a system that is creeping in whereby volunteers are paid a salary or commission. Let’s keep the gift of volunteering as its always been, a free service for the benefit of the community.
If volunteers are paid let’s not call them volunteers because de facto they are something different. Maybe we need to be creative in finding a new term or that we simply call them “staff” not volunteers!
Those of us who work in the charity sector are keenly aware of the need for transparency as we develop a sector worthy of the trust of a generous public. Let’s begin here in calling a spade a spade and not allow something that for many years has been the back-bone of the charity sector be distorted! Those hours of energy freely spent in direct service to clients or in fundraising activities are worthy of the title VOLUNTEER.