Initiatives opposed to some or all
volunteering (unpaid work),
online & print articles about or addressing controversies
regarding volunteers replacing paid staff
This is a list of organizations and initiatives opposed to
some kinds of volunteering (unpaid work), or ALL kinds of volunteering,
including unpaid internships at nonprofit organizations / charities. It is
also a list of online and print articles about or addressing controversies
regarding volunteers replacing paid staff. Most of the links are to
initiatives or actions in Europe or the USA.
This list has been compiled to help researchers regarding volunteerism, as
well as for policy makers and volunteerism advocates who want to avoid
these kinds of controversies at nonprofit organizations and government
agencies. This list is also compiled to refute those who believe that
there are no such controversies (believe it or not, those people DO
If a URL no longer works, please cut and paste it into archive.org
- it might be retrievable there. If you can't find it there, please don't
write me - I won't be able to find it for you.
Additions are welcomed!
Fair Pay Campaign
On Twitter: @FairPayCampaign
"No-one should have their dreams denied because they can't afford to work
for free. Join the fight to end unpaid internships."
Hague Interns Association
On Twitter: @HagueInterns
HIA is an association of interns working at UN-related and international
organizations in The Hague, Netherlands.
"We work to improve intern welfare and promote intern rights."
On Twitter: @UnpaidIsUnfair
- "Unpaid internships are unfair. The United Nations should be no
exception. Please sign our petition and tell the UN that young people
Twitter: @InternLabor -
Intern Labor Rights. "In this era of historic inequality, class divide,
soaring student debt and persistent unemployment we call for an end to
unpaid internships: Pay your interns!"
On Twitter: @InternJustice
- "Protecting the rights and wages of interns. M. Pianko, Esq, Director
and Lead Counsel” NYC & Nationwide (U.S.A.)" So, I'm guessing this
lawyer is offering to represent people who have done unpaid internships
and want to sue for back wages.
Intern Aware. On Twitter: @internaware
"We campaign for fair internships. We want to see the minimum wage
enforced and recruitment based on talent."
Intern Labor Rights. On
"In this era of historic inequality, class divide, soaring student debt
and persistent unemployment we call for an end to unpaid internships: Pay
Interns ≠ Free
Labor On Twitter: @EricGlatt
"Fighting wage theft guised as unpaid internships. Law student &
Public Interest Fellow at Georgetown" facebook.com/pages/InternsL
Illegal Interns. On Twitter: @illegalinterns
"Unpaid Internships are Illegal. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised."
- USA examples (multiple article links in these blogs, which
also provide my view of unpaid internships)
In 1997, a Presidential summit on volunteerism, the President's Summit
for America's Future, was held in Philadelphia. This three-day
presidential summit was aimed at boosting volunteerism and community
service efforts across the USA. President Bill Clinton, Vice President
Al Gore, former Presidents George Bush, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter
and retired Gen. Colin Powell all participated. The original web site,
archived at archive.org,
was www.americaspromise.org. The summit resulted in a lot of
press coverage, the launch of at least one nonprofit, and a huge boost
for the Corporation for National Service, particularly AmeriCorps. But
the summit also resulted in some anti-volunteerism campaigns, from
from the left and the right of the political spectrum. Here are some
archived anti-volunteerism articles from that time:
National People's Campaign NPC's position on why Clinton's
Volunteer Summit is anti-labor: "The problem arises when
volunteers acting out of the goodness of their hearts are used to
replace skilled and unskilled workers, driving even more workers
and their families into poverty and insecurity. Last year,
Congress and Clinton forced through numerous human services
funding cuts against our communities. This year, they extol
charity?! Weren't unions first organized on the conviction that
workers shouldn't have to rely on charity to survive?"
position on Clinton's April 27 Summit vs his Welfare Cuts:
"Outside this much ballyhooed Presidents' Summit on America's
Future thousands of other people, mostly young and many who are
volunteers, will be demonstrating. They call the Summit a sham and
a "cruel hoax." Their message to these political leaders will be:
move now to overturn the disastrous welfare legislation passed in
1996. This law, as President Clinton knows, will have a profoundly
destructive impact on millions of children. It is utter hypocrisy
to promote the idea that private charity and the benevolent
activity of corporate CEO's can take the place of the rights that
poor families won sixty years ago. In fact, service providers and
charity groups that feed hungry people and house the homeless
report that they are already overstretched beyond capacity."
Young People Really Need: Not Volunteerism but Happiness and
Heroes" "the best American students and immigrants, even
more so, desire one thing: freedom to pursue their own happiness.
They are not excited by the prospect of selfless service at a
homeless shelter; they are motivated by budding careers in such
areas as business, law, medicine and computer science."
voluntarios de ambulancias, en riesgo (Ambulance volunteers at
5 May 2013,
June 19, 2013
A Civil Defence in a town near Madrid laments pressure by a private
ambulance companies lead the state to eliminate volunteer involvement.
Volunteer activities in the framework
of an associative movement should not replace staff who would
normally undertake the administrative activities of the
organization in question, and associations are to avoid the
recruitment of such personnel that would affect the payment of
Volunteers should not undertake
functions performed by a former employee of an agency, even if it
is a non-profit and even if the functions performed are not paid
Never considered volunteers positions
held in for-profit organizations
volunteers: a cop out for paying staff?
"Nurses in the Philippines are angry. They are being forced to work for
free, or for a stipend on which they cannot live, while the hospitals
where they are working call them “volunteers.” Some hospitals are even
charging nurses for their “volunteer” work experience. Thousands of
graduate nurses are paying hospitals and working for months without
salaries under the guise of “training,” so the nurses can gain work
experience and have an improved chance of being employed as a regular
Short-term Assignments for Tech
There are a variety of ways for mission-based organizations to involve
volunteers to help with short-term projects relating to
computers and the Internet, and short-term assignments are what are
sought after most by potential "tech" volunteers. But there is a
disconnect: most organizations have trouble identifying such
short-term projects. This is a list of short-term projects for "tech"
volunteers -- assignments that might takes days, weeks or just a
couple of months to complete.
One(-ish) Day "Tech" Activities for
Volunteers are getting together for intense, one-day events, or events
of just a few days, to build web pages, to write code, to edit
Wikipedia pages, and more. These are gatherings of onsite volunteers,
where everyone is in one location, together, to do an online-related
project in one day, or a few days. It's a form of episodic
volunteering, because volunteers don't have to make an ongoing
commitment - they can come to the event, contribute their services,
and then leave and never volunteer again. Because computers are
involved, these events are sometimes called hackathons, even if coding
isn't involved. This page provides advice on how to put together a
one-day event, or just-a-few-days-of activity, for a group of tech
volunteers onsite, working together, for a nonprofit, non-governmental
organization (NGO), community-focused government program, school or
other mission-based organization - or association of such.
Finding a Computer/Network
Staff at mission-based organizations (nonprofits, civil society
organizations, and public sector agencies) often have to rely on
consultants, either paid or volunteer, for expertise in computer
hardware, software and networks. Staff may feel unable to understand,
question nor challenge whatever that consultant recommends. What can
mission-based organizations do to recruit the "right" consultant for
"tech" related issues, one that will not make them feel
out-of-the-loop or out-of-control when it comes to tech-related
Myths About Online Volunteering (Virtual
Online volunteering means unpaid service that is given by volunteers
via the Internet. It's also known as virtual volunteering, online
mentoring, ementoring, evolunteering, cyber volunteering, cyber
service, telementoring, online engagement, and on and on. Here is a
list of common myths about online volunteering, and my attempt to
Studies and Research Regarding Online
Volunteering / Virtual Volunteering
While there is a plethora of articles and information about online
volunteering, there has been very little research published regarding
the subject. This is a compilation of publicly-available research
regarding online volunteering, and a list of suggested possible angles
for researching online volunteering. New contributions to this page
are welcomed, including regarding online mentoring programs.
Creating One-Time, Short-Term Group
Details on not just what groups of volunteers can do in a two-hour,
half-day or all-day event, but also just how much an organization or
program will need to do to prepare a site for group volunteering. It's
an expensive, time-consuming endeavor - are you ready? Is it worth it?
Volunteers To Increase Diversity Among the Ranks
Having plenty of volunteers usually isn't enough to say a volunteering
program is successful. Another indicator of success is if your
volunteers represent a variety of ages, education-levels, economic
levels and other demographics, or are a reflection of your local
community. Most organizations don't want volunteers to be a
homogeneous group; they want to reach a variety of people as
volunteers (and donors and other supporters, for that matter). This
resource will help you think about how to recruit for diversity, or to
reach a specific demographic.
Using Video to Support Online
Video is a great way to further support volunteers, and your computer
probably already has all of the tools you need to make a video, or to
engage in a live video conversation with others. Video isn't something
to use only with online volunteers or remote volunteers (those
providing onsite service at a different location than yours). It's
also a tool you can use with new and current volunteers. In addition
to an organization producing videos for volunteers, it can also work
the other way around: volunteers can produce videos for organizations.
This resource provides information on your options, and links to my
own short video on the subject.
Using Real-Time Communications
A growing number of organizations are using real-time communications
-- including video conferencing, online phone calls, chats and instant
messaging -- to hold online meetings with volunteers, to allow
volunteers to interact with staff, clients, or each other, or to
involve volunteers in a live, online, real-time event. This resource
provides more information on real-time communications with volunteers
-- what the various tools are, how agencies are using them to interact
with volunteers, and tips to encourage and maintain participation in
Recognizing Online Volunteers &
Using the Internet to Honor ALL Volunteers
Recognition helps volunteers stay committed to your organization, and
gets the attention of potential volunteers -- and donors -- as well.
Organizations need to fully recognize the efforts of remote, online
volunteers, as well as those onsite, and not differentiate the value
of these two forms of service. Organizations should also incorporate
use of the Internet to recognize the efforts of ALL volunteers, both
online and onsite. With cyberspace, it's never been easier to show
volunteers -- and the world -- that volunteers are a key part of your
organization's successes. This new resource provides a long list of
suggestions for both honoring online volunteers and using the Internet
to recognize ALL volunteers that contribute to your organization.