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Month: November 2016

I think we could at least begin collecting these examples

I think we could at least begin collecting these examples

I think we could at least begin collecting these examples. Also, low paid volunteer management posts.

In this recent case, it was advertised alongside a fundraising post which (from memory) was $30k+. Not very tactful.

The issue feeds into various debates about what volunteering is, where’s the divide between paid work/volunteering, potential job substitution etc. It’s an interesting one, since we would want to champion having a variety of roles on offer, and promote the capability of volunteers to undertake responsible and skilled roles.

So why precisely do roles like this provoke dissatisfaction and irritation?

I know what I think – how about others?

Leaving aside all the arguments about job substitution etc. I think this organisation is putting itself at enormous risk by expecting one volunteer to take on this role. Looking at the ‘job description’ it is a complex and skilled role with a lot of responsibility, and most of the work is ongoing. In the current climate there possibly are people who would be willing to take that on as a volunteer to keep their CV and skills up to date, but I suspect there would be an extremely high risk of losing them if a paid opportunity came up, and given the role they’re being asked to do, it looks (on the face of it) like the organization would be well and truly stuffed if they left. Volunteers, some of whom seem to be service users and may well be vulnerable, would be left without supervision, and their relationship with the ‘key London firm’ may well be put at risk.

I’m not saying this work couldn’t be done by volunteers, just that expecting one person to do it carries an enormous risk. I suspect that the role could be made a lot less risky by splitting it into a number of smaller roles, and there is definitely enough work there to create four or five roles meaty enough to still be really interesting. However it is very evident from the application form, and the fact that they have a ‘job description’ for the role, that this really is something that they are thinking of as an unpaid ‘paid’ role and not really as a volunteering opportunity. In their minds the person will be working in exactly the same way as a paid staff member, and they have not considered that for lots of reasons volunteering tends to work differently (even if you call it an internship!).

What a job for someone not getting paid. And it’s only at the bottom of the JD that it says – expenses paid.

I am sure there are rules somewhere about not paying minimum wage for jobs that this would fall foul of? This might be the worst example I’ve seen, thanks for bringing it to our attention.

Is anyone clear on the legislation around this kind of thing? I am sure as the job market is so depressed that this kind of thing (as well as profit making public service delivery by private companies increasing) will become more common.

Social media policy

Social media policy


Whilst updating guidance for managers who involve volunteers we looked at the potential issue of volunteers using social media to comment negatively about factors including their role, their organization, beneficiaries etc.

Do people feel that these are covered sufficiently by existing confidentiality/data protection policies or do people feel a separate social media policy or guidelines on social media usage would be a better way to address the issues around privacy/personal v organizational views?

social mediaIt’s not just volunteers who do this – I notice, for example, people twittering what are evidently their personal views rather than their organizational view. Not usually very negative or serious. Maybe it’s something to do with the ease and immediacy of posting, and assumptions about what one’s organizational view would be, especially on politics, for example. An issue that springs to mind is tweets about the Dorries/abortion counseling goings on from organizations that I don’t think include this area in their remit. But I digress.

Surely the issue of negative postings or publicity by staff or volunteers is covered by one’s Code of Conduct, a breach of which could trigger a disciplinary/resolving difficulties procedure. It would come under a clause about actions that bring the organization into disrepute – reputation is priceless and charities need to be seen to be squeaky clean.

And, of course, better to minimize the incidence of disaffected volunteers by good volunteer management practice, and, just in case, creating a climate in which volunteers will feel OK about expressing concerns internally first. But you know that!

First response: What are you doing with paid staff around the same area? Are you worried that they will use social media to comment negatively about factors including their role, their organization, beneficiaries etc. ?

In terms of confidentiality, its the same wherever they are talking.

Whether on or off line, letter, Facebook or Twitter what is confidential is confidential. Your confidentiality policy needs to include that.

The confidentiality policy does not cover other matters though and a Social media policy needs to cover:

  1. what they post as a volunteer or employee about Scope on Scope related social media sites
  2. what they post about Scope on their own social media sites (and you want them posting positively about their experiences. They are very powerful brand ambassadors)