Post | August 2019 | 2 min read

Should you get paid to volunteer? Why paid volunteering raises questions

Written by Luiza Braga
meisje werkt met bloemen

We get this a lot: people asking what they will get in return for volunteering, specially if it’s a task that requires skills. Many people are looking for ways to make easy cash out of it, but here’s the trick: even paid volunteering isn’t just about the money. We define paid volunteering as work that involves being rewarded for, whether it’s actual pay, benefits or free stuff.

Here are some of the reasons why volunteers may feel like they should be paid:

1. "Applying to a volunteering position feels like applying to a job”

If you feel like the bureaucratic journey of job applications is a tiring one, we're right there with you. And because volunteering is something done out of free will, it simply should't feel that way.

On the other hand, volunteers should also be mindful of the organizations they aim to support. Many of them have to operate slowly due to a dependency on other factors such as outside resources or decision makers.

2. "Volunteering takes up too much time”

Not entirely true. That's what one-offs are there for!

3. "I should be rewarded for my skill”

If you dedicate some time to an activity that involves donating your skills, it's fair to expect compensation for it. However, when it comes to volunteering, the reward for skilled work can come in a different way. Professional experience and a resume boost are two big take aways from skilled volunteering!

And now, the counter argument to paid volunteering:

"Kindness is priceless"

'Is it really volunteering if it's paid?' Well, it can be. But some will argue that an act of kindness should be done without expecting anything in return.

"The value in volunteering isn’t monetary, but personal"

Additionally to personal fulfillment, volunteering also has health and professional benefits.

"Volunteering is about giving back, not receiving"

Those who see volunteering as a charitable act will argue that it's all about giving, not taking (but believe us when we say that the benefits to volunteers are equally important! ♥)

The fact is, paid volunteering exists. Think of:

  • Festivals
  • Volunteering Abroad
  • Job Boards
  • Voluntary work that turns into paid work

Paid volunteering raises a lot of questions. It's up to you to decide if that's your way to go about doing good!

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