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The Paid Volunteer Oxymoron

When I hear the words paid and volunteer in the same sentence I can’t help but wonder what people are thinking. If you are paying someone they are not volunteering, period, end of story.

Please stop the political correctness train now before someone gets run over!

I understand that some businesses will pay the employee their regular pay and allow them to do work for a nonprofit. Great, I don’t have a problem with a business seeing that this is one way for to give back to the community.

However, it does frustrate me when I see a bell ringer standing by a little red kettle and I know that they are not in fact volunteering their time out of the goodness of their heart but they are getting paid to ring a bell and stand by the door basically soliciting funds. If nonprofits want or need to pay people because they can’t get volunteers to do the work for free then fine. Pay them, but don’t call them volunteers! Likewise, if you get a “stipend” no matter how small then you are getting paid and are not a volunteer in my book. I think nonprofits owe it to their donors to be straight forward and honest about who is paid to do a job!

The ugly fact that few want to talk about is that in the US 70% of the population do not volunteer. Again, if you want to pay people then pay them, lets just be honest about it.

DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended to provide legal or accounting advice, or to address specific situations. Please consult with your legal or tax advisor to supplement and verify what you learn here.

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