The Great Big Volunteer Rip Off
What is a volunteer?
I have always thought that I knew what a volunteer was but thought it better if I checked and so I went through a dozen different Dictionary definitions. They all said more or less the same thing. I quote a few below:
"A person who performs or offers to perform a service voluntarily: an information booth staffed by volunteers; hospital volunteers."
" A person who renders aid, performs a service, or assumes an obligation voluntarily"
"A person who voluntarily undertakes or expresses a willingness to undertake a service"
"A person who performs voluntary work"
"A person who chooses freely to do or offer to do something"
"A person who chooses freely to enter into any transaction with no promise of compensation"
"One who enters into, or offers for, any service of his own free will."
"To enter into, or offer for, any service of one's own free will, without solicitation or compulsion; as, he volunteered in that undertaking."
"A person who voluntarily offers himself or herself for a service or undertaking."
'A person who performs a service willingly and without pay."
They all say the same thing!
One thing they DO NOT say is that the volunteer is expected to PAY to volunteer.
So What Do You Call Someone Who Pays?
The word 'Sucker' immediately springs to mind.
There really needs to be a new word for someone who pays to volunteer. They are NOT one and the same thing. The companies who advertise for volunteers in the glossy magazines and over the internet are actually, in my humble opinion, taking advantage of caring people.
They are also choosing to change the meaning of a word to suit their own ends.
The King Sums Up
My big gripe is with the so called Conservation/Wildlfe organisations.
Their "Volunteers" are expected to pay cost of flights, pay for food, insurance and pay for accommodation (okay sometimes accommodation is free) and then work for someone for nothing.
Again the word 'Sucker' springs to mind.
I would not care if the cash generated was put directly into genuine needed and necessary Conservation Projects....but it isn't. There are a number of people in companies/charities out there making a very good living on the backs of their 'Volunteers'.
The Saddest Part
The saddest part is that these 'volunteers' are often not needed at all. They are advertised for simply to generate cash revenue.
That is wrong! Lets be correct and use the new word.