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Engage Library

In this Part 2 conclusion of this new Ethics column, authors Katie Campbell and Erin Spink delve deeper into a key ethics tool known as the CCVA Values and Principles document. Together, Campbell and Spink unpack how these values and principles guide the ethical behaviour of…
January 2021
In this inaugural article for the new Ethics section, authors Katherine H. Campbell, former Executive Director of CCVA, and Ethics Editor Erin R. Spink present an introduction to ethics for the Volunteer Engagement profession. In the first of their two-part presentation,…
October 2020
This past August 2018, Starbucks, the coffee giant, and the non-profit organization Points of Light launched a six-month pilot program that allows Starbucks employees to get their full pay check while volunteering at selected non-profits for half the work week. Before long,…
October 2018
Definitions are important. But when it comes to volunteerism, a focus on the language we use can often result in a lot of navel gazing and little practical action. In this Points Of View, Rob Jackson looks at the ethical implications that can arise when we aren’t clear on the…
April 2018
Why do volunteers break the rules? This Research to Practice reviews an ethnographic study of an animal shelter where disruptive behavior by volunteers was a regular occurrence. This disruptive behavior was defined as “any behavior that either explicitly violated a rule or…
January 2018
Some years ago, Debbie Mason Talbot, a hospital-based manager of volunteer resources, and Ann M. Heesters, director of bioethics at the same institution, came together to discuss a series of cases that generated moral distress for their volunteers and for those who supported…
October 2017
The Daily Mail online recently published a Reuters article, “Good job or taking work? Volunteering by asylum seekers in Italy praised and panned.” It provides an interesting outline of the pros and cons of an initiative in Italy which offers migrants from sub-Saharan Africa…
October 2017
In March 2011, 10News in San Diego, California, ran a story with the following headline: “Habitat For Humanity Charging Local Volunteers: Group Forcing Local Volunteers To Pay Before Helping Build Homes.” The resulting controversy revealed both facts and opinions about “passing…
April 2011
As advocates for volunteers, we are generally in the position of convincing administrators and frontline paid staff to be more creative in designing work for volunteers – to involve them more. Yet there are times when an organization might consider assigning volunteers to a role…
April 2005
"There is an essential integrity in a relationship with a volunteer that I find worth examining." Sarah Elliston proceeds to analyze the fundamental differences between relationships with employees and relationships with volunteers: "As I examine integrity as this simplicity…
October 2002
One of the hardest things a volunteer manager may ever face is how to deal with an aging volunteer whose performance has begun to fall short of the organization’s expectations. In this special two-part series, e-Volunteerism tackles this important but often over-looked issue…
July 2010
The wall between church and state in the United States often extends to a wall of separation, ignorance or avoidance between secular and faith-based volunteering. In this deeply personal article for e-Volunteerism, author Karen Kogler encourages the dismantling of that wall. She…
April 2008
The issue of how formal our styles of volunteer management have become is not a new one.  From conference workshops to training sessions to books and articles, volunteer resource managers are being told not to make volunteering too formal an experience for people whilst in the…
April 2006
We often think of well-functioning volunteer programs as happy little families, systems in which people get along so well that they resemble the idyllic picture of family relationships portrayed in U.S. television shows from the 1950s. And while this is often true, occasionally…
July 2005
The Samaritans are a UK-based charity that provides confidential emotional support to those who are depressed or suicidal. Volunteers provide this service through 24-hour crisis-lines and e-mail response centers. One of the keystones of The Samaritans philosophy is that their…
July 2004
Most of us have seen board members separate their collective, decision-making role on the board from their individual, working role in other volunteer capacities. And we know that board members who fail to make or remember the distinction can be very problematic. The level of…
April 2004
While the recent war in Iraq posed a variety of ethical, moral and humanitarian questions for many of us, it was the headline of the local daily paper that caught my attention and challenged me to confront a potential area of volunteerism with which I am not particularly…
July 2003
Excerpt from "Steve Says…" The strangeness began about 20 minutes into the meeting when a number of the assembled academics launched an all-out orchestrated attack on the survey [entitled “A Measure of Commitment – Volunteering for Serious Social Problems.”],…
July 2003
If there were a Ten Commandments of Volunteer Management, one of them would surely be the statement "volunteers should supplement, not supplant, paid staff." Drilled firmly into the head of every new volunteer manager is the fact that staff support is dependent upon relieving…
April 2002
No ancient holy book mentions "volunteering" by that name, but every religion in the world encourages charity, service to others, and personal risk for one's beliefs. This unique article compares the major religions of the world in terms of charity.
April 2002