Remember at the start of the year when I warned that 2018 is the time for USA nonprofits to be demanding?
Well, here we go.
Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin and Donald Trump, as well as governors all over the USA, want to require unemployed Medicaid members to volunteer with nonprofit organizations – or, probably, Christian churches – in order to receive those benefits.
This idea was first floated back in Spring 2017. At that time, Danielle Clore, executive director of the Kentucky Nonprofit Network, had a lot to say to Bevin’s office when it asked the group to support his proposal:
The bottom line is this will cost nonprofits money – money and resources we don’t have to spare. It takes professionals to effectively manage volunteers. For the experience to be valuable for both the agency and the individual, volunteer efforts have to be managed. Is it worth the limited and precious resources of a nonprofit to manage a volunteer that is there because ‘they have to be,’ not because they want to be? Nonprofit employees are spread so thin as it is and I feel like a volunteer requirement for anyone not truly committed to the mission of the agency isn’t an effective use of anyone’s time.
I do not typically take people who are ‘required’ to volunteer, because they don’t make good volunteers. Also, 20 hours is A LOT OF TIME. We don’t allow people to volunteer that many hours because at that point they could be considered a part time employee employee, and you have potential legal issues to consider.
Emily Beauregard, executive director of Kentucky Voices for Health, told Kentucky Health News in an interview at that time, “We need to provide them with the support services that they need, but forcing people to volunteer in order to get health care doesn’t make anybody healthier. We know this. There are data to suggest that. In fact, sometimes these stringent requirements put people in a position where they are unable to get care and then they get sick, and they are unable to work.”
I’ve blogged about all this before, in April 2017, when I said that requirements to volunteer are getting out of hand. And I’m calling on all nonprofit centers, all consultants regarding nonprofit management, including volunteer management, and everyone claiming to be advocates for volunteerism to speak out about this.
Here here’s my Facebook post about how I feel:
Nonprofits are not sitting around saying, “I wish several thousand people were forced to volunteer and they would then show up at our offices to do all this work we have just laying around waiting to be done by just any ole’ person that comes through the door.” Bevin and Trump are expecting nonprofits to involve several thousand more people as volunteers – people who are being forced into the act – but without funding all of the increased costs nonprofits are going to have to create more assignments and supervise these people. Nonprofits, don’t do it. Just DON’T. Not without a great deal more money.
Let’s see your statement.
- Requiring jobless to volunteer – reality check
- Involving volunteers: a cop out for paying staff?
- Deriding the monetary value of volunteer hours: my mission in life?
- The Value of volunteers – a web page to help you understand how to appropriately talk about the value of volunteers at your organization.
- Initiatives opposed to some or all volunteering (unpaid work), & online & print articles about or addressing controversies regarding volunteers replacing paid staff – a page I developed when someone told me there was no opposition to volunteer engagement because of job loss and “money saved” (obviously, that person was wrong)
- Assigning law breakers to community service: worthwhile?
- Yes, I love court-ordered community service folks
- My blogs about some aspect of court-ordered community service
- Make volunteering transformative, not about # of hours – a blog from earlier this year that illustrates how to talk about the value of volunteers in a much more powerful way (and one that keeps getting retweeted! Thank you!)
- Valuing volunteer engagement: an imaginary case study – an attempt to show, in the simplest way possible, why talking about volunteer value primarily in terms of monetary value insults volunteers
- CNCS continues its old-fashioned measurement of volunteer value, a blog from 2014 – and, no, CNCS nor the Points of Light Foundation responded.
- OPB & Congress Think Volunteers are Free – how the Independent Sector way of thinking influences the press (and a petition for you to sign to help fund resources for volunteer management on public lands)
- Volunteering empowers, activates, builds, communicates – just another way of saying it….
- Volunteers: still not free – a 2012 blog that I think sums up the issues well
- Fight against unpaid internships will hurt volunteering – a blog that summarizes what I have predicted for many years: unpaid interns are revolting precisely because of the reasons given for not paying volunteers promoted by so many national and international bodies
- Advice for unpaid interns to sue for back pay – helping unpaid interns know their rights
- Do NOT say “Need to Cut Costs? Involve Volunteers!” – a 2012 blog that tries to explain this issue in very simple terms
- UN Volunteers, IFRC, ILO & others make HUGE misstep – a 2011 blog in response to these international agencies promoting the value of volunteers in terms of money saved by not paying employees to do the work
- Volunteers are suing
- I agree with this anti-crowdsource campaign
- Criticism Continues for UK Government Talk Re Volunteers – a blog from 2011 that shows the backlash with the United Kingdom decided to cut employees and encourage volunteers to replace them
- International Association of Fire Fighters is anti-volunteer – a blog from 2010 that illustrates the consequences of the Independent Sector and other organization’s promotion of a monetary value as the best reason to involve volunteers.