Revised with new information March 31, 2017

Initiatives opposed to some or all volunteering (unpaid work),
online & print articles about or addressing controversies
regarding volunteers replacing paid staff
This is a list of organizations and initiatives opposed to some kinds of volunteering (unpaid work), or ALL kinds of volunteering, including unpaid internships at nonprofit organizations / charities. It is also a list of online and print articles about or addressing controversies regarding volunteers replacing paid staff. Most of the links are to initiatives or actions in Europe or the USA.

This list has been compiled to help researchers regarding volunteerism, as well as for policy makers and volunteerism advocates who want to avoid these kinds of controversies at nonprofit organizations and government agencies. This list is also compiled to refute those who believe that there are no such controversies (believe it or not, those people DO exist).

If a URL no longer works, please cut and paste it into - it might be retrievable there. If you can't find it there, please don't write me - I won't be able to find it for you.

Additions are welcomed!

Initiatives on Twitter
Fair Pay Campaign On Twitter: @FairPayCampaign
"No-one should have their dreams denied because they can't afford to work for free. Join the fight to end unpaid internships."

Hague Interns Association On Twitter:
HIA is an association of interns working at UN-related and international organizations in The Hague,
Netherlands. "We work to improve intern welfare and promote intern rights." On Twitter: @UnpaidIsUnfair - "Unpaid internships are unfair. The United Nations should be no exception. Please sign our petition and tell the UN that young people matter." On Twitter: @InternLabor - Intern Labor Rights. "In this era of historic inequality, class divide, soaring student debt and persistent unemployment we call for an end to unpaid internships: Pay your interns!"

Canadian Intern Association. On Twitter: @canadianinterns - “The  advocates against the exploitation of interns and aims to improve the internship experience for both interns and employers.” On Twitter: @InternJustice - "Protecting the rights and wages of interns. M. Pianko, Esq, Director and Lead Counsel” NYC & Nationwide (U.S.A.)" So, I'm guessing this lawyer is offering to represent people who have done unpaid internships and want to sue for back wages.

Intern Aware. On Twitter: @internaware
"We campaign for fair internships. We want to see the minimum wage enforced and recruitment based on talent."

Intern Labor Rights. On Twitter: @InternLabor
"In this era of historic inequality, class divide, soaring student debt and persistent unemployment we call for an end to unpaid internships: Pay your interns!"

Interns ≠ Free Labor On Twitter: @EricGlatt
"Fighting wage theft guised as unpaid internships. Law student & Public Interest Fellow at Georgetown"

Illegal Interns. On Twitter: @illegalinterns
"Unpaid Internships are Illegal. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised."

Articles - USA examples (multiple article links in these blogs, which also provide my view of unpaid internships)
In 1997, a Presidential summit on volunteerism, the President's Summit for America's Future, was held in Philadelphia. This three-day presidential summit was aimed at boosting volunteerism and community service efforts across the USA. President Bill Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, former Presidents George Bush, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter and retired Gen. Colin Powell all participated. The original web site, archived at, was The summit resulted in a lot of press coverage, the launch of at least one nonprofit, and a huge boost for the Corporation for National Service, particularly AmeriCorps. But the summit also resulted in some anti-volunteerism campaigns, from from the left and the right of the political spectrum. Here are some archived anti-volunteerism articles from that time:
Near the same time, there were discussions about whether or not students should be required to perform community service in order to graduate. Here's an example of those opposed to the idea: Assumptions Made By Proponents of Mandatory Community Service Programs in Schools, from

Europe-focused articles.

I've included the URLs here in case these get deleted off their original sites - you can use the original URLs to find archived articles at

Spending cuts 'destroying big society' concept, says retiring head of Community Service Volunteers (CSV), 7 February 2011, accessed June 19, 2013

The 'big society' is collapsing under its inherent absurdity, 6 February 2011,
accessed June 19, 2013
Quote from article: "The ugly implication, habitual to champions of the big society, is that such unpaid civic activity does not support every established charity and volunteer effort."

Liverpool withdraws from government 'big society' pilot, 4 February 2011, accessed June 19, 2013
Summary: Liverpool City Council leader said government cuts threaten the future of many local volunteer groups.

Big Society’ volunteering in long term care must not substitute for skilled paid staff, Feb 10 2012,
accessed June 17, 2013
Journal Name: British Politics and Policy at LSE
"Volunteer workers could transform the long-term care sector. However, Shereen Hussein emphasizes that a greater understanding of the strengths and weakness of a voluntary workforce is needed in order to effectively identify the services it is best equipped to provide. The government should think of volunteers as a complement to professional staff rather than their replacement."

Librarians in Southampton (U.K.) striking in 2010 over efforts to replace paid workers with volunteers, 12 July 2010, accessed June 19, 2013
Unison union branch secretary Mike Tucker says in this article: "Libraries need professional staff to provide a modern service to the people of Southampton. Untrained, unskilled, unreliable volunteers will not provide this service.”

A Charter for Strengthening Relations Between Paid Staff and Volunteers: Volunteering England and the TUC,
accessed June 19, 2013
The involvement of volunteers should complement and supplement the work of paid staff, and should not be used to displace paid staff or undercut their pay and conditions of service. The added value of volunteers should be highlighted as part of commissioning or grant- making process but their involvement should not be used to reduce contract costs.

UK Wants Volunteers to Make Up for Massive Public Service Cuts, February 09, 2011,
accessed June 19, 2013, Labor Notes

Job substitution or volunteer substitution?’ Alan Strickland (Volunteering England) and Nick Ockenden (Institute for Volunteering Research) 22 June 2011,

accessed June 19, 2013

Un sindicato de Bomberos carga contra los voluntarios por negarse a acudir a Rasquera,,
accessed June 19, 2013
Summary: A union of professional fire fighters had harsh words against Catalunya volunteer firefighters for refusing to work on extinguishing a fire that burned 3,000 acres, as leverage for improvements in their working conditions.

Los voluntarios de ambulancias, en riesgo (Ambulance volunteers at risk),, 5 May 2013, accessed June 19, 2013
A Civil Defence in a town near Madrid laments pressure by a private ambulance companies lead the state to eliminate volunteer involvement.

Protección Civil, Ayuntamiento de Cangas del Narcea,
accessed June 19, 2013
Civil Protection Volunteers do not replace or supersede intervention services, but collaborate, complement and support the actions of those and always request of citizens or administrations concerned.

Bénévoles et salariés : alliés ou adversaires ? (Volunteers and employees: allies or adversaries?),
accessed June 19, 2013
This online document asserts that “The presence of employees should not be a barrier to volunteering and volunteering should not be an obstacle to the presence of an employee... The role of the volunteer is not a substitute for a lack of staff but to be complementary to a team.”

Le statut des collaborateurs (the status of employees), Gestion Associative (management associations), on the Associanet media, quoting UNEDIC Directives from 1996
Accessed June 19, 2013
Volunteer activities are alleged unprofessional within the following limits:

Analysis: Balancing staff with volunteers, Third Sector, Haymarket Professional Publications, 20 September 2011, accessed June 19, 2013,0,0,0,0
"Volunteers are replacing staff
When charities are forced to make redundancies, some bring in more volunteers. Stephen Cook and Ben Cook discover that it's a sensitive subject in the sector, and Mark Wilding talks to three charities about how they're handling it.”

Criticism Continues for UK Government Talk Re Volunteers

EU Agencies exploiting interns?

Other countries

Involving volunteers: a cop out for paying staff?
"Nurses in the Philippines are angry. They are being forced to work for free, or for a stipend on which they cannot live, while the hospitals where they are working call them “volunteers.” Some hospitals are even charging nurses for their “volunteer” work experience. Thousands of graduate nurses are paying hospitals and working for months without salaries under the guise of “training,” so the nurses can gain work experience and have an improved chance of being employed as a regular staff eventually."

Also see:
   The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook

now available for purchase as a paperback & an ebook from Energize, Inc.

Completely revised and updated!
Published January 2014.