Volunteering can be fulfilling and help you find paid work. Here are answers to all your questions about doing it.

a higher-up is pushing an unwanted volunteer on us

A reader writes: This descriptor is helpful and accurate, so I’m going to borrow it: “I work in a cultural/academic/nonprofit institution, and am part of a professional community small enough that I don’t wish to identify it, lest one of my colleagues identify me.” There’s a hierarchy within my institution, and someone (Martha) higher up […]

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how do I fire a volunteer who’s not getting her work done?

A reader writes: I am the president of a local industry society with an all-volunteer board of directors. We have a very large project that one non-board volunteer eagerly agreed to lead. It was supposed to start last fall, but due to circumstances beyond her control, it’s just now getting started. We gathered up a […]

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my boss wants me to ask a rejected problematic job candidate to volunteer

A reader writes: I was wondering what your thoughts are asking a rejected job candidate to volunteer at our organization. It’s a complicated situation, because the candidate has been very involved here and has a good background, except for his condescending tone, tendency to ramble, overwhelming eagerness (to the point of it being uncomfortable), and […]

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my employer pressures us to volunteer for its charitable events

A reader writes: I work at a for-profit company that sponsors a few charitable events each year. These events always bring us at least some clients later on, which is why my company does them (although it’s under the guise of helping the community). Our executives strongly encourage staff to volunteer. The tasks are separate […]

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a volunteer group I founded years ago is devouring my life

A reader writes: Almost five years ago, while I was in college, I founded and incorporated an all-volunteer nonprofit (“AVO”) in my hometown. A group of friends wanted to do it because we liked the field but couldn’t find another organization that provided appropriate opportunities, and I was cajoled into leadership. Now, it’s a drain […]

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I feel guilty that I flaked out on a volunteer job

A reader writes: My first year of college, I signed up to volunteer as a hotline operator at my local rape crisis center. I went through the required online training, the in-person training, and applied/paid for all of my required clearances. However, once I actually started volunteering, I realized that, due to my own experiences, […]

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