Thought your article was thought provoking.
I'm an IET member who has done a lot of voluntary work in the Competitive Swimming Community and have recently done some thinking about volunteers in Swimming. Two areas I'd add from my experience of volunteering in a children's community based sports environment ...... although I realise that these may be less applicable to the IET .
Issues created from volunteers working alongside paid employees
My anecdotal evidence is that there is a real problem with new volunteers starting off with high enthusiasm and motivation, but not lasting long and becoming demotivated and often giving up. The full reasons may be complex but I truly believe is that one reason from what I've seen is that volunteers in a club or organisation often end up dealing with lots of 'political' issues and get a lot of flack and criticism from other people within that environment. People (often the ones who do not volunteer their time) are starting to expect volunteers to act like paid employees.
Volunteers vs paid employees
This can also be an area of 'friction' within clubs and organisations .....Recent quote from a 'swimming blog' which I think gives some insight (not me I might add!!)
"Indeed, there are all manner of people in the swimming world - the point I was making was that whether they're paid or not doesn't have any relationship at all to how good they are at their job.
What absolutely boils my, erm, makes me very cross, is seeing people who ARE paid doing a really poor job while volunteers end up having to run around after the employee doing the job a second time because it wasn't done properly in the first place.
And then there are the volunteers who bask in the self-perceived glory of being in a role with a title but who don't actually want to do the work that is required, even though the ASA clearly defines what is generally required of people in those club roles. The Good Club Guidelines booklets are very clear and straightforward and clearly set out what is required of various volunteer roles in a swimming club.
What do you do when these people don't want to get rid of a paid position that is generally done badly because they're too lazy to do their own jobs properly, and at the same time block other volunteers who are both willing and capable of doing the job, and willing to do it on a voluntary basis, just because they don't want to give up the position of 'power'?"
Hope that this adds to the discussion on the subject.
Edited: 07 September 2010 at 08:36 PM by gcbruce