The Integrity of the Voluntary Sector
by Paul Hazelden


I sometimes say things like: there is a certain integrity which is built into the Voluntary Sector. I probably ought to spell out what I mean, and what I do not mean, by this.

The Key Points

  Volunteers choose to work

If volunteers do not feel they are doing something worthwhile and being treated reasonably fairly, they will leave.

  Employees choose low pay

People work in the Voluntary Sector because they want to make a difference, and they don't want to get bogged down in policies and paperwork. (Okay, some do it as part of their recovery, and some as part of their plan to get experience and then a job with a state funded employer.)

The Consequence

Trusting us to do a good job would save lots of money on tendering, and on monitoring the contracts. Trust builds efficiency.

The Dangers

  Fooling ourselves

We can be fooling ourselves, thinking we are doing what is needed.


We are (mostly) well-motivated, but that does not automatically make us wise. We can be wasteful and ineffective in our work.

  Fooling others

People working in the voluntary sector are human, too. We can be dishonest at times, just like anyone else.


The motivation of people in the Voluntary Sector is to make a difference so it is fair to start with and work with that assumption But as always, the assumption needs to be checked. The big challenge is to decide what level of checking is appropriate.

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Copyright © 2014 Paul Hazelden was last updated 21 July 2014
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