Charity shop volunteers: a ‘nocost’ option?

Document type
Whithear, Roy
Date of publication
1 September 1999
Voluntary Action: the journal of the Institute for Volunteering Research. Vol. 1; Number 3
Volunteering, Employment, Education and Skills
Social welfare
Material type

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This article discusses some of the consequences for volunteering of the move towards ‘professionalism’ in the charity shop sector. It is based upon interviews at the headquarters of six leading charities, subsequent interviews with local managers, and the responses to a questionnaire distributed to volunteers at seven of the charities’ shops in the Ruislip area. The findings confirm that, despite the growing presence of paid staff in charity shops, there continues to be a demand for supplementary volunteer effort. It is suggested that this is for more subtle reasons than simply keeping costs down. Moreover, as more paid managers are appointed, so the support volunteers are likely to take on a different profile. This trend, together with the mixture of paid and unpaid staff working in close proximity, will bring new challenges.

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