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Disadvantages of volunteer work

Updated March 23, 2017

Organizations like the Hands On Network and the Points of Light Institute know the importance of recognising volunteers and make sure to highlight activities like National Volunteer Week, an annual event set aside for the recognition of volunteers around the world. Though benefits like public recognition come along with being a volunteer, no one should volunteer based on that fact alone, and should consider the disadvantages of volunteer work before making the commitment.

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Most companies and organisations find relief from workloads in their volunteers because they can do various odd jobs. At a youth camp, for example, a volunteer might be asked to simply help keep an eye on the children at a field trip one day and then be asked to sweep the floors after breakfast, snacks and lunch on another day. Because you're being used as needed the majority of times, when you're needed and what you're needed for could constantly change. For people that like to stick to the same schedule and routine, this could get frustrating. Of course, you can ask about doing the same thing at the same time for the duration of your volunteer work, but it's unlikely that kind of request will always be granted.


Volunteer work takes time out of your schedule. Depending on the kind of volunteer work, it could cost as little as a few hours each month or a few hours each day of your time. If you already have a busy schedule, it's wise to volunteer at a place that won't mind your assistance on an as needed basis. Otherwise, you could burn yourself out and lack the ability to be effective in your personal and business life as well as the lives of those impacted by your volunteer service.


Some people volunteer with a motive to ultimately get a paying position within the organisation or company their volunteering for. However, it's not always definite that your volunteer services will turn into a paying job. So you shouldn't volunteer just to get ahead in a certain business unless you're also really passionate about their cause or type of work. This way you'll spare yourself the regret of working without pay.

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About the Author

Tandeace Hairston's articles appear in relationship and family publications. She's been named "Best Writer" by the National Association of Black Journalists, is founder and president of HeartShape Relationship Advocacy, Inc. and is publishing her first book on healthy relationships in 2012. Hairston holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Temple University and a Master of Arts in Christian counseling from Jacksonville Theological Seminary.

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