• ISSN: 2155-7950
  • Journal of Business and Economics

 Volunteers within an Organizational Context-One Term Is Not Enough*

Helene Ellerī€ 
(University of Latvia, Latvia)

Abstract: Volunteering is any activity in which time is given freely to benefit another person, group, or organization. The most obvious formal characteristic is the absence of pay. Volunteers gain their income from another job. Within nonprofit organizations volunteers perform work in different levels of organizations and tasks or jobs. They can work only for projects or act in long-term assistance, e.g., daily, weekly, or a longer period or they even lead such an organization in the function of a board member. Volunteers can assist paid staff as well as provide services like paid staff because of the absence of paid staff. The English language uses only one term for different assignments of volunteers in organizations even the meaning behind is very broad and not restricted. The German language on the contrary provides at least two different terms implicating different meanings when talking about volunteers “Freiwillige, Ehrenamtliche”, although the discussion about a common meaning is the same. The contribution of this paper is the idea of an advanced nomenclature for the term “volunteer” within an organizational context. It presents new terms for different groups of volunteers in relation to their commitment.

Key words: voluntarism; volunteers; nonprofit organization

JEL code: L31

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