Voluntary work is a form of social activism that is carried out for the public good. As part of their voluntary work, such volunteers typically complete tasks like (but not restricted to) manual labor and food distribution. This form of activism – voluntary work – has been a major feature in many different parts of the world, including Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Voluntary work can be extremely dangerous and is also known to result in fatalities. In 1900, the workers in a mine in Russia were killed when the roof of the mine caved in after an explosion. In 2004, volunteers from one UK charity were trapped for three days inside a collapsed house in Wales. In both of these cases, safety supervision was poor and negligence resulted in the fatal accidents.
Volunteers can easily be exploited by giving them false hopes or using them as mere tools to achieve other tasks (an example being unpaid interns). Authorities must carefully consider and plan such roles.
Most volunteers have little or no personal security protection, which puts them at risk of being victims of crime. This includes robbery, physical and sexual assault, kidnapping, rape and murder.
Most communities tend to think less of people who choose to volunteer as opposed to those who choose to work for profit; most people also see volunteers as a lower social class than those who work for wages. In some cultures (such as the Middle East), volunteering is seen as a sign that one is too old and useless for the workforce.
While volunteering with a charity can often improve one’s own health and that of others, some people choose to work for profit and in cases of those who volunteer for profit, the extent to which a charity is aware of this is questionable.
The incentives that people face when volunteering can lead to the exploitation of children, gender inequality and slavery. Some charities may even deliberately facilitate such issues in order to maximize their own financial benefits.
As technology improves, human jobs will be lost and replaced with automated machines. This will lead to a rise in unemployment that can potentially threaten the existence of voluntary work organizations. Solutions that can help sustain the existence of such organizations include the implementation of a universal basic income and productivity acceleration.
Voluntary work can be seen as a game and volunteers are often used to fill gaps created by companies, the government’s policies or by social groups that wish to eliminate certain groups. In some communities, this can lead to discrimination or even violence due to the hatred of certain groups within them.