Millions of Americans volunteer annually and, on average, volunteers are highly skilled individuals. With unpaid volunteers working alongside W2-paid employees, sometimes it is difficult in a workplace to distinguish one from the other. Motivations for volunteering are many and the author does not intend to fully explore the myriad reasons identified by social scientists for this behavior, including to gain experience, create a path to a paid job, offer service to others or gain personal recognition. An interesting study of volunteerism is Richard Freeman's Working for Nothing: The Supply of Volunteer Labor. Using data from a unique survey, Freeman showed clearly that standard labor economic explanations only get people so far in explaining volunteerism. He also confirmed, as anyone who has had to recruit volunteers will attest to as well, many volunteers only do so if asked and it is certainly the case that not all asked will agree.

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