A Case Study Inquiry into the Lived Experiences of Volunteers and Paid Workers at an Empower Scotland Charity Shop
Hogwood, Alice (2014)


This ethnographic project applied my nine month volunteering experience as an ‘Empower Scotland’ charity shop volunteer in Eastern Scotland, to address a twofold gap in the sociology literature: the lived experiences of volunteers and paid workers, and particularly those exclusively of volunteers.

The completion of semi-structured interviews and subsequent thematic analysis revealed many positive responses linking to motivation and rewards, with recommendations for improvement also being offered. The findings locate expansive potential in how Empower Scotland competes with other voluntary organisations. Furthermore, participants questioned target and rule suitability in the charity sector and the efficiency
of volunteer management.

These findings imply that ‘horizontal’ policies should further emphasise the significance of giving time and money and that ‘vertical’ policies should consider the potential for professionalisation reaching a state of equilibrium. We must value and empower volunteers, placing the lived experiences of volunteers and paid workers at the centre of policy decisions.


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