Illustration: Pierre Le-Tan
Q: I volunteer at an organization that provides furniture and other household items to families in crisis. Sometimes the man who runs the place takes things for himself (and we get some high-end stuff). I don't think that's right, but other workers say he volunteers long hours and deserves a perk. Does he?
A: "Absolutely not! I founded an organization for the homeless in Houston years ago, and our rules were clear: You're either a volunteer or a recipient. If he's only helping to get first dibs on the good stuff, he's really a furniture hustler with a hidden agenda. Propose a new rule that states volunteers cannot remove items from inventory until they have been made available to the clientele for a predetermined period of time (for example, 60 days), and see if your volunteer still works as hard." — Rudy Rasmus, pastor, St. John's United Methodist Church in Houston
"He's stealing from the needy, violating the donors' intent, and using public resources (if it's a nonprofit) for private gain—all of which is wrong. What if those long hours are his way of stocking his own resale business on the side? The organization's board needs to set him straight or get him out." —Rushworth M. Kidder, founder, the Institute of Global Ethics
From the March 2009 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
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