Rewarded Volunteering

One Norbiton’s “Rewarded Volunteering”

Mike D’Souza (Chair) April 2014

One Norbiton is aiming to create an equal partnership of local

volunteers. This will not only promote self-respect and neighbourly cooperation

but also create a coherent and representative community voice

on matters of mutual concern.

In the spirit of such participatory democracy, we do not want anyone

in our membership to be considered superior to anyone else. Therefore no

member is employing any other. Even though collectively, all of us, through

our taxes, are the ultimate employers of our public servants, we are

encouraging even these to alter their status by becoming active members

and enjoy participating as volunteers alongside us.

We recognize that most of our members will contribute only by

voting and relatively few will be key activists who work at the centre of our

organisation. Doing the latter, will always demand much more time and skill

than can be expected from ordinary volunteering. This is why we have

created the concept of “Rewarded Volunteering”. For example we are

currently rewarding a disabled volunteer to do all our administration by

paying her honoraria worth less than £4800 pa –the maximum allowable

before she loses benefits. This is proving financially beneficial to One

Norbiton, as it would cost us over 25k a year were we to engage a full time


For less burdensome tasks, such as the One Norbiton Taskforce, we

have adopted a similar concept to that used by The Community

Development Foundation and offering honoraria, proportionately matched

to hours of volunteering. However, because both our NEETs and

Recovering Substance Abusers could incur loss of benefits if rewarded in

cash, we are providing them with gifts of Vouchers, similarly matched to the

hours they have spent volunteering. We treat our “Norbiteens” in the same

way and although this group has child-care issues, obviously they have no

restrictions due to benefits.