Robert Egger, the enterprising founder of DC Central Kitchen, is proposing a national “Volunteer Bill of Rights”. 

“If a program can’t tell a volunteer what they accomplished, allow them to talk to any staff member, provide financial data or allow a volunteer to rate their experience or provide feedback—then volunteers should feel free to call them out,” says Robert Egger.

He points to the kind of openness did for innovation in the foodservice industry.  The introduction of food critics, food blogs, online consumer reviews, Egger notes, has greatly increased the quality and choice of restaurants in America. 

His first cut of a Volunteer Bill of Rights, which he has implemented at DC Central Kitchen, includes the following:

  • The right to work in a safe environment
  • The right to be treated with respect by all staff members
  • The right to be engaged in meaningful work and be actively included regardless of any physical limitation
  • The right to be told what impact you work has had on the community
  • The right to ask any staff member about the organizations work
  • The right to provide feedback about your experience
  • The right to receive financial information or an annual report

David Bonbright, of KeyStone Accountability, sees similarities between this has with the consumer rights movement.  What do you think?  Can the 63 million volunteers in the country be a pivotal force for excellence and innovation in nonprofits?  Do you have something to add?  Do you have ideas about how we can spread something like this?