Joe’s blog about TOIL has provoked much comment, not least in the nfpSynergy office. Mirroring the comments on our site, opinion is divided. And all of this happening while Joe is sunning himself in the Caribbean…
For my part, I do believe that TOIL is a necessary protection for the physical and mental health of employees. Ideally it would not be necessary in the first place, but we all live in the real world and it is not always possible. As the Managing Director of a research firm I know that if I send a researcher to run focus groups in the wilds, they will not get home until after 11 that night. Do that too many nights in a row and they will be off sick.
So, yes, nfpSynergy does offer TOIL to staff.
But I do agree with Joe in that the better paid and more senior a member of staff is, the more is expected of them without additional recompense. Senior staff and directors should not be claiming TOIL unless it’s in exceptional circumstances.
However, I do think that we need to explode the myth that organisations working in the voluntary sector are wholly populated by committed, selfless individuals. After many years working in the sector, I’ve had the pleasure of working with lots of people who work hard, give much and feel strongly about the cause. But I have also worked with shirkers who leave early, fail to manage properly and abuse systems designed to protect staff.
Part of the pleasure of working in this sector is the ability to contribute to making the world a better place, but we must never forget that salaries are paid for by hard-won donations. For me, while I don’t agree with everything Joe said, this is why the abuse of systems such as TOIL leaves a bitter taste.