Ask anyone who works for an MP about 38 Degrees and the feedback won’t be great.
Those Keyboard warriors crowdsource a worthy cause, and get their supporters to ‘flood’ the inbox of someone they think will do something about it with identakit emails which say exactly the same thing.
To facilitate the data nodes 38 Degrees has an office in central London stuffed full with servers and staff ‘volunteers’ to churn through draft letters, ‘research’ policy and write emails and blog posts – they are recruiting for one such ‘volunteer’ right now.
This exciting position comes with a very generous £15 a day to cover food and travel expenses. It is strongly stressed that it is a volunteer role and is nothing like the unpaid Intern position 38 Degrees advertised in March 2010.
No Indeed the two posts, the former for an unpaid intern, the latter for an unpaid volunteer, do not share tasks such as: – “Horizon scanning for possible campaign moments in the future.” or “Writing emails to be blasted to the membership” – at all – there is no suggestion that the Interns tasks have been copy and pasted to the volunteer position at all.
And, indeed, volunteers are not – at all – required to be in for 3 days a week for a 3 month duration” No Sir…
I am a strong believer that Interns should get at least minimum wage and not be expected to work set hours without proper compensation. Failing to do so shuts out opportunity for millions of young people who cannot afford to live and work in London – or indeed elsewhere – for free.
And whilst I am no employment law expert, I do know people who are, and they are of the view that any intern required to work for a set period of time and expected to carry out set tasks would have a field day at an employment tribunal.
People and Planet pay their interns, and David Babbs – 38 degrees’ founder and current executive director, was a paid intern for the internationalist pressure group for a year and says “I suspect I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now if I hadn’t done the P&P internship. I’m certain that I wouldn’t be doing it as effectively.”
In my humble opinion – Babbs should probably give young people the same opportunities People and Planet afforded him and pay his interns – its time for a mass email to 38 degrees.
If enough of us flood 38 Degrees with emails, they will know what the public expect of them.
Send 38 Degrees an email, telling them to do the right thing and pay their interns – it only takes 2 minutes:
Dear Mr Babbs
As the founder of 38 Degrees, and a former participant of the People and Planet paid internship program it is important that we give young people setting out in campaigning the support they need to prosper.
I was encouraged by your organisations ‘s promise to bring about real change in the UK by taking action on the issues that we all care about.
Please follow through on that promise by making sure you take action to pay your interns at least the Minimum Wage.
Please ensure that those you expect to carry out set tasks and turn up for a set period of time are not expected to live in poverty in the name of your members and supporters and you help to develop the next generation of grass-roots campaigns as you, yourself were helped by People and Planet.
- Please be polite and to the point.
- Personalise your message – explain why 38 Degrees should pay their staff
- Email early – email often
- Remember to ask for a response if they fail to do so…