Question: When are volunteers not really volunteers?
Answer: When you have to pay them.
For instance, if you have to offer your “volunteers” iPads or AmEx gift cards, they’re not really volunteers. In fact, the IRS may require declaring the “gifts” as taxable compensation.
The Republican Jewish Coalition, swelled with $6.5 million in Sheldon Adelson’s cash and obviously hurting when it comes to attracting free help, is offering a $100 AmEx debit card for as little as 20 hours working its phone banks and up to a 32 gig iPad 3 for 50 hours or more. That works out to between $5 and $12 an hour.
But it’s still a better deal than the RJC’s Democratic counterparts are offering: cheese pizzas. But then the National Jewish Democratic Council isn’t having the same problem attracting volunteers.
An RJC email seeking help says it is “providing AWESOME THANK-YOU INCENTIVES for members who volunteer and make calls at official RJC phone-banks in Washington, DC.”
RJC’s theme is Barack Obama is bad for Israel and thus bad for the Jews, and that’s not an easy sell according to a recent Gallup poll that shows Obama leading Mitt Romney 70 to 29 among Jewish voters.
NJDC’s David Harris called the offer “completely unheard of” and suggested the difference between the two groups’ offers is motivation: for Democrats is “the cause and the issues” and for the opposition it is “the cash and prizes.”