This paper explores volunteering and inequality in the global South through an analysis of volunteering remuneration. We argue that the growing remuneration of volunteers reflects an increasing financialisation of volunteering by aid and development donors to match labour to project and sectoral objectives. We examine how these remuneration strategies shape volunteering economies and (re)produce hierarchies and inequalities in contexts in the global South where volunteers are often from marginalised communities. We analyse data collected in Africa and the Middle East as part of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) ‘Global Review on Volunteering’ to explore these interweaving volunteering hierarchies and how they articulate with existing social stratifications. In these contexts, we argue that a livelihoods and capabilities approach across macro, national and local levels provides an alternative and more nuanced way of accounting for volunteer remuneration within the range of assets that communities have to build their lives and future. When oriented towards catalysing these community assets, and away from rewarding particular kinds of individual labour, remuneration has the potential to enable rather than undermine sustained volunteering activity by and within marginalised communities.