Welfare states increasingly activate citizens in the provision of care and welfare services, expecting them to take over certain parts of professional work. The consequences of this ‘volunteer responsibilisation’ for front-line workers’ professionalism have not been studied extensively. Professionalism may be pointed in another direction, from professional self-control or organisational forms of control based on management criteria toward forms of embedded control in which professional work is defined in interaction with all kinds of ‘outsiders’, including volunteers. In this paper we analyse how front-line workers cope with such shifts in care and welfare provision. We find that they move away from frail volunteers, move toward vigorous volunteers, and move against policy makers.