Friday, June 8, 2007

The Cost of Volunteers

Before I get to the article below, let me drop in a shameless plug for our big garage sale here in Dallas:

Second Saturday Sale: June 9!

This article from the The Chronicle of Philanthropy presents a disturbing topic that is all-too-familiar to those of us in the social services industry...

Well-Meaning Volunteers Strain Katrina Charities
Businesspeople who visit New Orleans for conventions and spend a day helping to rebuild the city often inadvertently strain the finances and resources of local charities, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The volunteers provide welcome help in the recovery from Hurricane Katrina, but they also consume water and lunch and need to be insured and transported to the sites where they help.

Charities say it typically costs $30 to $100 per day per volunteer for such amenities. Beyond costs, charities face other issues, especially when local regulations prevent out-of-town visitors from taking on certain duties.

The crush of volunteers shows no signs of abating: 90 percent of visiting corporations ask about providing help, the article reports, and finding useful work for everyone can be difficult.