Would you work for free?

earth day, earth day 2012, national volunteer week, national volunteer week 2012, this that and the mbaWith Earth Day 2012 in the books, I hope you had a chance to get out there and make a difference.  For me I will be helping to clean up this coming weekend!  Taking a look at the shear amount of work the volunteers do in our community day in and day out is amazing.  With the average hourly wage of a volunteer in 2011 close to $21.79 per hour, the dollar value is immense if you look at the amount of work that volunteers perform.

Here is how my organization uses volunteers

The organization that I work at relies heavily on volunteer labor to provide many tasks.  Having volunteers allows the company to use paid staff more effectively.  On a quarterly basis there are close to 15k hours used.  Think about the amount of money that would need to be spent to do those same functions with paid staff, not only would you have the hourly rate of pay you typically have 20-25% on top for benefits.

Last week was also National Volunteer Week in the United States as proclaimed by Obama on April 9, 2012.  What better way to pay tribute to all the volunteers out there than by quantifying the dollar value that they provide to society for free!!!!!  Ok well the personal financier in me likes to see everything quantified as some dollar figure.

Volunteers in 2010 gave 8.1 billion hours of service valued at an estimated $173 billion dollars.  Did you hear that I said billion!  That is just in the United States so imagine the figure if we took it to the globe! While it may be a little late for National Volunteer Week, make sure to thank a volunteer for the time that they give.

Do you volunteer?  Have you thanked a volunteer lately?  Tell me about your favorite volunteering experience.

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PHOTO BY: vastateparksstaff

37 thoughts on “Would you work for free?

  1. I volunteer around Thanksgiving to get food out to the poor. Makes me feel good to know that I am making a difference.

    1. @ James- I agree there is just something that feels so good seeing a smile on another persons face from a simple action that I have done. It is good that you get out there and volunteer!

  2. I read somewhere that the United States is actually one of the most charitable and volunteering oriented countries in the world. Sure, Americans made more money to be able to donate it to charity, but I also think our charitable ranking was based on percent of income or something like that. Americans have problems, but we’re a good bunch at heart.

    1. Part of the reason (I’m sure not all) for our charity is the tax deduction. So while I am sure people give out of the goodness of their hearts, I am also certain that outside incentives mold our actions and motivations, and they do in most areas of our lives.

      1. @ Well Heeled – ding ding ding, there are so many out there that just do it because of that. I guess if you need an incentive to give, it is good that the govt takes the hit with reduced taxes and the entity receiving the money gets to benefit.

    2. @ TB – I like to think if push came to shove that we are all good at heart too. Do you do any kind of volunteer work?

  3. my wife and i really want to start volunteering, but we have always struggled to find a way to do it– because we have 3 kids.. we almost need a grandma or someone to volunteer to watch our kids, just so that we can volunteer.

    what we should really do is create a charity that watches people’s kids while they volunteer 🙂

    1. @ Jefferson – I think you are on to something with that idea. I know when we volunteer this weekend my mom is volunteering to watch our kids…so it will be nice to be away from them, we will be doing work! Once your kids are old enough you can go out as a family and do volunteering, I am looking forward to that I think that will be fun.

  4. I’ve always enjoyed volunteering. Sadly, though I’ve let it slip and haven’t done much in the past few years. Now that I’m almost completely debt free, I’ll have much more freedom to give, of both my time and money. I’m excited!

    1. @ Careful Cents – make sure to get out there it is very rewarding. Money is great to give, but I find being out there with people to be very rewarding.

  5. Thanks for the reminder to get my butt out there and line up some volunteering. Finally got automatic monthly donations going, so next up is to find somewhere I’d like to volunteer.

    1. @ Jill – That is great that you have automatic donations set up. Do they offer a service to volunteer where you are donating your money?

  6. I helped found and remain one of the Directors of my community’s carshare cooperative. The Co-op is 100% volunteer run. Over the ~18 months I’ve been involved, I’ve volunteered, I’d guess, 8 hours per week on average. It’s fun! (Though I do look forward to the day we can afford a part-time employee 🙂 )

    1. @ Kurt – that is cool. Do you participate in the car share program? I think we need a part time employee doing some of the work that board members do on the non profit I am part of. Is it a major metro area that you live in?

  7. I feel a little guilty for not doing any volunteer work these days. It’s something that I’d like to do, but there are only so many hours in the day, especially when trying to run an online business. It is great all of the awesome work that volunteers do. Without them so many great causes simply would not function. So while I feel that I don’t have the time to volunteer these days, I do plan on joining in when time permits. Maybe even a few hours every weekend would help out.

    1. @ Jeremy- I hear you it is tough to balance everything. Which is why I am responding to your comment from yesterday just now! We had a board meeting tonight, they usually last a few hours. So the routine today goes wake up work, come home see the girls a little and feed them, off to board meeting till 940 and then return home and here I am.

  8. Sometimes I volunteer, and if I were friends with someone like you who said “hey! we need volunteers!” I would do it. Volunteering for black-tie fundraisers is just an excuse to put on a party dress, and it’s those organizations that don’t need me to tell Mr and Mrs Important where to sit. I’d rather give money than do something with the Junior League.

    1. @ Frugal – I have volunteered at our hospital golf outing the past few years. It is all the wealth in the community and I just sit the hole monitoring for the closest to the pin. Situations like this, I would rather just give money than sit there.

  9. I used to volunteer all the time and I really, really miss it. I used to volunteer for many different organizations ranging from family shelters and babysitting the kids there, mental hospitals and walking the patients around, senior living communities and helping out the senior citizens with basic chores, cleaning homeless shelters, walks for AIDs and breast cancer, and starting up an arts and crafts program at an American Indian Education Center. My next foray into volunteering will be for refuges. I can’t wait!

    1. @ Shopping2Saving – Wow you were the volunteer all star. That is great that you used to do alot of that. Some of the things I have volunteered for makes me appreciate my situation so much more. Way to go, keep up the good work and get back out there~!!

  10. I volunteered years ago with Boy Scouts to deliver toys to poor kids before Christmas. It left a lifelong impression.

    1. @ Astro – your comments are priceless, I have nothing to respond with!!!

  11. Yes, I have volunteered yearly on Ocean Clean up that is simultaneously participated globally. I mostly participate on Environment Awareness activities; Tree Planting and Clean-up.

    1. @ Lyka – that is great that you participate doing ocean clean up. I have never heard of Ocean clean up, not that I live near one. I will check it out.

  12. usually volunteering activities are organized at my office. I participate in them. Sometimes we donate books. Sometimes we raise money by auctioning various items collected. Some of us contribute to items while others buy them through auction. The money goes to charity.

    1. @ Karunesh – we have to do 2 volunteering activities as part of our annual review. I don’t like having my raise tied to my volunteering. I would rather go out there and do my own thing, it makes some do it for the wrong reason.

  13. I think giving of one’s time is almost more valuable than giving money. Time is finite and it’s wonderful to give your time freely!

    I can’t wait until I can “retire” so I can willfully give away as much of my time as possible!

    1. @ Jason – I agree, I also give time because it is cheaper on the wallet. The wallet pays the bills and my time well it has value but not as much as money for a bill or 2.

  14. I have been know to work for free. I have volunteered thousands of hours the past 21 years. I like volunteering actually. It makes me feel good. I have also worked for a start up (junior founder me) for free. Well, I was working for future equity. Learned a lot.

    1. @ Savvy – what is junior founder me? Hey free training while volunteering is a double bonus for you!!

      1. I was brought in by the initial founders. Second wave…own a percentage equity in the company..like 1% or something…Not that it’s worth much right now 🙂 No revenue. But they are still working on it, and I am brought in here and there for certain projects.

        1. @ Savvy – that is really cool. Looks good on the resume too… 🙂

  15. I’ve been slacking on volunteering. I do donate sometimes but I would love to give more of my time as I don’t have a huge budget for charity right now.

    1. @ Daisy – exactly the reason I give my time, we just don’t have an extra hundred laying around for a charity. Wow you budget for charity, good job!!!!

  16. Working for no reward other than knowing you’ve done some good for others has a nice feeling about it. Giving money to charity is one thing, but actually getting stuck in and helping say on a church project is a great feeling.

    1. @ Geoff- I agree with you that it is a great feeling knowing that you were able to make a difference not with your wallet but with your abilities.

  17. talking about volunteers, incidentally today is that day for us, I am about to leave for cleaning a school yard and paint walls. I love it

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