Paying your Volunteers Well

This past weekend I was at a thank you brunch for the Edmonton Touring and Bicycle Club.  This got me thinking to get back to a post on volunteer organizations (see Knowers, Doers and Funders in Volunteer Boards) and specifically why do people volunteer in the first place?  From a rationale-economics model it makes absolutely no sense – giving away your time and talent for free. Volunteering is not limited to a few individuals either, according to a 2010 study by Statistics Canada, nearly half of us volunteer.  Recent models and the study of altruism in animals suggests that there is an evolutionary basis for volunteering (more on this in a second).

This inclination to volunteer is good for our community because it means, at a fundamental level, people want to contribute.  As a result, the question is how to encourage and sustain a natural inclination?  The answer is two part: payment and reducing as much as possible the burden of volunteering.  To start what I hope will be four additional blogs (insert good intentions here)….

The Currency of Volunteer Payment

Let’s start with the three currencies by which organizations can pay their volunteers:

This series is a companion to a previous blog entitled “Knowers, Doers and Funders in Volunteer Boards”.

The Burden of Volunteering

There is a ‘negative-payment’ involved in volunteering, the burden to do so.  My fourth blog will be and exploration of what are the impediments volunteer organizations put into place that dissuade volunteers.

As always, let me know what you think or send me your volunteer horror/success stories.

3 thoughts on “Paying your Volunteers Well

  1. I believe volunbteers should be well rewarded such that there is an equilibrium between the need/dermand for volunteer services and the supply of volunteers to participate because of the incentives, including social, financial and spiritual.

  2. Pingback: Paying Volunteers – Experience | Organizational Biology & Other Thoughts

  3. Pingback: Paying Volunteers – Purpose & Affiliation | Organizational Biology & Other Thoughts

Comments are closed.