When your youth sports club, association or league needs additional people to help with tryouts, work at a tournament, assist at practice, games or another event, you likely recruit volunteers.

For organizations, asking parents, friends, and others in the community to help can seem like an easy and low-cost way to gain additional staff. After all, by definition, volunteers don’t get paid for their services.

However, while a volunteer’s time might be “free” for the sports club, it’s still very valuable to the individual.

Take a look at what a volunteer’s time is really worth.

Monetary Value

Everyone’s time is valuable, from a club employee who earns a salary or an hourly wage, to a “free” volunteer. Take a closer look at the monetary value of a volunteer’s time.

Hourly Wages Breakdown

According to IndependentSector.org, the average cost of a volunteer’s time is $24.69 per hour. That number is based on the Independent Sector’s calculation of estimated hourly earnings of production and non-management roles in private, non-farm payrolls. The organization then increased that number by 12 percent to account for fringe benefits. 

The hourly wage for volunteers, as determined by the Independent Sector, has increased 51.8 percent since 2001. Matt Perdoni, the director of business development for the Independent Sector, attributes the rise to more volunteer services being performed by professionals such as lawyers, communications specialists and others.

That means every time you ask a volunteer to spend a few hours at an event, or create communications materials, or review a contract or assist with accounting efforts for a fundraiser, that work is valued at a minimum of about $25 per hour.

Cost of Missing Work

When people volunteer to help your sports club, they could be taking time off from their regular – and paying — jobs. This can cost them a vacation day at work, which would be worth eight hours of their regular salary. It could also mean that they have work to finish at home during their off-hours or on the weekend to make up the missed time at their job. 

Priceless Value

Aside from the monetary value, there are other costs associated with a volunteer’s time. These can actually be more valuable to volunteers than an hourly wage.

Time Away from Their Families

When a person volunteers for your club, they are choosing to spend their time with your organization and miss time with their own children and families. While volunteers are opting to participate in these events for your club without any obligations, it is still taking away from their time at home. 

Time Away from Hobbies, Other Interests

Volunteers are opting to help your sports club with its events, tryouts, and tournaments, instead of pursuing their own interests. Just because your organization feels like your sport is a priority, that doesn’t mean it is for everyone, including your volunteers. These individuals could belong to their own sports league that they’re missing to help with your event, or they could be missing an art class or music lesson or other events for their various hobbies.

Missed Social Time

While the sports club might be the biggest priority for your paid staff members, your volunteers likely have interests and obligations outside of the organization and the event they are helping with. It’s important to be cognizant that volunteers are giving away time they could have spent socializing with their friends and family. Instead of going to a movie or out to dinner or another activity they like to do in their free time, they are opting to spend time with your club.

Lost Rest and Relaxation Time

Everyone works hard. When putting on an event, your paid staff members are likely working overtime to make it a success. While you’re feeling overworked, don’t forget that your volunteers are helping you in addition to their other commitments. They’ve likely already put in time at their full-time job and spent time on their other responsibilities and are now giving you whatever free hours they have left in their day or week. Instead of spending the time relaxing and trying to get some rest from their other obligations, they are choosing to donate their R&R time to your organization.

Conclusion

It can be an easy mistake to count volunteer time and tasks as “free” labor for your sports club. While this time doesn’t go on your books and come out of your budget, it’s important to be aware that this time is very costly – and valuable – to the volunteers. They are choosing to help your club instead of spending time at work, with their families and friends, or even just relaxing.

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