Paying To Be A Volunteer

A bicycle club in my area recently put  out a call for volunteers.  In trying to volunteer, however, I discovered that I had to first register and pay for the ride!  I would be reimbursed after I completed my volunteer duties.

I did not proceed for two reasons:

  • to me, the nature of getting volunteers requires some risk, specifically that all those who volunteer may not show up on the event day  due to illness, weather or no reason in particular
  • if I am giving my time to help the club involved, in exchange for all the services of joining the ride after my duties are done, there is a quid pro quo right there

I did try to get some specifics about why this club felt the need to go this route, but as of yet have not heard back.

I do not resent that they are doing this.  If it works for them, all the more power.

However, I fail to see the why.

If the club needs to actually shell out money so the volunteer can ride and get all the services, that does create a bit of understanding. However,  I would just build into the equation the expectation that x% of no show volunteers will result in a $y cost of running the event.

If the club thinks that volunteers who want to ride are more likely to show up  under these terms, they are probably right.  Will they get enough volunteers, however?  What about the volunteers who have jobs that do not allow them to do the ride?

Anyway, if anyone out there cares to enlighten me or comment, please feel free to do so.


3 thoughts on “Paying To Be A Volunteer”

  1. Hi Glenn,
    I’ve done the ride that you are speaking of 2 and 3 years ago and really enjoyed.

    I had to pay as a volunteer and then was refunded after I put in a few hours of work in Babylon. It wasn’t a big deal. Volunteers get their money back and are treated well.

    I then jumped on the bike and rode the 100 miles with other volunteers and caught up with the mass of paying riders around mile 50. The food is really good and a hot shower at the is the cherry on the cake.

    There are also mutiple trains that riders can take home.
    I was impressed with how well organized the ride was.

    For some reason I couldn’t do it last year but I’m really looking forward to it this year. I hope you re-consider and volunteer.

    In prior years LIBC and MPBC members had a handful of people volunteering in Babylon.

    If you want any more info then you can also leave a msg for me on the MPBC forum. There is a thread on this ride (montauk century)….its only 2 months away…May 16!

    Here is a little more info on volunteering

    Take care,
    Paul Santoro (roadndirtrider)

  2. I too was put off by having to lay out money. I mean, I rarely pre-register for a ride preferring to see if the weather is going to be acceptable. I’d rather pay more day of then lose the whole amount or ride and not enjoy it. It was explained to me that people in the past have offered to help, gotten their arm bands and split for the ride without helping. I can understand their concern to a degree but still I was not willing to commit by paying.

    I got a phone call a week ago asking if I was still interested and I explained that I was but didn’t want to lay out the money. It was offered to me to do it without paying. I agreed.

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