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.