Is Volunteering Worth It?

household budgets

Is volunteering worth the cost?

Is volunteering worth it…or would you (and the organization) be better off if you just gave money? As a RichMama you know I spend a lot of time micro managing my budget – so that you don’t have to – my goal is to find those unobvious (and obvious money sinks) and find ways to plug them.

And I recently realized that my good works were costing me money – way more money than I thought. Now I fully believe in giving time and money to worthy causes – from national organizations for diseases to more home grown ones like historic preservation and education. After all both of these causes are important – since I have kids and I live where I live because of its “charm”.

As a result of my dedication I have been asked, in recent years to head committees, join boards – in effect become more involved. I have met more people, had fun, planned cool things and raised money. In addition to my time I also made out right cash donations.

But as I counted those up – they seemed reasonnable – but still I felt like something was slipping through my fingers – I realized the hidden costs of being a volunteer…

– Babysitting, snacks and extra obligations
As a super volunteer, I was often asked to attend planning meetings and work at events…in many cases, I had to hire a babysitter in order to meet these commitments…(at about $60 a pop, with 1-2 meetings a month…)

As a super volunteer, I often brought refreshments to meetings to make it more fun – an app, a bottle of wine – (figure about $15-20 a pop 1-2 meetings month…)

Extras – donating anything from ribbons, to streamers to envelopes to tapes and markers – little things that somehow add up – $20 a month

Guess what my volunteering costs were close to $200 a month – not to mention the money I donated outright.

And then it hit me… wouldn’t it be better to split the difference – and give myself back a whole lot of time too (not to mention cost).

If gave the charity half of my volunteering costs they would see way more money and I would have way more money in my budget…for whatever…
I would have more time with my family or for myself…

But what does a charity need more — volunteers or cash. Are my time commitments priceless? Or is giving time better left for those without the obligations of young children, jobs, businesses, etc?

What do you think?