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Ending the Overhead Myth — and Moving Toward a Solution

Ending the Overhead Myth — and Moving Toward a Solution

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  • "Educate funders on the real cost of results." This includes regarding the costs of volunteer engagement. By reporting the value of volunteer engagement as an hourly monetary rate, organizations are implying that the value of volunteer engagement is that its free (unpaid) labor - and this not only doesn't truly value volunteer engagement, it also leads to the thinking, "Hey, let's lay off some paid staff and just get volunteers to do it!" It also implies that volunteers are cost-free - they are not. So educate funders on both the value of volunteers - why are some tasks better done by volunteers rather than paid staff (and vice versa?)? What is the mission of your organization's volunteer engagement? What are volunteers actually accomplishing that furthers your organization's mission? - and the real costs of recruiting and supporting volunteers (staff time to create tasks, to supervise volunteers, software to track volunteer information and activities, costs for criminal background checks, costs to train staff and volunteers in using various tools, etc.). This approach further helps debunk the overhead myth.

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