When a staffing need presents itself, there are always two options. Find a volunteer, or hire an employee. The default has become to waste money by hiring someone. Why? Here is the thinking…
First – If we pay someone, then the job becomes desirable.
Second- We need to pay someone the going market rate for that position.
Because they have experienced positive results in doing this in the past, they assume that it is working. They are wrong. It is not the money that brings the success…it is the process.
Think about it for a moment. In order to hire a person, you go through many specific steps. You determine the need, formulate a job description, look at resumes, interview candidates, and work out the employment details. You work hard to find the right person. Of course it works – you put a huge amount of time and energy into filling the position.
For a volunteer , there is typically an announcement in a newsletter or website stating the need for help with something. The description is usually broad and unclear. The hours and duties are flexible (unclear) because they “don’t want to scare off” a potential volunteer. They end up with people that are looking for something to do, and like the flexibility that you have communicated (low commitment) and they take advantage of it…
If they simply went through the same process for finding volunteers as they do for hires, they would have great committed volunteers who would do the job for free (or close to it).
Most organizations are wasting huge amounts of money by paying people to do what others would be glad to do for free. And it is because they are lazy.