Many Volunteers = High Expense

Dwayne Phillips
1 min readFeb 11, 2021


by Dwayne Phillips

When many volunteers arrive, the expense shoots up. Are we prepared for this?

Volunteers are great! All those fine people arriving and willing to work for no pay.

Well, not exactly. A person’s time is worth money. A person’s time is worth other things. When a person volunteers, they are spending their resources on my cause instead of something else.

One hundred volunteers arrive. That is $100,000 an hour expense whether I pay them money or not. Consider the responsibility:

Am I managing this effort well enough for a $100,000 per hour expense?

Years ago I wrote a report titled, “Dedication Requires Management.” The point of the report was when there are dedicated persons who do the best they can all the time, I need to match that dedication with good management.

When I have 100 volunteers appear, I need to match that effort with good management. If I cannot provide that high-quality management, I have too many volunteers. I must politely and respectfully send 90 of them home until I am ready for them. I will probably need them one day, but only when my management expertise is up to the task.

Many volunteers bring a high expense. High expense means high waste unless I am able to manage well.



Dwayne Phillips

Engineer, computing, consulting, writing, teaching, and a few other things in an effort to make us all better and smarter.