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SWharton

Volunteering as a Single

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We have been several places and worked with a single volunteer. Typically they have been larger programs where perhaps the odds just favor finding a single in among the couples.

Some places require additional hours from the single, the most common I've seen is USFWS sites requiring 32 hours/week from a single vs. 24 hours/week from each member of a couple. And we know two couples where the husband volunteers and works the necessary hours but the wife does no volunteer hours.

We've run across sites now that ask a total number of hours for a site, without caring how the hours are accomplished. And we have been to places where the requirement is 24 hours per person, whether the site is occupied by a single or a couple. 

I just looked at Volunteer.Gov under FWS listings and scanned the first 5 entries for resident RV volunteers. All of them listed provisions for a single, or at least didn't require a couple. Some ask for the 32 hours, others 24.

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in some cases they may prefer couple but are willing to accept a single if you ask. All I have ever done was as a single.

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I am single and have volunteered in State and National Parkes. The State Park required 24 hours a week for my RV site. The National Park I am going to this summer will require 32 hours. 

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It depends on the needs of the facility  We have worked with singles,  we have worked with couples where only one worked.  It also depends on how many have applied and how many rv sites are available.  

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Following this thread.  My wife has an internet business that owns her throughout the day (and often in to the evening) so ideally if we can find a place where I can volunteer would be great....especially since I come from a maintenance background.

 

What is the "FWS" listings mentioned above?

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On 4/23/2017 at 1:04 PM, mptjelgin said:

 

Fish and Wildlife Service

Many of their postings can be found on Volunteer.gov

 

 

Better yet, use the USFWS volunteer page to go directly to the facility that you are considering. 

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The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.

24 hours a week is $174 or $696 a month.
32 hours a week is $232 or $928 a month

24 hours per couple each is $348 or $1,392 a month

Walmart & McDonald's pay much more per hour.

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1 hour ago, Biker56 said:

The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.

24 hours a week is $174 or $696 a month.
32 hours a week is $232 or $928 a month

24 hours per couple each is $348 or $1,392 a month

Walmart & McDonald's pay much more per hour.

My wife and I have volunteered over 14,000 hours in the past 8 years. It has absolutely nothing to do with equivalent pay.  Nothing. Nada. Zero. 

It seems that every time a volunteer topic comes up someone feels the need to point out the poor "pay".  If you need an income then Walmart and McDonald's are definitely the way to go. But obviously that isn't the reason that folks volunteer. 

If you don't like to volunteer or don't think it is worth your time, great. Don't volunteer. But don't feel like you need to educate those of us who do on what the value of our time is. Because you don't get it...

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Money comparisons have absolutely nothing to do with volunteering!!!!  That's not the idea of volunteering.  Do volunteers in a soup kitchen compare what they could be making at McDonalds?

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For over a decade we were Red Cross Volunteers in our home town. When in town one week a month we were on call 24/7. We did this for the good of the community. We belonged to several organizations: Quilting(we made Quilts of Valor for the vets); Golfing(volunteered at many USGA events), Model RR Club(had a Christmas show at the local library that attracted 4000 people each year in one weekend). Food baskets, clothing etc for the needy. We thoroughly enjoyed all these opportunities we had to assist other people.

I feel sorry for people who feel they must be paid for whatever they do. The US has a strong volunteer backbone, possible these people are from overseas and don't recognize that is somewhat ingrained in our culture to volunteer.

Just look at when we have a disaster, everyone pretty much assists as best they can. Just look at the Cajun Navy as one of our newer innovations for volunteering.

We live a fulfilling life with our volunteering, the satisfaction we receive from volunteering is not measurable by money.

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I only take volunteer jobs. I do not want to be paid. If I accept a paying job then I will have to file a tax return in multiple states and get modest refunds. The cost of the CPA to prepare the returns will be more than the refunds. I value the free site and free electric more than the pay. 

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10 hours ago, Biker56 said:

24 hours per couple each is $348 or $1,392 a month

Walmart & McDonald's pay much more per hour.

 

5 hours ago, 2gypsies said:

Money comparisons have absolutely nothing to do with volunteering!!!! 

 

3 hours ago, Twotoes said:

I only take volunteer jobs.

Some very good answers. Some people simply do not do anything without pay. Those of us who do volunteer lead children's activities, while others drop their kids off and then complain about what their kids experience. We clean up parks and others leave the trash for us. We do the things that won't get done otherwise since there is no money to pay for it, while others are not content to not help but feel the need to criticize the people who do volunteer and they always find a reason to do so.

Quote
vol·un·teer
noun
1.   a person who voluntarily offers himself or herselffor a service or undertaking.
2.   a person who performs a service willingly andwithout pay.

 

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Quote

Money comparisons have absolutely nothing to do with volunteering!!!!  That's not the idea of volunteering.  Do volunteers in a soup kitchen compare what they could be making at McDonalds?

Quote

Some people simply do not do anything without pay.

I think that some people may bring up the wage comparisons because RV volunteering is often recommended on this and other RV forums as a way to stretch the budget/save money on camping fees. There are often discussions about how many hours are appropriate/tolerable (money comparison? maybe, maybe not). Most local volunteers for public agencies and soup kitchens do not get free rent, propane, etc., no matter how many hours they volunteer. The income tax rules/regulations allow volunteers for public agencies and charities to receive compensation in the form of housing/RV site with no tax liability. In comparison, State department rules/regulations consider such nonmonetary compensation as prohibited income for noncitizens  that do not have an appropriate visa or work authorization. So it is difficult for say Canadians to volunteer and receive a free campsite. Those  that do not have the proper visa/work authorization can volunteer (just like members of the local community) if they pay for their campsite or provide their own lodging elsewhere.

We volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. A typical work week is 32-40 hours. We pay for our RV site. Sometimes it is a nominal charge to cover utilities other times  it is more or we have to stay at a local campground that may or may not give a discount. Some affiliates may provide snacks at coffee break or lunch. The interest in the Escapees Habitat for Humanity BOF was low and it disbanded.   

Edited by TCW

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What percent of volunteer's would still volunteer if they had to pay for their camping site & electric?

It's wonderful that so many here love to volunteer and help. Nothing wrong with that.

The wages I posted was to show how much volunteer's was giving back over the regular campers paying for their site.
Sorry I didn't mean for everyone to get their panties in a wade. :)

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9 hours ago, TCW said:

I think that some people may bring up the wage comparisons because RV volunteering is often recommended on this and other RV forums as a way to stretch the budget/save money on camping fees.

 

36 minutes ago, Biker56 said:

What percent of volunteer's would still volunteer if they had to pay for their camping site & electric?

Valid points.  In the past couple of years we've seen more volunteers who seem to do it primarily for the free site and who appear to have little interest in the volunteering aspect. This has been most obvious at a couple of state parks where volunteers are being allowed to stay year-round. This is not a positive trend in my opinion as these volunteers seem to do the bare minimum or not even that. But I suppose that is a park management issue, just as it would be with an under-performing employee.

On the other side of the coin are volunteers who put in far more than the requested minimum number of hours simply because they enjoy what they are doing and see value in it. Most volunteers that we've worked with fall into this category. 

When I speak to Volunteer Coordinators they are certainly seeking out folks who enjoy and value volunteering over those who are simply looking for free lodging, but it is sometimes difficult to tell the difference until it is too late. 

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9 hours ago, TCW said:

I think that some people may bring up the wage comparisons because RV volunteering is often recommended on this and other RV forums as a way to stretch the budget/save money on camping fees.

That is because the impact of not having to pay for an RV site clearly does stretch a limited budget. For us, volunteering also helps to keep us busy and interested and gives us a sense of satisfaction from accomplishment and thus avoids any boredom that might lead to finding some means of staying busy that would cost money. We happen to enjoy working with wildlife habitat programs and studies and find it a form of recreation that costs nothing when living in the location of the work. The net effect is that we do save significant expenses while performing a service that would either take from a limited budget or not get done. As it happens, we also do volunteer work of similar types when not traveling, and in fact, spent all day yesterday at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center helping to put on an event for the public and we drove there from our house, receiving no compensation or benefits. For us, the value received from most volunteer positions is far greater than monetary benefits. 

44 minutes ago, Biker56 said:

What percent of volunteer's would still volunteer if they had to pay for their camping site & electric?

While many of us would do so, there are bound to be those who either would not or who could not. In my case, we could not have afforded to do nearly so many such positions had we been required to pay for an RV site as we would probably have found ourselves doing some sort of paid work at least part of each year in order to be able to travel as extensively as we have. The reason that agencies like the USFWS are spending their limited capital funds on adding RV sites and increasing the amenities is that they gain more in help than the cost of their expenses. The RV sites do have value and to some of us, it goes far beyond the limited money that we save. We get to live in areas with only a few other volunteers or even all alone, wherein a paid park there would be dozens of other RVs if not hundreds. I would far rather stay in a site on some wildlife refuge or historic site than in the most luxurious of commercial parks. I also put great value in the sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that I gain from the things which I do that would not happen if the agency had to pay someone to do them. I have always felt rewarded by the people or children that I have been able to influence as a volunteer leader before we retired and today as one who volunteers in places that we visit. Even now that we are sitting in our home-base we continue to do this sort of work and spent yesterday doing it at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center. 

On 4/14/2018 at 6:47 AM, Biker56 said:

The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.

Actually, your numbers do add something to this thread as they point out the reason that what we do is considered to be volunteering and is not taxed. Unfortunately, posts such as yours tend to be taken by most of us who do this as attacks but perhaps they shouldn't be. There is no doubt that some such posts have been attacks on the integrity or intelligence of those of us who enjoy this lifestyle, but you may well be an exception to that. I take great pride in the value of the many hours that we have spent as volunteers in different locations and your post does add a perspective to that value. I have an award from the USFWS for 2000 hours of volunteer time and Pam has one for 1500 hours. We each now have a 500-hour award from the NPS and we have several other awards for service from various agencies. 

1 hour ago, Biker56 said:

The wages I posted was to show how much volunteer's was giving back over the regular campers paying for their site.

Thank you for pointing out that aspect of RV volunteeing !

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When any employer provides housing it is for the convince of the employer not the employee. The employer want its employee to be close by. When you volunteer it is not about how much the hours are worth. The free RV site is given as a convince to the employer so that you will remain close ro the volunteer site and show up, and show up on time. It is an additional benefit to the employee who is not getting paid to have a camp site at no cost. The value of the camp site or hours worked is irrelevant. 

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