However, some items in our budget line are essential. And one of those is offering the volunteers in our team out-of-pocket expenses. Now obviously this doesn’t cover taxis and shoe wear and tear (for those who walk). But it does cover reasonable transportation costs to enable people to get to their volunteering work.
At the time of inducting a new volunteer into our work team we talk about our reimbursement policy. People know where the expense claim form is in the stationary cupboard. There is no embarrassment about asking. There’s the usual format for collating receipts and dates for the claim.
Not everyone will claim – that’s fine. For those who are students, Work and Income beneficiaries and therefore on minimal incomes – and any others who require that additional support – reimbursement of ‘getting to work’ costs can mean the difference between participating in the voluntary sector…or being excluded from the voluntary sector.
Volunteer Wellington is the champion of volunteering in Wellington and our vision is a strong and connected community and voluntary sector. This will only happen if we all consider every possible way to remove any barrier which may prevent people from volunteering.
And when volunteers – whether long-term or short-term – have had a rewarding and welcoming experience, they will never forget the mission and service of the organizations with whom they have worked. They will talk about us positively, when they’ve moved on. They will recommend our services to others. This is worth hundreds of dollars of promotional money.
To acquire a healthy budget line for reimbursement of costs there are several funders who want to see this visible acknowledgement of volunteer contribution. Lottery Community, COGS and the Community Trust of Wellington are among them.