Recruiting volunteers, collaborating with partners, and getting it done in the field are what we are all about. In Saginaw, Bay City, and throughout the Saginaw Bay Watershed, the impact of COVID-19 on our work has been severe. This year we had pre-planned over a dozen corporate partnerships and community volunteer events, most of which had been pre-filled with 50 confirmed volunteers.
You can get a lot of work done with 50 extra pairs of hands!
At a typical event, we would work for no less than three hours with about 50 volunteers. The going rate for a volunteer in terms of match value for a federal grant is around $25 an hour. The math is discouraging:
50 volunteers X 3 hours of labor each = 150 volunteer hours
150 volunteer hours X $25 per hour = $3,750 in labor per event
$3,750 per event X 8 canceled events = $30,000 in lost labor revenue
We have done our best to work in overdrive, making up for lost volunteer labor with extra staff fieldwork, and we have rarely worked harder as a team.
Now, we have a chance to start turning the tide. We have developed a COVID-19 Safety Policy (read it HERE or download a PDF HERE), and we have secured a grant from our supporters at the Bay Area Community Foundation to have a handwashing station and plenty of protective gear, masks, and sanitizer on hand. We are only scheduling volunteer work that can be done in a socially-distant way, outdoors.
That $30,000 of labor is heartbreaking, but even more heartbreaking is the thought of 1,200 hours of labor cleaning up vacant lots, planting trees, and maintaining trails that never happened. Those 1,200 hours worth of work are largely still out there. This week, we will hold our first volunteer opportunity, in Saginaw, on Wednesday morning. Contact us if you want to help.
If you want to be a part of our regular call for volunteers, stay tuned to these emails and follow our Facebook page. For even more direct engagement in our volunteer organization, join our SBLC Volunteers Group to receive opportunities before they go fully public. I hope you have an opportunity to read our COVID-19 Safety Policy, as I believe you will see we are taking no chances to put a small number of dedicated volunteers to work.
After all, even though the pandemic continues, the need to save our communities has not gone away. Join us.
With hope for our community and an open heart,