Getting Paid to Volunteer

A week after flagging the watered down Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park featuring the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge a nifty check in the mail showed up signed by Skip Barber.

Is it right to get Paid to Volunteer?

Sounds counter intuitive doesn’t it… but is this the way of the future?

lime rock paycheck

I’m not sure but I will share my observations of it anyway.

It’s been a few years now since I started making noise about the lack of training. And while the US organizations have done little in the way of correcting this issue… (at least in the NYC metropolitan area where I live) save for an Introduction to Flagging school for new recruits offered at Lime Rock recently, other more established organizations like the Motorsport Safety Fund in the UK have released their training videos online for anyone to see and learn from.

This is fantastic on so many levels because doing the videos yourself, like I was contemplating of doing, while asking people for help on 10Tenths forums, is incredibly expensive and time consuming. And requires cooperation from racing series and circuits that we hardly ever get.

The other campaign I was actively promoting was Jessie’s web site. Which felt like an excellent idea and still is. Despite the little proceeds from the campaign that trickled down to select people at various events, it was a lot of fun trying to promote something on such a grassroots level. Lime Rock was the place where during Grand Am season finale in 2013 Sponsor A Flagger gave away over $1,000 worth of gift cards, many thanks to the generosity of Starworks Team, as well as CJWilson Racing.

This year the activity on has been toned down, maybe as a result of tracks like Lime Rock Park now offering to pay flaggers for their services. Which is a good thing, I think. Gone are the excuses that we don’t take this seriously. If you do a particularly bad job you will not get paid, or at least not be allowed another opportunity to participate in order to earn that paycheck.

So finally lets focus on my latest campaign: Marshal Cam. A grassroots way to promote marshaling to automotive and motorsport enthusiasts who may enjoy seeing race cars up close in person. The social media has been a great tool to help spread the word but only time will tell how effective it will be.

However, race tracks like Lime Rock offering to pay people for flagging, as an incentive may be far more effective. Even if, when you break it down, you’re barely making enough money to cover the cost of fuel getting to the event, it certainly is much better than nothing.

So thanks Skip Barber!

PS. you really do get paid to volunteer, because no matter what they pay it will never be competitive enough to be considered as a job. Take Lime Rock’s $50/day rate for IMSA weekend to NJMP’s $125/day rate for AMA Superbike weekend as a comparison.