If ya wanna help, ya gotta pay?
April 1, 2007 10:06 AM   Subscribe

Has anyone volunteered at the Lake Eden Arts Festival (LEAF)? My coworker wants to, but there is the question of a deposit check (for...volunteering?), which leads to my involvement in this situation.

My coworker wants to volunteer at LEAF next month and she apparently needs my help, but there are a couple of things that seem weird/unfamiliar to me. (Their website lays it out.)

First, there is a non-refundable application fee ($15), which is something I've never come across in my volunteering experience.

Second (and the big one), they are asking for a deposit check (made out for $130) to hold onto, which they claim they will tear up if volunteers come through but that they'll cash in case of no-show (or if volunteers cancel without 10 days of warning). I can understand that this is a big production and they need to have a guaranteed volunteer base, but that sounds excessive to me.

Here's where I come in: we're currently working away from our base of operations and my coworker doesn't have her checkbook with her. She has asked me to write a check in her name to send in, and when we get back to base (in a couple of weeks), she'll write me a check, so that if the festival cashes mine, I can then cash hers.

She is generally responsible, but I am generally loath to get involved in lending issues. So for the questions: Has anyone been involved in a situation with a volunteer deposit (ideally, this situation = this festival), and how did it work out? & What are the chances I could get screwed on this (say, if her check bounces)?
posted by kittyprecious to Work & Money (4 answers total)
I've never volunteered at the LEAF, but I've been and can attest to it's a-okay-ness. I would trust them to tear my check up.

However, if you aren't comfortable lending money to a friend (especially with the piggyback check cashing/destroying bit), then just don't do it. Say it's a "personal policy." :)
posted by 10ch at 11:18 AM on April 1, 2007

No personal experience, but I've seen quite a few festivals recently that require a volunteer deposit. It tends to be the equivalent of whatever tickets for the event would cost. (The one I'm familiar with asks for $90.) So $130 doesn't seem too out-of-line.

I'd say you're far more likely to be screwed by the friend flaking out & not paying you/not showing up to volunteer (& thus losing the deposit) than by the festival not tearing up the check.
posted by belladonna at 12:04 PM on April 1, 2007

My brother-in-law volunteered for LEAF two years ago by just showing up. He was traveling through the area and heard about the festival through word of mouth from people at campgrounds and on trails.

He asked at the gates how he could volunteer (because he didn't want to pay to get in) and they took him on without any sort of fee or deposit and without any advanced registration. I don't think he had much of a choice in what task he was assigned to (he worked two shifts at the entrance). He also offered to help with one of the kitchens in barter for some free food while he was in there.

So your co-worker might be able to work something out like that at the last minute. But this isn't probably the answer that you were looking for.
posted by peeedro at 5:46 AM on April 2, 2007

I have attended LEAF many times, I've worked there, and I have known a number of people who volunteered. Based on my experience, and lots of anecdotal evidence, I say it's a safe bet. The amount for the deposit is to discourage someone from attending the festival as a volunteer but failing to show up to work during their assigned time (and I have heard of that happening).

The administration is reputable and legit. Your arrangement with your friend, however is entirely up to you.
posted by Benjamin Nushmutt at 12:22 PM on April 2, 2007

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