From Chief Financial Officer, Marina Cook


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Valuing our volunteers

Something someone said a few weeks ago about our biggest asset got me thinking. Was it property? Was it staff? What about our volunteers? And if we could put a dollar value on our volunteers what would it be? So, let’s work it out!

The obvious one that comes to mind is supervision. There have been many comments recently about a paid person being responsible on roughly 78 percent of our sessions. Does this mean the role of the volunteer is defunct? Of course not.  In fact, absolutely and emphatically not.

What that 78 per cent statistic does not reveal is that it is only accounting for one or two of the many people who make up a session. In order to operate a session, the centre not only needs a person responsible, but also at least one secondary points holder and enough adults to make up the ratio. Playcentre has the highest parent-to-child ratio and with current enrolment numbers we have calculated an average session needs a minimum of four adults to operate.

That means for 1,517 sessions per week, 6,068 adults are required to be in attendance, of which 1,214 are paid. Which leaves 4,854 adult volunteers supporting our session.  For an average of three hours a session, that’s nearly 15,000 voluntary hours a week!

If we were to pay ECE minimum rates for those hours, it would cost at least $15.4m a year!

And that’s not all…

Supervision is only one part of a Playcentre’s voluntary commitment. Let’s not forget the office holders, working bees, fundraisers, and all the other voluntary roles our Centres simply could not operate without.

I have (very) conservatively estimated each Centre would have at least 10 hours a week of volunteer time outside of supervision. Across all our Centres if we were to pay, that would come to at least at least $3.7m a year.

So, a conservative estimate of our voluntary contribution is $19.1m per year!

Compare that to the roughly $14m we receive from the Ministry of Education and I think it’s more than fair to say our volunteers ARE our biggest asset and without you all there simply would be no Playcentre!   



Following the recent resignation of our National Property Manager, John Manning, I have taken over the role along with my finance hat. I am looking forward to working on this very important part of Playcentre Aotearoa.

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