The findings of this study showed that volunteer work is a major economic source in Iran. The findings of previous studies also confirm this16,19,20. Using volunteers in emergency situations is usual in the world and many countries are investing in it21-25. For example, a study in Australia was showed that the Australian Government, spent 83 million in a year for volunteer’s management for emergency management26. However, it should be noted that the benefits of volunteers in emergencies, because of their intangible character, cannot be monetized easily27-29.
The study also found that for every dollar the Iranian government spent on the project, it saved $ 2. Another study in Iran found that using the volunteer force for the Iranian government saved more than $ 4 per dollar30. The reason for the decrease in this rate in recent years is the devaluation of Iran's currency and the consequent rise in prices for various services such as food and transportation31. On the other hand, wages in Iran have not increased in proportion to the devaluation of the currency32. Thus, the VIVA rate has halved in five years. In other words, the cost of volunteer-oriented programs for humanitarian and government organizations has also increased. This suggests that these organizations need to analyze the benefit-cost analysis before starting the program. In addition, given the high costs such as food and transportation, humanitarian organizations and the government need to be careful in determining the optimal number of volunteers needed in humanitarian programs. Otherwise, they will have to pay a lot of money to pay for the logistics costs. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies published various reports on the value of voluntary programs in different countries33. The reports were indicated that the VIVA rate for a voluntary preparedness Programme by the New Zealand Red Cross was 41; voluntary emergency response program by Pakistan Red Crescent was 3; and a youth engagement in family medicine kit project by China Red Cross was 1133.
Iran is in one of the worst economic conditions in recent years34. If the plan was to be carried out by another organization, such as the Police, Army, and the Ministry of Health with permanent employees, the government might not have been able to pay for its funding and would not have done so at all. Moreover, in this study, the alternative method of wage and including the minimum wage of workers in Iran was used. If instead of the minimum wage, the average wage of health workers was used, the cost of this plan would certainly be much higher. This study focused only on the economic benefits of this project, but the social benefits of this project are also very significant. The project helped identify people with the disease2. It also sensitized the public to safety precautions to prevent the coronavirus2. The plan came as the government ordered a nationwide quarantine and did not intend to use military force to force people to stay home. Another goal of the project was to encourage people to stay home and not travel between cities2. Because with the implementation of this plan, long queues were created at the entrances and exits of all cities in Iran. This caused the passengers to get tired and return to their hometown, as well as other people to stop traveling. Voluntary program has positive impacts on volunteers themselves, including skills, social relations, and wellbeing35-37. However, it is also possible to determine whether other projects can be done at a lower cost. Measuring passenger fever is not the most accurate way to detect coronavirus. That's why it can be useful to spend a lot of money on such projects.