Value of Volunteer Time increase is largest since start of pandemic
(WASHINGTON, April 19, 2023) – Independent Sector, with the Do Good Institute, announced today that the latest value of a volunteer hour is estimated to be $31.80 — a 6.2 percent increase over 2021. Estimated from data collected in 2022, the figure illustrates the valuable and significant contributions volunteers make every day to support our communities and nation.
Charitable organizations most frequently use the value of volunteer time to recognize the amount of community support an organization receives from its volunteers. Corporations also use the figure to calculate the value of staff volunteer efforts in communities around the country.
The state and national estimates of the value of volunteer time are based on the method used by Independent Sector in prior years. The primary assumption is that the value of volunteer service is based on the average earnings of private sector workers, excluding those who work on farms or in managerial occupations.
The latest value, calculated by the University of Maryland’s Do Good Institute, is measured based on annual average hourly earnings estimates that are available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Learn more about the methodology here.
The estimates may still understate the full value of volunteer service because they do not consider the many intangible benefits provided by volunteers that cannot be easily quantified.
“It is impossible to place a true dollar amount on the immeasurable contributions of time and effort that volunteers give freely to communities around our nation, whether during times of national disasters, or in daily acts of service,” said Dr. Akilah Watkins, President and CEO of Independent Sector. “We do know that without their empathy, bravery, and willingness to risk their lives to ensure residents continued to receive vital services throughout the COVID pandemic, many in our communities would not have fared as well. Volunteers are the ties that bind us as a nation and deserve our highest praise for keeping our democratic ideals alive.”
“With the incredible challenges presented over the last few years volunteers have been relied on more and more by mission-driven organizations to implement solutions, provide services, and help their neighbors and communities,” said Nathan Dietz, Research Director, Do Good Institute and the researcher responsible for calculating the estimates. “This is the largest year-over-year increase in the value of volunteer time that we’ve observed since the pandemic began. It probably reflects the impact of inflation (6.5 percent in 2022) as well as the fact that volunteers are more scarce — harder to find, and thus more valuable — than they used to be.”
In addition to the national number, Independent Sector also provides the state-level value of volunteer time for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. State level values range from $14.87 per hour for Puerto Rico to $50 per hour for the District of Columbia.
For more on the Value of Volunteer Time, the methodology, and to explore historical national and state-level data, visit independentsector.org/resource/value-of-volunteer-time.
The Do Good Institute, housed in the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, provides education, programs, research, and resources to develop the next generation of nonprofit leaders, social innovators and civic-minded students.
Independent Sector is the only national membership organization that brings together a diverse community of changemakers, nonprofits, foundations, and corporations working to strengthen civil society and ensure all people in the United States thrive. Learn more at www.independentsector.org
Kristina Gawrgy, 202-467-6144, [email protected]
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