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Value of a Volunteer Soars 6.2%

The value of a volunteer hour is now estimated to be $31.80 — a 6.2% increase compared to 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.The data was compiled and released by Independent Sector and the Do Good Institute at the University of Maryland.

The District of Columbia topped the list at a flat $50 an hour, followed by Massachusetts at $39.16, Washington State at $37.63 and California at $37.32 and New York at $35.71. Puerto Rico was last at $14.87 an hour and Mississippi at $23.90.

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, according to information from Independent Sector.

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 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, according to information from Independent Sector.

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“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% in 2022) as well as the fact that volunteers are more scarce — harder to find, and thus more valuable — than they used to be.”

This article was originally published by The NonProfit Times.