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Value of Volunteer Hour Tops $28

Mark Hrywna

The value of a volunteer hour jumped almost 5 percent, eclipsing an estimated $28 per hour amid the pandemic.

The value of a volunteer hour was estimated at $28.54 in 2020, up $1.34 from $27.20 in 2019, according to assessments by Independent Sector, in partnership with the Do Good Institute at the University of Maryland.

The latest value, calculated by the Do Good Institute, is measured based on hourly earnings released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). While the pandemic might have had an impact on volunteerism, wages in 2020 for the employed actually increased, leading to an increased value of volunteer rate.

In addition to the national estimate of the value of a volunteer hour, Independent Sector provides value of volunteer time for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. State level values range from $13.74 per hour for Puerto Rico to $48.67 per hour for the District of Columbia.

“As we celebrate our volunteers during National Volunteer Week, we should know just how much value these tireless individuals contribute to creating a healthier and more equitable nation,” said Daniel J. Cardinali, president and CEO of Washington, D.C.-based Independent Sector. “As we work through our second year of a global pandemic when people, organizations, and communities continue to suffer, the contributions of volunteers have been an often life-saving and critical component to us enduring and rebuilding for future generations to come.”

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According to the Value of Volunteer Time report, and using data from AmeriCorps on volunteer hours, volunteers typically contribute nearly $200 billion to communities. It remains to be seen how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted volunteering but a recent study by Fidelity Charitable found that 66% of volunteers have decreased the amount of time, or stopped entirely due to the pandemic.

“The incredible challenges presented over the last year have been met time and time again by passionate, motivated, and generous people who are ready to help their neighbors and communities,” said Nathan Dietz, senior researcher, Do Good Institute and the researcher responsible for calculating the findings. “All across the country, every day, these volunteers are offering their time and expertise to implement solutions, provide services, and help rebuild communities—but their value is often overlooked or often times is incalculable,” he said in a press release.

For more on the value of volunteer time, the methodology, and to explore historical national and state-level data, visit independentsector.org/valuevolunteers.

This article first ran at The NonProfit Times. It is reprinted with permission. 

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Mark Hrywna
Mark Hrywna

Senior Editor, NonProfit Times. Journalist currently covering various aspects of the nonprofit sector, including fundraising, finance, technology and more for The NonProfit Times, a national trade publication.

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