Independent Sector, in partnership with Do Good Institute, has announced the new estimated national value of a volunteer hour:
Volunteers are critical assets to civil society and all of our communities. It’s important for leadership to understand the impact your employee volunteers have on society and social issues, and one of the many ways to do that is by calculating the value of their time.
What does this mean for corporate social responsibility practitioners?
You spend a lot of time tracking employee volunteer hours, either from company-sponsored programs or through encouraging employees to record their individual engagement activities. Allocating a dollar value to those volunteer hours is a straightforward way to calculate your employee volunteering program’s contributions. It also showcases the company’s overall employee volunteer input.
Additionally, a dollar sign is something most people can relate to, which is why an economic value can become a useful communication tool with the public and internal enterprise decision-makers. It provides you with evidence-based data for communication efforts.
When using this financial measure, we also advise that you account for the other types of value that volunteering brings – whether that’s related to business or societal goals – and the inherent value of employees freely giving their time.
Keep in mind:
- At Points of Light, we recognize the debate that exists in the volunteer sector related to assigning an economic value to volunteering. There are practical and philosophical issues with using this approach, as counting hours provides only a partial picture of the value that volunteers contribute to communities. It is also important to keep in mind that when referring to monetary expressions of value and explaining the costs and benefits of volunteering and volunteer programs in dollars, we are not disqualifying or rivaling other forms of valuation – qualitative or quantitative. The discussion paper put together by Volunteer Canada on the topic provides an insightful look into the practice of determining the economic value of volunteering.
- The $31.80 value of a volunteer hour is valid for the United States only.
- Generally, the $31.80 value of a volunteer hour can be applied to a wide range of traditional volunteer activities. For specialized, skilled pro bono services (especially if your company has a formalized pro bono program), we suggest looking into the valuation provided by the Taproot Foundation which announced that the average hourly value of pro bono service in 2019 is $195. Both forms of volunteering are critical to providing nonprofits with resources.
Learn more about the methodology behind Independent Sector’s new Value of Volunteer Time, and get the updated figures for all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.