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New "Hour" Value of Volunteer Time


20 March 2003 at 12:03 pm
Staff Reporter
It's often said that the value of volunteering is immeasurable. However the US Not for Profit research group, the INDEPENDENT SECTOR has identified the dollar value of volunteering at an hourly rate to help quantify this community resource.

Staff Reporter | 20 March 2003 at 12:03 pm


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New "Hour" Value of Volunteer Time
20 March 2003 at 12:03 pm

It’s often said that the value of volunteering is immeasurable. However the US Not for Profit research group, the INDEPENDENT SECTOR has identified the dollar value of volunteering at an hourly rate to help quantify this community resource.

The INDEPENDENT SECTOR says that the 2002 value of volunteer time has increased by nearly 50 cents an hour to $16.54 per hour. That’s in US currency. So in today’s Australian equivalent where the Aussie Dollar gets around 60 cents to the US dollar the hourly rate equates to a hefty $27.36 per hour!

And according to researchers the value of volunteer time has increased by nearly 50 cents US on last year. (That’s 30 cents Australian.)

The researched hourly value, updated yearly by INDEPENDENT SECTOR is based on the average hourly earnings of all non-agricultural workers as determined by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It takes this figure and increases it by 12 percent to estimate for fringe benefits.

The INDEPENDENT SECTOR CEO Peter Shiras says the monetary value of volunteer time serves as an estimate to help organisations quantify this valuable resource.

Shiras says the IS produces a biennial survey on the giving and volunteering patterns of Americans. According to the most recent US survey, 44% of adults volunteered. That’s about 84 million Americans!

When asked why they gave of their time, respondents cited compassion as the most commonly cited motivating factor. Survey participants also attributed their volunteering to the belief that those who have more should help those with less. Volunteers also gave of their time because they knew of someone who would benefit from their volunteering, and others said volunteering was a good way to meet people.

Gordon Green, the vice president of research at the IS says that while it is recognised that volunteers offer a wide variety of services, this estimate provides a uniform way for volunteer managers, Not for Profit executives, government agencies, and others to account for the value of volunteer time.

The IS says that assuming the same number of volunteer hours was served in America in 2002 as in 2000, the total dollar value of volunteer time in 2002 is estimated at $US 256.4 billion.

In December 2002, The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimated the overall economic value of volunteer services to be worth $AUD8.9 billion.

INDEPENDENT SECTOR is a Not for Profit , non-partisan coalition of more than 700 national organisations, foundations, and corporate philanthropy programs. Its mission is to promote, strengthen, and advance the Not for Profit and philanthropic community to foster private initiative for the public good.

Given the high dollar equivalent to this US research (which includes fringe benefits –can someone spell out what they might be?) what’s your opinion of this hourly rate and does it help your organisation to account for this community resource?

Why not join our Forum and tell us what you think. Click on ‘Forum’ in the menu across the top of this page.




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