The Value of Volunteering

This blog was originally published on BBB Wise Giving Alliance, our partner.When considering the value of implementing a volunteer program into your employee engagement and corporate social responsibility strategies, keep in mind the monetary value of volunteering. 

The history of volunteering in the U.S. is a long and generous one from helping out neighbors in barn raising two centuries ago to Habitat for Humanity and similar charities building homes today. And, of course, volunteering is not just about building structures but can address everything from delivering meals to the elderly to educating children. While the personal benefits and joys of providing this assistance are very real for participants, it can be difficult to quantify. There is, however, an estimated dollar value of a volunteer hour. This past week, Independent Sector, the national nonprofit membership organization, in conjunction with IMPLAN, a provider of economic impact analysis software, announced that the value of the volunteer hour in the United States is $24.69 per hour which is up 2.2 percent from the previous year.

As further noted by Independent Sector, 63 million Americans volunteer about 8 billion hours to a variety of charitable organizations. IS also produced a state-by-state chart of volunteer data that is available here.

BBB Wise Giving Alliance encourages potential volunteers to find out more about the charity before volunteering and visit to verify if the subject charity meets the BBB Standards for Charity Accountability. In addition, we offer the following tips:

  • Consider what the charity expects of its volunteers.
  • Are you seeking a one-day offer of assistance or a continuing arrangement with the subject organization?
  • Keep in mind that the IRS does not allow you to deduct the value of your time as a donation, but travel expense such as gas and other incidental expenses might be deductible.
  • Charities can use volunteers in a variety of ways depending on the skills of the individuals providing assistance. Be aware that many charities need help with office work so don’t expect all volunteering is about delivering services to the needy.

Volunteers are usually welcomed throughout the year, so don’t wait until the holiday giving season before offering a helping hand.

When planning your organization’s volunteer program, check out our volunteer opportunity locator to find opportunities by keyword and zip code and our Volunteer On The Spot Guide to organize in-office volunteer events.