Independent Sector has announced that the estimated value of a volunteer hour reached $20.85 in 2009, up 60 cents from 2008.
The estimate is based on the average hourly wage (plus 12 percent, to allow for fringe benefits) of all non-management, non-agricultural workers, as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Charitable organizations most frequently use the estimate for recognition events or communications to calculate the amount of community support an organization receives from its volunteers. According to the Financial Accounting Standards Board, the value of volunteer services can also be used on financial statements — including statements used for internal and external purposes, grant proposals, and annual reports — if a volunteer is contributing a specialized skill to a nonprofit.
This year, IS also estimated the value of a volunteer hour in each state. For 2008 — the latest year for which state-level data is available — the estimated value ranged from $14.66 in Montana to $32.74 in the District of Columbia. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, 61.8 million Americans, or 26.4 percent of the adult population, volunteered eight billion hours worth an estimated $162 billion in 2008, while volunteer labor produced an estimated 6.8 million full-time equivalent employees, increasing total charitable impact by more than 50 percent. Nonprofits employ some 12.9 million workers — almost 10 percent of the American work force — and comprise about 5 percent of GDP.
"America's heritage of giving back is unique and distinctive," said Independent Sector president and CEO Diana Aviv. "Whether we help a single individual or ignite change that benefits millions, people in this country have come together through voluntary organizations for over two hundred and thirty years. Children who grow up learning to give back not only strengthen their communities but enrich their own lives in countless ways. We celebrate that spirit of selfless service."