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How to Calculate the Value of Volunteer Time

Stacks of coins in front of a blue clock: How to calculate the value of volunteer time
Sara Leonard

Some things in life are hard to put a value on — love, passion, dedication, selflessness. These are all attributes volunteers embody, but how can nonprofits determine the value of a volunteer hour?

Each year, Independent Sector gathers data and conducts research on volunteerism in the nonprofit sector. The results of that research provide nonprofits a way to calculate the value of volunteer time. As of April 2023, their estimated national value of each volunteer hour is currently $31.80, a 6.2% increase from the previous year.


Why does knowing the value of volunteer time matter?

Understanding the value of volunteers to nonprofit organizations is important because it helps leaders and organizations make a case for volunteer programs, appropriately budget and understand the financial value of what is often perceived as “free” labor.

“Volunteers in the United States are 63 million strong and hold up the foundation of civil society. They help their neighbors, serve their communities and provide their expertise. No matter what kind of volunteer work they do, they are contributing in invaluable ways.”

Additionally, volunteer work varies widely across organizations and functional areas. Some volunteers provide the lowest skilled work while others require extensive training. Recently, my teenage daughter waved a sign outside a food distribution event. Conversely, my nephew is a doctor and volunteers regularly by providing medical support. Is there a difference in the value of volunteer time if a nonprofit had to pay for it? Certainly. Independent Sector does extensive research to factor in those variations, and their estimated national value is a figure your organization can use with confidence when determining the value of volunteer time.

Volunteer work strengthens nonprofit organizations and our communities. Volunteers change lives, and this volunteer hour calculator will help you show the strong business case for volunteers within your organization.

 

READ NEXT: 5 Creative Ways to Recognize Volunteers

Get Your Certificate in Volunteer Management

The Certificate in Volunteer Management prepares today’s volunteer managers to more effectively recruit, retain and recognize volunteers. Developed to address the challenges all volunteer managers encounter, the curriculum is designed by Hands On Network, the volunteer-focused arm of Points of Light Institute. 

During three sessions, Sara Leonard, MBA, CFRE, will lead you through interactive exercises to gain knowledge and skills to use immediately when you get back to your organization.

  • Understanding Volunteering
  • Planning Your Volunteer Program
  • Recruiting and Placing Volunteers
  • Orienting and Training Volunteers
  • Supervising Volunteers
  • Evaluating Your Volunteer Progra

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Sara Leonard

MBA, CFRE

Sara is a solutions-oriented advancement professional with more than 25 years of experience in development and administration in the nonprofit field. She received her bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Tampa and her MBA from the University of South Florida. She is a Certified Fund Raising Executive and has been named as a Master Trainer by the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Earn Your Certificate Today!

The Certificate in Volunteer Management consists of three half-days of interactive and practical training in the best practices relevant to today’s volunteer manager. The curriculum is designed by Hands On Network, the volunteer-focused arm of Points of Light Institute.

Start your certificate today!

The Certificate in Volunteer Management consists of three half-days of interactive and practical training in the best practices relevant to today’s volunteer manager. The curriculum is designed by Hands On Network, the volunteer-focused arm of Points of Light Institute.

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