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Volunteer Time Value Rises to $29.95 Per Hour, Report Finds

Do Good Institute Partners With Nonprofit to Show That Communities Nationwide Benefitted in 2021 From Volunteer Time, Skills and Efforts, Despite Pandemic Challenges

By Independent Sector Staff and Kaitlin Ahmad

Terp volunteers clear debris

CIVICUS living-learning program members Kaitlyn Kim (left), Adriana Giuliani and Matthew Oliver clear debris from Hollywood Elementary School on Good Neighbor Day in November. The Value of Volunteer Time estimate produced by UMD’s Do Good Institute and Independent Sector helps to acknowledge the millions of individuals who give their time, talents and energy to making a difference.

Photo by John T. Consoli

A volunteer hour’s worth climbed 4.9% last year to $29.95, according to a report released Monday by the University of Maryland’s Do Good Institute and Independent Sector, a national coalition of nonprofits, foundations and corporate giving programs.

The Value of Volunteer Time report, using data from AmeriCorps on volunteer hours, estimated that volunteers typically contribute nearly $200 billion annually to U.S. communities.

The study measured value based on hourly earnings of private sector workers, excluding those who work on farms or in managerial occupations, released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Wages increased in 2021, along with inflation, accompanied by a reported drop in volunteerism due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Value of Volunteer Time rate still increased.

Nathan Dietz, senior researcher at the Do Good Institute in the School of Public Policy, was responsible for calculating the findings. “While the immensity of the value of their contributions can never truly be calculated, the value of Value of Volunteer Time serves to provide a measure of the significance of the support and services they provide when our communities and neighbors are in need,” he said.

In addition to the national number, Independent Sector also provided the state-level value of volunteer time for all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Those values ranged from $14.11/hour for Puerto Rico to $50.48/hour for the District of Columbia.

“The essential contributions made by our nation’s volunteers to lift up, strengthen and restore communities to make them healthy and equitable for people are always deeply appreciated, but never more so than during the pandemic,” said Dan Cardinali, president and CEO of Independent Sector. “Despite COVID-19’s devastating impact, which began in 2020 and continues through today, our country’s volunteers continued to show up, virtually and in person, with their compassion, skills and abilities. They often put their own lives at risk. They are the threads that connect us as a nation, constantly reinforcing the foundation of civil society and helping build pathways so we all can thrive.”

For more on the Value of Volunteer Time and the methodology, and to explore historical national and state-level data, visit independentsector.org/value-of-volunteer-time-2022/.

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