You know volunteers are essential, but are you taking their value for granted?

April 15, 2021

Intuitively, we know that nonprofit organizations would not be able to provide all the critical services that are needed without volunteers — but it’s easy to take for granted the economic impact they have on those organizations they support. Ben Franklin once wrote, “Time is money,” but sometimes, organizations forget to monetize that time when it comes to volunteers.

Independent Sector, along with the Do Good Institute, estimates the value of volunteer time to help organizations quantify the value volunteers contribute. In August of 2020, they released the average value of volunteer time for 2019 as $27.20 per hour. This provides a way for nonprofit organizations to monetize volunteer time and specifically recognize a volunteer’s time and energy.

“During this extraordinary time of challenge caused by COVID-19, when many organizations are struggling economically to maintain mission-critical operations, the contributions of volunteers are more important than ever and often a critical linchpin that enables nonprofit organizations to continue to provide needed services to help communities endure and survive the pandemic,” said Independent Sector President and CEO Dan Cardinali.

As we approach National Volunteer Week — April 18-24 — we encourage you to take a moment to consider what impact volunteers provide to your organization.

  • Do you know the total value volunteers have provided to your organization on an annual basis?
  • Have you recognized their contributions the same way you would a donor?
  • Have you offered volunteers an opportunity to tell you about their experiences?
  • Are you staying in touch with your volunteers after their initial participation?
  • Have you provided additional options for your volunteers to engage with you?

Use this week to ensure you acknowledge all your volunteers appropriately, not just your volunteer of the year.  Also, promote the fun and the sense of fulfillment volunteers receive when they donate their time to support your mission.

“Volunteering not only helps nonprofit organizations better support the people and communities they serve around the country but also promotes civic participation, helping to strengthen the ties that bind communities together,” said Robert T. Grimm, Jr., Director of the Do Good Institute. “Our nation is full of people whose time and talents make a positive difference in the lives of so many individuals, and the data just proves even further what a valuable asset volunteers are in building stronger and more equitable communities.”

The social isolation we experienced in 2020 has left all of us craving connections with our fellow humans. Wouldn’t it be great to set a goal for 2022 to establish a new national volunteer day — like Giving Tuesday — but instead — Giving Time Thursday — during National Volunteer Week?