Volunteer Time Worth $18.77/Hour

Washington, DC (July 1, 2007)- According to Independent Sector, a leadership forum for charities, foundations, and corporate giving programs committed to advancing the common good in America and around the world, the estimated dollar value of volunteer time is $18.77 per hour for 2006. The estimate helps acknowledge the millions of individuals who dedicate their time, talents, and energy to making a difference. Charitable organizations can use this estimate to quantify the enormous value volunteers provide.

One of Independent Sector’s activities is to sponsor research so that staff, boards, and volunteers can improve their organizations and better serve their communities. Current research available on Independent Sector’s website includes a report on the estimated dollar value of volunteer time in 2006. This estimate helps acknowledge the millions of individuals who dedicate their time, talents, and energy to making a difference. Visit the website listed above for detailed report findings.
The value of volunteer time is based on the average hourly earnings of all production and nonsupervisory workers on private nonfarm payrolls (as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics). Independent Sector takes this figure and increases it by 12 percent to estimate for fringe benefits.
Charitable organizations most frequently use the value of volunteer time for recognition events or communications to show the amount of community support an organization receives from its volunteers.
According to the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), the value of volunteer services can also be used on financial statements- including statements for internal and external purposes, grant proposals, and annual reports- only if a volunteer is performing a specialized skill for a nonprofit. The general rule to follow when determining if contributed services meet the FASB criteria for financial forms is to determine whether the organization would have purchased the services if they had not been donated. Accounting specialists, may visit FASB’s website for regulations on use of the value of volunteer time on financial forms.
It is very difficult to put a dollar value on volunteer time. Volunteers provide many intangibles that cannot be easily quantified. For example, volunteers demonstrate the amount of support an organization has within a community, provide work for short periods of time, and provide support on a wide range of projects.
The value of volunteer time presented here is the average wage of non-management, non-agricultural workers. This is only a tool and only one way to show the immense value volunteers provide to an organization. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does have hourly wages by occupation that can be used to determine the value of a specialized skill.
It is important to remember that when a doctor, lawyer, craftsman, or anyone with a specialized skill volunteers, the value of his or her work is based on his or her volunteer work, not his or her earning power. In other words, volunteers must be performing their special skill as volunteer work. If a doctor is painting a fence or a lawyer is sorting groceries, he or she is not performing his or her specialized skill for the nonprofit, and their volunteer hour value would not be higher.
To learn more about these figures, including how they are calculated and how nonprofit organizations often use them, visit Independent Sector.
Related Resources:
Independent Sector
Bureau of Labor Statistics