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February 27, 2003
Group Calculates the Value of Volunteer Time
The value of volunteer time increased by nearly 50 cents to $16.54 per hour in 2002, according to Independent Sector, a coalition of organizations representing the nonprofit sector. The hourly value, updated yearly, is based on the average hourly earnings of all nonagricultural workers as determined by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The coalition takes this figure and increases it by 12 percent to estimate for fringe benefits.

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"Independent Sector has long known the value of volunteering is immeasurable, both for the person who volunteers and for the organization and people served," says Peter Shiras, interim president and CEO of the organization. "The monetary value of volunteer time serves as an estimate to help nonprofit organizations quantify this valuable resource."

The coalition produces a biennial survey on the giving and volunteering patterns of Americans. According to the most recent survey, Giving and Volunteering in the United States, 2001, 44 percent of adults volunteered. When asked why they gave of their time, respondents most commonly cited compassion. Survey participants also attributed their volunteering to the belief that those who have more should help those with less. Volunteers also gave of their time because they knew of someone who would benefit from their volunteering, and others said volunteering was a good way to meet people.

"While we recognize that volunteers offer a wide variety of services, this estimate provides a uniform way for volunteer managers, nonprofit executives, government agencies, and others to account for the value of volunteer time," says Gordon Green, Ph.D., vice president of research at IS.

Over 55 percent of adults volunteered in 1998, according to the coalition.



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