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What's the Value of a Volunteer Hour?

According to Independent Sector, a leading coalition for nonprofits, charities, foundations, and corporate giving programs across the U.S., one volunteer working one hour in 2010 had an estimated dollar value of $21.36.

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.

The value of a volunteer’s hour varies by state; a volunteer hour had its highest value in the District of Columbia ($32.79), New York ($27.17), Connecticut ($26.98), Massachusetts ($26.18) and New Jersey ($25.20). A volunteer hour had its lowest value in Puerto Rico ($11.31), Montana ($14.89), South Dakota ($15.18), Mississippi ($15.28) and Idaho ($15.57). The estimated value of a volunteer hour in the U.S. in 2000 was $15.68 and in 1980 was only $7.46.

According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, about 63.4 million Americans, or 26.8 percent of the adult population, gave 8.1 billion hours of volunteer service worth $169 billion in 2009.