Volunteer Time Value Pegged At $193 Billion

The value of a volunteer hour was estimated to be $24.14 in 2016, up 2.5 percent from $23.56 the previous year. More than 63 million Americans volunteered about 8 billion hours, which would equate to about $193 billion based on that hourly value.

Religious organizations were most popular among volunteers (34 percent), followed by educational or youth service (26 percent), and social or community service organizations (15 percent), according to the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).

The estimate comes from Independent Sector, which bases the average on data collected in 2016, and releases it annually during National Volunteer Week (April 23-29), a program of Points of Light.

“Giving of our time, talent, and effort is hugely consequential and we hope this value of volunteer time is just one way we can help measure the enormous contributions we all make toward improving our communities, our country, and our planet,” said Dan Cardinali, president and CEO of Independent Sector.

Most states saw an increase in the value of volunteer time, with the highest by far found in Washington, D.C., $39.17, followed by:

  • Washington, $30.04;
  • Massachusetts, $29.88;
  • Connecticut, $29.29;
  • California, $28.46; and,
  • New York, $28.06.

States with the lowest value of volunteer time were:

  • West Virginia, $20.98;
  • South Dakota, $20.81;
  • Mississippi, $19.85;
  • New Mexico, $19.77; and,
  • Arkansas, $19.66.

Delaware saw the biggest increase compared to the previous year, up 8.6 percent to $23.20, followed by:

  • Oregon, 6.2 percent, $24.15;
  • Connecticut, 5.5 percent, $29.29;
  • North Carolina, up 5.1 percent, $22.99; and,
  • Arizona, 5.0 percent, $23.57.

Only two states saw the value of a volunteer hour decline (Wyoming, -4.3 percent, $22.13, and New Mexico, -0.7 percent, $19.77) while Colorado was unchanged (0.0 percent, $25.97).

Vermont was the median value ($23.29, up 2.2 percent) among all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

An interactive map is available on Independent Sector’s website, along with data for each state, indicating where the value is highest and lowest and how much it has risen or fallen since the previous year.

“By sharing concrete data that highlights the impact of volunteers, we can inspire and mobilize more individuals and organizations to realize their potential and power to become active participants in sparking change,” Points of Light CEO Tracy Hoover said.

The value of volunteer time is based on hourly earnings (approximately from yearly values) of all production and non-supervisory works on private, non-farm payrolls average (based on yearly earnings provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics) for the national average. IS indexes the figure to determine state values and increases it by 12 percent to estimate for fringe benefits.

To access state-by-state values of volunteer time and learn more about the national estimate, visit independentsector.org/volunteer-time