The Value of Volunteer Time: Everything You Need to Know

The value of volunteer time: everything you need to know

Volunteers give their time to serve your organization. Knowing the value of the volunteer hour can help you better appreciate their dedication and hard work.

Why Does Knowing the Value of Volunteer Time Matter?

Your volunteers are a valuable resource — you already know that without attaching a number to their work. However, understanding their hourly worth can provide additional insights and benefits for many nonprofit organizations, including:

  • Justifying volunteer programs and outreach: Putting a financial value to your volunteers’ contributions can show executives and managers how beneficial your teams are. When you want to lead a new campaign or expand your reach, you can use the value of volunteers to nonprofit organizations to convince internal decision-makers that they are necessary assets that deserve essential and limited resources.
  • Applying for grants and support: While the value of volunteer hours can aid internal resources and budget allocation, you can also use it to gain external support. Many organizations offer grants to nonprofits, helping support their causes. By highlighting the value of your volunteers and their work, you can show potential sponsors you have powerful teams to carry out your mission and goals.
  • Showing your volunteers their value: Nonprofits often devise creative ways to show their appreciation toward their volunteers. From thank you notes to parties, caring for your volunteer teams is a great way to boost retention and motivation for volunteers. Explaining their hourly worth can help them better understand their impact on the organization and their value. They can feel better about the skills they bring and the work they do every day.
  • Highlighting organization earnings: Because your volunteers don’t have a salary with your organization, you can use their hourly worth to emphasize the money you earned over the year. Especially if your volunteers are responsible for fundraising or donations, they directly impact your organization’s financial success.
  • Reflecting changing industry patterns: National, global and industry elements can influence volunteer activity and patterns. Knowing your volunteer’s hourly worth can reflect changes occurring in the sector. For example, the rate rose in 2020 due to fewer volunteers. When your nonprofit is facing adversity and challenges, a higher value of the volunteer hour can help you better appreciate your available volunteers.

Your volunteers are powerful forces who carry out several essential operations. When you depend on their efforts to operate daily, knowing their hourly value can help your organization fully understand their worth.

How Is the Value of Volunteer Time Calculated?

The value of volunteer time is the average annual hourly earnings for nonprofit organizations. Further, organizations studying this value will add a 15.7% fringe-benefit rate to findings to represent the money volunteers would earn in benefits like health insurance coverage if nonprofits employed them.

The value of volunteer time is the average annual hourly earnings for nonprofit organizations.

You can find the hourly value of volunteer time in national and state rates. National averages only include the hourly earnings and fringe-benefit rate, but state calculations will add other considerations, like the cost of living and working conditions specific to that state. Because of this, many states fall above or below the national average. Knowing your state’s average is a great way to more accurately show your volunteers their value and worth with your organization.

The Historic Dollar Value of a Volunteer Hour: 2001-2020

Over time, the value of the volunteer hour changes to match demand and earnings. Like other industries, the nonprofit sector experiences trends in giving and volunteering, where some years have lower involvement and others with all-time highs. Many organizations track and monitor patterns to further appreciate their current volunteers and give their thanks to those who have been there since the beginning.

Over the past 10 years, the hourly value has tended to increase by $1 every two years. The increasing volunteer hour value follows as such:

  • 2001: At the start of the century, nonprofits could value their volunteers at an hourly rate of $16.27 nationally.
  • 2003: Two years later, the rate rose $1 to $17.19.
  • 2005: In 2005, the national hourly value of volunteers increased another dollar to $18.04.
  • 2007: 2007 is one of the first breaks in the steady rate, increasing by $1.50 to an hourly value of $19.51.
  • 2008: Still increasing, 2008 marks the year the national hourly rate became $20.25.
  • 2010: It takes two years for the national rate to rise another dollar. In 2010, it reached $21.36.
  • 2012: The value of the volunteer hour increased to $22.14 in 2012.
  • 2014: In 2014, the national rate rose to $23.07.
  • 2016: Steadily increasing, volunteers’ hourly value reached $24.14 by 2016.
  • 2018: Almost a decade after the original $1.50 jump in the national rate, it happened again in 2018. This year, the rate rose to $25.43.
  • 2019: In 2019, the national hourly value took a drastic leap, rising to $27.20. This is the only year over the decade that increased more than $1.50, reaching almost $2 within a single year.
  • 2020: At the end of the decade, the value of the volunteer hour continues to ascend at an increased speed. In 2020, it reached $28.54.

While the industry has trends in giving and volunteering, external factors can also affect the rate. For example, in 2020, 66% of volunteers stopped giving their time or decreased it drastically, causing the value of their work to rise for nonprofits because of the limitations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Charting annual hourly rates can show how it has progressed but can also reflect significant national events and changes.

The Current Estimated National Value of Each Volunteer Hour

In April, researchers revealed the value of volunteer time for 2021. It increased by 4.9%, reaching almost $30 at $29.95 on the national level.

While this is the national average, you can also see the value of volunteer time by state for 2021. Mississippi represents the lowest state rate for the value of the volunteer hour, averaging $22.56. Conversely, California reflects the highest state average, with volunteers valued at $35.56. Researchers also included Washington, D.C. in the data, with the average IRS value of volunteer hours totaling $50.48 in 2021.

Track Volunteer Hours With Volgistics

With the right tools and software, you can leverage your volunteer data to learn more about your nonprofit’s greatest assets.

Volgistics is a web-based volunteer management solution that the team at Volgistics designed to streamline nonprofit interactions with volunteers. Your organization can use the Reporting features to understand your volunteers’ dollar value and efficiently compile the information into PDFs and Excel spreadsheets. This solution will track volunteer hours and allow you to customize settings to include meals or transit time.

Additionally, the Volunteer Database Management features make it easy to continue tracking volunteer activity for a better understanding of their value. It stores information about each project and how long each volunteer worked on them. Using this data, the solution can also match volunteers to similar tasks and projects for increased involvement and retention.

Request a free trial with Volgistics today and discover how this solution can help your nonprofit learn the value of your volunteers’ hours.

Track volunteer hours with Volgistics. Request a free trial with Volgistics today and discover how this solution can help your nonprofit learn the value of your volunteers' hours.