Volunteers contribute billions to the United States through their time, talent, and effort in 2020 even while volunteer opportunities were limited due to COVID-19 pandemic
(WASHINGTON, April 20, 2021) – Today, Independent Sector, with the Do Good Institute, announces that the latest value of a volunteer hour is $28.54 – up 4.9% from the previous year. Estimated from data collected in 2020, the figure shows the valuable contributions volunteers make to support our communities and country.
According to the Value of Volunteer Time, and using data from AmeriCorps on volunteer hours, volunteers typically contribute nearly $200 billion to our communities. However, there is evidence that the number of hours volunteered by Americans in 2020 has decreased due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While it will take some years to assess the full extent of impact from COVID-19, a recent study by Fidelity Charitable found that 66% of volunteers have decreased the amount of time they volunteer or stopped entirely due to the pandemic.
The latest value, calculated by the University of Maryland’s Do Good Institute, is measured based on hourly earnings released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And while the pandemic certainly had an impact on volunteerism, wages in 2020 for the employed actually increased leading to an increased Value of Volunteer time rate. Learn more about the methodology here.
“As we celebrate our volunteers during National Volunteer Week, we should know just how much value these tireless individuals contribute to creating a healthier and more equitable nation,” said Daniel J. Cardinali, president and CEO of Independent Sector. “As we work through our second year of a global pandemic when people, organizations, and communities continue to suffer, the contributions of volunteers have been an often life-saving and critical component to us enduring and rebuilding for future generations to come.”
“The incredible challenges presented over the last year have been met time and time again by passionate, motivated, and generous people who are ready to help their neighbors and communities,” said Nathan Dietz, senior researcher, Do Good Institute and the researcher responsible for calculating the findings. “All across the country, every day, these volunteers are offering their time and expertise to implement solutions, provide services, and help rebuild communities – but their value is often overlooked or often times is incalculable. This year’s Value of Volunteer Time calculations go to show the immensity of their contributions on our nation.”
In addition to the national number, Independent Sector also provides the state-level value of volunteer time for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. State level values range from $13.74/hour for Puerto Rico to $48.67/hour for the District of Columbia.
For more on the Value of Volunteer Time, the methodology, and to explore historical national and state-level data, visit independentsector.org/volunteer_time.
Independent Sector is the only national membership organization that brings together a diverse community of changemakers, nonprofits, foundations, and corporations working to strengthen civil society and ensure all people in the United States thrive.
The Do Good Institute, housed in the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, provides education, programs, research and resources to develop the next generation of nonprofit leaders, social innovators and civic-minded students.