As National Volunteer Week is celebrated, new data shows communities benefited from billions contributed through volunteerism despite pandemic challenges in 2021
(WASHINGTON, April 18, 2022) – Independent Sector, with the Do Good Institute, announced today that the latest value of a volunteer hour is estimated to be $29.95, which is a 4.9% increase over 2020. Estimated from data collected in 2021, the figure illustrates the valuable contributions volunteers make to support our communities and nation.
According to the Value of Volunteer Time, and using data from AmeriCorps on volunteer hours, volunteers typically contribute nearly $200 billion to our communities. There is evidence that the number of hours volunteered by people in the United States in 2021 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 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. While the pandemic certainly had an impact on volunteerism, wages in 2021 for the employed actually increased, possibly due to inflation, leading to an increased Value of Volunteer time rate. Learn more about the methodology here.
“The essential contributions made by our nation’s volunteers to lift up, strengthen, and restore communities to make them healthy and equitable for people are always deeply appreciated, but never more so than during the pandemic,” said Daniel J. Cardinali, President and CEO of Independent Sector. “Despite COVID-19’s devastating impact, which began in 2020 and continues through today, our country’s volunteers continued to show up, virtually and in person, with their compassion, skills, and abilities. They often put their own lives at risk. They are the threads that connect us as a nation, constantly reinforcing the foundation of civil society and helping build pathways so we all can thrive.”
“The formidable challenges presented by the pandemic that persisted throughout 2021 only served to redouble the resolve of our country’s volunteers to be a source of comfort and strength for neighbors in communities nationwide,” said Nathan Dietz, senior researcher, Do Good Institute, who is responsible for calculating the findings. “While the immensity of the value of their contributions can never truly be calculated, the value of Value of Volunteer Time serves to provide a measure of the significance of the support and services they provide when our communities and neighbors are in need.”
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 $14.11/hour for Puerto Rico to $50.48/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/value-of-volunteer-time-2022.
Independent Sector is the only national membership organization that brings together a diverse community of changemakers at nonprofits, foundations, and corporate giving programs working to 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.