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Value of Volunteer Time Continues to Rise

For the past six years, INDEPENDENT SECTOR has witnessed a steady increase in the hourly value of volunteer time.


To coincide with National Volunteer Week, April 22 through 28, INDEPENDENT SECTOR has released information on the value of volunteer time for the year 2000. The value has increased to $15.39 per hour.

For the past six years, INDEPENDENT SECTOR has witnessed a steady increase in the hourly value of volunteer time. The comparative figures are:

  • 1994 - $12.45
  • 1995 - $12.84
  • 1996 - $13.23
  • 1997 - $13.73
  • 1998 - $14.30
  • 1999 - $14.83

The hourly value is updated yearly and is based on the average hourly wage for nonagricultural workers published in the Economic Report of the President. This figure is then increased by 12% to estimate fringe benefits.

Last year, INDEPENDENT SECTOR reported the largest increase in its survey history of volunteering with 109 million people reporting they volunteered an estimated 19.9 billion hours

(Giving and Volunteering in the United States). The volunteer workforce represented the equivalent of over 9 million full-time employees at a value of $225.9 billion.

"Now that there are indicators that the nation may be experiencing an economic down-turn, the nonprofit community will rely on the volunteer workforce more than ever," said Sara E. Meléndez, president and CEO of INDEPENDENT SECTOR. "Volunteers are the lifeblood of the hundreds of thousands of nonprofit organizations in this country."

The range of volunteer activities is as varied as the people who donate their time to charitable causes. The most popular areas of volunteering are: direct service activity like serving food at 24%; followed by fundraising (16%); informal volunteering (15%); volunteering for a religious congregation (14%); giving advice or counseling (11%); working with young people (11%); organizing an event (10%); and visiting people or offering companionship (9%).

"While more people are volunteering, there is a great untapped resource of additional potential volunteers. There are many factors that motivate people to volunteer. Our research shows that the best way to get people involved is simply to ask them. Nearly 90% of people volunteer when they are asked," said Dr. Meléndez.

INDEPENDENT SECTOR is a nonprofit, nonpartisan coalition of more than 700 national nonprofit organizations, foundations, and corporate philanthropy programs, collectively representing tens of thousands of charitable groups in every state across the nation. Our mission is to promote, strengthen, and advance the nonprofit and philanthropic community to foster private initiative for the public good.

Contacts: Carla Bundy, 202-467-6134 -- Patricia Nash Workman, 202-467-6132

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