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What Is Volunteer Time Worth?

(April 25, 2005) The value of the volunteer hour has increased. According to an estimate announced by Washington, D.C.-based Independent Sector, one hour of volunteer time rose to $17.55 for 2004, up from $17.19 per hour in 2003.

The 2004 estimate is based on the average hourly wage for all non-management, non-agriculture workers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, including a 12 percent increase to include other benefits.

 'No number can adequately capture the true value volunteers bring to so many causes and communities across this country,' said Diana Aviv, president and CEO of Independent Sector. 'Nevertheless, this yearly estimate helps us all focus on the enormous contribution of our nation's volunteer corps.'

The coalition of charities also estimates that the value of hours logged in 2004 by volunteers corresponds to $272 billion of contributed service.

Assuming a constant number of volunteer hours from one year to the next, the value of hourly service has continued to grow over the last 25 years. During the last 10 years, the value of a volunteer hour has increased almost $5, from $12.68 per hour in 1994 to $17.55 in 2004.

Which state had the highest value of volunteer time in 2002? That would be Washington, D.C., at $24.75 per hour, followed by Connecticut at $21.70. The lowest value for one hour of volunteer time was in Puerto Rico, at $9.10, followed by Montana at $11.35.

Independent Sector evaluates volunteer hours as a tool for organizations so they can quantify volunteer service. For more information on the value of volunteer time, visit the organization's website at


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