Volunteer Training

Volunteer Value 

Independent Sector estimated value of volunteer time for 2013 is $22.55 per hour.  KAB recommends that affiliates use the value to determine Cost Benefit Ratio. And have updated the default value in the Annual Report Cost Benefit forms on Re-Trac. The organization does USA state specific numbers every other year and 2013 values are available for those that need to use state values. Visit  http://independentsector.org/volunteer_time for more details

According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, about 64.5 million Americans, or 26.5 percent of the adult population, gave 7.9 billion hours of volunteer service worth $175 billion in 2012.  For the latest information, please see www.volunteeringinamerica.gov.

How the Numbers are Calculated

The value of volunteer time is based on the average hourly earnings of all production and nonsupervisory workers on private nonfarm payrolls (as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics). Independent Sector takes this figure and increases it by 12 percent to estimate for fringe benefits.

According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, about 62.7 million Americans, or 26.5 percent of the adult population, gave 8.1 billion hours of volunteer service worth $173 billion in 2010.1 For the latest information, please see www.volunteeringinamerica.gov.


Volunteer Management Implications

1.        Good volunteer management is becoming more important than ever.

We are beginning to gather concrete evidence that volunteer management actually make a tremendous difference in successful volunteer involvement.  Probably the most thorough study of this was done by The UPS Foundation.

Here are some of its key points:

Overall, two out of five volunteers have stopped volunteering for an organization at some time because of one or more poor volunteer management practices:
These include:

  •          Charity was not well managed: 26%
  •          Charity did not use volunteer’s time well: 23%
  •          Charity did not use volunteer’s talent well: 18%
  •          Volunteer’s tasks were not well define: 16%
  •          Volunteers were not thanked: 9%

Making better use of talents, skills, or expertise appears to be a bit less important to attracting volunteers than making good use of time.  Half say that, given available time, they would volunteer more to this type of organization.  People do not always volunteer for activities that use their job skills.

Poor volunteer management practices result in more lost volunteers than people losing interest because of changing personal or family needs.  The best way for volunteer organizations to receive more hours of service is to be careful managers of the time already being volunteered by people of all ages and from all strata of our volunteer society.

Volunteers today are critically examining the management practices of those whom they connect and they are not at all hesitant about abandoning those that take them for granted.  The agency might not realize how valuable their time is, but the volunteers do.

2.       The most serious problem in volunteer management is badly designed volunteer positions

A lot of agencies talk about creative use of volunteers, but most of them are still thinking in the straitjacket of the traditional long-termer.

Do something – Young people would be more willing to get involved if charities made better used of their time: 29% of those who already volunteer said that nonprofit organizations did not take advantage of all they had to offer.  One-half of young people who say they were given important responsibilities, compared with one-fifth who say they were not, rate their experience as excellent.

Almost half (46%) of young people who say they were able to see the results of their work rated their experience as excellent, compared with only 15% of those who did not.  Eighty-four percent of organizations that give volunteers “a lot” or “some” input into what they actually spend their time doing keep their volunteers for more than two years on average, compared with only 50% of those that offer volunteers little or no input.

Volunteer groups may want to consider structuring their volunteer opportunities differently.  This could mean shorter, more task-oriented assignments, or, perhaps, changing the nature of the placements so as to include other family members.  Family volunteering can stretch the precious time of volunteers if tasks are designed so that the entire family can take part.

Flexibility is given top priority by young people, especially in respect to flexible work and working times for volunteering.  The young have many pressures and demands on them and find it hard to make the time and commitment.  They have a sizable number of other outlets for their free time and volunteering has to compete with this.  Much of their lives are controlled by others and it is important to them to have an element of choice and spontaneity in volunteering.

Organizations can deal with concerns about the time by allowing people to schedule activities at their convenience.  If you are still looking for volunteers to fit the shapes, sizes, and positions that you were 10 years ago, then you have to start thinking and recruiting out of the box.  It means that the volunteers want to do it their way, but volunteers have always wanted to do it their way.  And why not?