April 25, 2018

Wise Giving Wednesday: The Value of Volunteering

The history of volunteering in the U.S. is a long and generous one from helping out neighbors in barn raising two centuries ago to Habitat for Humanity and similar charities building homes today. And, of course, volunteering is not just about building structures but can address everything from delivering meals to the elderly to educating children. While the personal benefits and joys of providing this assistance are very real for participants, it can be difficult to quantify. There is, however, an estimated dollar value of a volunteer hour. This past week, Independent Sector, the national nonprofit membership organization, in conjunction with IMPLAN, a provider of economic impact analysis software, announced that the value of the volunteer hour in the United States is $24.69 per hour which is up 2.2 percent from the previous year. 

As further noted by Independent Sector, 63 million Americans volunteer about 8 billion hours to a variety of charitable organizations. IS also produced a state-by-state chart of volunteer data that is available here

BBB Wise Giving Alliance encourages potential volunteers to find out more about the charity before volunteering and visit Give.org to verify if the subject charity meets the BBB Standards for Charity Accountability. In addition, we offer the following tips: 

  • Consider what the charity expects of its volunteers.
  • Are you seeking a one-day offer of assistance or a continuing arrangement with the subject organization?
  • Keep in mind that the IRS does not allow you to deduct the value of your time as a donation, but travel expense such as gas and other incidental expenses might be deductible.
  • Charities can use volunteers in a variety of ways depending on the skills of the individuals providing assistance. Be aware that many charities need help with office work so don’t expect all volunteering is about delivering services to the needy.

Volunteers are usually welcomed throughout the year, so don’t wait until the holiday giving season before offering a helping hand.


Video of the Week 

As part of our Building Trust Video Series, we are pleased to provide a video featuring Cyndi Zagieboylo, President and CEO, of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (a BBB Accredited Charity) which funds research into the causes, treatments, and a cure of MS. The organization also provides education and support to people with MS, their families and caregivers; provides education and training for healthcare professionals who treat people living with MS; and provides direct financial assistance to people living with multiple sclerosis.  


Recent Reports 

We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit Give.org or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:

Finally, remember to let us know by going to https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/ if you are  interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.   

H. Art Taylor, President & CEO
BBB Wise Giving Alliance