This week is National Volunteer Week (April 23-29). Since 1974, the week has been organized by Points of Light. For the nonprofit sector, it is an opportunity to recognize and thank volunteers who lend their time and talent to causes they care about in their community.
“Volunteerism empowers people to support causes they care about. When changemakers work together to tackle tough problems, our world becomes a better place,” said Tracy Hoover, CEO of Points of Light. “By sharing concrete data that highlights the impact of volunteers, we can inspire and mobilize more individuals and organizations to realize their potential and power to become active participants in sparking change.”
To correspond with National Volunteer week, Independent Sector has announced their estimation of the value of a volunteer – on an hourly basis. This year’s estimated value of a volunteer hour is $24.14 – up 2.5 percent from 2016.
Currently, 63 million Americans volunteer about 8 billion hours of their time, talent, and effort to improve people’s lives and the natural world. With the new value of volunteer time, these Americans are contributing approximately $193 billion to our nation. According to data from the Corporation for National and Community Service, religious organizations were cited as the type of organization that volunteers worked in the most (34%), followed by educational or youth service (26%), and social or community service organizations (15%).
“All Americans should take immense pride in our collective spirit and commitment to volunteerism,” said Dan Cardinali, president and CEO of Independent Sector. “Giving of our time, talent, and effort is hugely consequential and we hope this value of volunteer time is just one way we can help measure the enormous contributions we all make toward improving our communities, our country, and our planet.”
Independent Sector also updated the state-level breakdown for the new value of volunteer time. Most states saw increases over the previous year’s numbers. The highest value of volunteer time is in Washington, DC at $39.17, and Delaware saw the biggest increase over the last year. An interactive map is available on the Independent Sector website, as well as a table showing data for each state, where the value of a volunteer hour is highest and lowest, and how much the figure has risen or fallen since the previous year. Also included in the map is the complete dataset for the value of volunteer time for all 50 states and DC from 2001-2016.
Charitable Deduction Under Review
This year’s National Volunteer Week comes at a time when the charitable deduction is actively being reviewed by lawmakers in Washington, D.C. President Donald Trump is expected to release a proposed tax plan this week. Sources inside the White House have said that all options are on the table, but the proposal to limit deductions for charitable giving hasn’t yet gained widespread acceptance.
In an effort to get out in front of any further limits on the charitable deduction, organizations – like Independent Sector – have begun actively lobbying not only for a preservation of the charitable deduction, but an expansion.