Nonprofits buoyed by volunteerism at greater rates than ever before | Call Center Toronto Canada | Miratel Call Center Toronto | Miratel Solutions

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Nonprofits buoyed by volunteerism at greater rates than ever before

At the beginning of the year I wrote about some of the nonprofit trends I expected to see on the increase in 2011 and beyond one of which was the increased contribution both from corporations and also individuals of volunteered time. The last decade saw the largest percentage gains in volunteerism since the 1950’s and a new report shows that the growth is not only continuing but increasing rapidly. More and more companies are looking to positively impact their communities and raise the contributions being made via their corporate responsibility programs and volunteer programs are allowing this to be achieved. The additional and uncalculated value might be the most important of all from those companies who elect to provide the volunteers; a sense of worth and goodwill amongst those who volunteer which in turn raises camaraderie and company approval internally.

As so many nonprofits are seeing demand for services continue to outstrip funding, the support provided by volunteers allows many programs to achieve their goals and services to be provided that otherwise may not. The right balance of staffing to achieve program implementation is a stumbling block for many nonprofits at present as fiscal constraints have impacted budgets for salaries and often result in reduced hours, another gap that is often being filled by the growth of volunteers.


The new study comes from the excellent resource ‘Independent Sector’ and looks at overall volunteer figures for 2010 in terms of estimated value by region and hours contributed, the numbers are quite astonishing. Nationally (in the US) the hourly estimate for a volunteer hour climbed to $21.36 per hour from $20.85 in 2009. The report linked here and the image beneath show the state by state hourly variations for the estimates.  Diana Aviv, President and CEO of Independent Sector added:

“While the value of volunteers can be measured, we know that commitment volunteers put into helping millions of people is priceless. America’s tradition of giving back is very generous and should make us all proud. We continue to support and celebrate the volunteers for their selfless service.”

While nonprofits in the US currently employ just shy of 13 million people the percentage of hours contributed by volunteers is a larger slice than ever before. All told in 2009 it was calculated that 63.4 million people dedicated some 8.1 billion hours of time to nonprofits in the capacity of volunteering. That accounts for more than 26% of the adult population and the time given had an estimated economic value of almost $170 billion. Remarkable numbers that can’t be overstated while in fact the year to year growth of 1.6 million new volunteers was the largest single year spike since 2003.

These numbers are almost too large to comprehend but if you were to start a company with the hours volunteered in 2009 you would have about 4.3 million employees based on the hours worked. That’s more than double the amount of people working for the largest employer in the US at present (Wal-Mart based on 2010 data). Or too look at another way it is almost the equivalent of the entire population of British Columbia or Louisana working full time for nonprofits. Despite such positive results its interesting to note that the growth in volunteering hasn’t quite kept up with overall population growth with a slightly higher percentage of the overall population volunteering time in 2003-5 than now. With increased support from companies I think those percentage will be eclipsed in the years ahead.

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