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May 12, 2021
Value of Mass. Volunteer Time at High End in U.S. at $34.97/Hour

April 22, 2021 — The value of an hour of a volunteer's time in Massachusetts rose 6.1% last year to $34.97, making it the highest among the 50 states, according to a new analysis released Tuesday in connection with National Volunteer Week, April 18-24.

According to the Value of Volunteer Time study completed by Independent Sector, a national leadership forum that represents nonprofits, foundations, and corporate giving programs, the value of volunteer time is higher only in Washington, D.C. ($48.67 an hour), an increase of 10.3% from the year before.

Nationally, volunteer time in 2020 was pegged at $28.54 an hour, up 4.9% from the year before.

The value of a volunteer's time in Massachusetts in 2019, 2018, and 2017 was also the highest among the 50 states, second only to Washington, D.C.

Among the other New England states, volunteer time in 2020 was highest in Connecticut, at $33.28 per hour, and lowest in Maine, at $25.56 per hour.

In recent years the percentage of adults who volunteer has declined to roughly 25%. The amount of time Americans volunteered in 2020 decreased, due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Independent Sector.

“As we celebrate our volunteers during National Volunteer Week, we should know just how much value these tireless individuals contribute to creating a healthier and more equitable nation,” said Daniel J. Cardinali, president and CEO of Independent Sector. “As we work through our second year of a global pandemic when people, organizations, and communities continue to suffer, the contributions of volunteers have been an often life-saving and critical component to us enduring and rebuilding for future generations to come.”

Nonprofits tend to pay employees less than businesses do, and are at a further disadvantage when it comes to reimbursement for driving. Businesses in 2020 could reimburse their employees at a rate of 57.5 cents per mile, but volunteer mileage was fixed at 14 cents per mile.

The latest value of volunteer time was calculated with hourly earnings released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Independent Sector has previously noted that the value of a volunteer's work is based on his or her volunteer work, not his or her earning power. If, for example, a doctor is painting a fence or a lawyer is sorting groceries, he or she is not performing his or her specialized skill for the nonprofit and the value of their volunteer time could not be pegged to their regular earnings rate.

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