The value of a volunteer hour was estimated to be $24.14 in 2016, up 2.5 percent from $23.56 the previous year. More than 63 million Americans volunteered about 8 billion hours, which would equate to about $193 billion based on that hourly value.
Religious organizations were most popular among volunteers (34 percent), followed by educational or youth service (26 percent), and social or community service organizations (15 percent), according to the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).
The estimate comes from Independent Sector, which bases the average on data collected in 2016, and releases it annually during National Volunteer Week (April 23-29), a program of Points of Light.
“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,” said Dan Cardinali, president and CEO of Independent Sector.
Most states saw an increase in the value of volunteer time, with the highest by far found in Washington, D.C., $39.17, followed by:
- Washington, $30.04;
- Massachusetts, $29.88;
- Connecticut, $29.29;
- California, $28.46; and,
- New York, $28.06.
States with the lowest value of volunteer time were:
- West Virginia, $20.98;
- South Dakota, $20.81;
- Mississippi, $19.85;
- New Mexico, $19.77; and,
- Arkansas, $19.66.
Delaware saw the biggest increase compared to the previous year, up 8.6 percent to $23.20, followed by:
- Oregon, 6.2 percent, $24.15;
- Connecticut, 5.5 percent, $29.29;
- North Carolina, up 5.1 percent, $22.99; and,
- Arizona, 5.0 percent, $23.57.
Only two states saw the value of a volunteer hour decline (Wyoming, -4.3 percent, $22.13, and New Mexico, -0.7 percent, $19.77) while Colorado was unchanged (0.0 percent, $25.97).
Vermont was the median value ($23.29, up 2.2 percent) among all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
An interactive map is available on Independent Sector’s website,