Apple pie, hot dogs and volunteering! America is the world's most generous country largely because of volunteers.
WalletHub’s recent analysis of the World Giving Index highlight America’s place as the world’s most generous country over the last 10 years. But, read carefully and you will see that the amount of time American’s volunteer has a monetary value equivalent to almost half of all outright philanthropy.
By the Numbers
WalletHub cites statistics from the National Philanthropic Trust reporting, “U.S. donors in 2018 gave more than $427 billion to charity.” The article then goes on to cite statistics from the U.S. Census saying, “Nearly 63 million people volunteer in the U.S., serving a combined total of 7.9 billion hours per year, the equivalent of $184 billion of service.”
"Volunteers gave 7.9 billion hours valued at $184 billion."
We are a country of volunteers whose early lessons in volunteerism carry through to adulthood. And it is not just individuals who benefit from volunteering. Consider the benfeits to neighborhoods, classrooms, parks, environment and so much move. Many adult volunteers contribute their first hour because of a structured K-12 volunteer program. Many adult volunteers also continue to generously give their time thanks to great corporations in tune with their corporate social responsibility. This incredible volunteer ecosystem generates quantifiable good in our communities. The $184 billion of volunteer hours American’s provide annually stands as a testament.
For a bit of fun with the stats, consider visiting the CAF World Giving Index directly where page 18 is completely devoted to volunteer stats around the world. It may be surprising to see where the US falls in the top 10 countries with the largest percentage of volunteers. Hint: We are certainly atop the board but would not win a gold, silver or bronze medal just yet!
How You Can Help
The benfits of volunteering are numerous. But, remember that there is a monetary value to the time your volunteers give. The value is not only the value of their time but also the value of the improvements they make in the community. When combined, the incredible value of your volunteer’s time should be well documented, recorded and celebrated.
And please do not overlook the need to celebrate volunteers and the outcome of your projects. Encouraging your volunteers to share their time via social media channels can be a catalyst for getting peers involved in future projects – amplifying the good. And as the friends like or re-tweet the post, more and more peers are exposed to the good your project provided. Just as wealth grows over time through compound interest, celebrating your volunteer outcomes on social media can help your programs grow through compound volunteering. After all, volunteering does not create financially wealthy volunteers, but it does create rich communities.