volunteer group raising hands

[Image courtesy of GraphicStock.com.]

In 2011, approximately 64.3 million Americans gave approximately 8 billion hours of volunteer service. The organization, Independent Sector estimated the value of volunteer time for is $22.14 per hour. This equals $171 billion worth of donated time. It’s too bad that we can’t claim this deduction on our taxes.

I donate a lot of time to various organizations. My numbers are much higher than the national averages. I tallied my hours for last year and they totaled more than 600! Granted, that was an exceptional year, yet I believe that a lot of people in our industry donate a considerable amount of time to professional and civic organizations.

What type of organizations do you donate your time? How many hours do you typically donate each year?

In February 2013 the Bureau of Labor Statistics posted some interesting data on volunteering. Here are some of the highlights:

Volunteers by Age

By age, 35- to 44-year-olds were most likely to volunteer (31.6 percent). Volunteer rates were lowest among 20- to 24-year-olds (18.9 percent). For persons 45 years and over, the volunteer rate tapered off as age increased. Teens (16- to 19-year-olds) had a volunteer rate of 27.4 percent.

Bureau_of_labor_statistics_logo.svgVolunteers by Marital Status

Married persons volunteered at a higher rate (31.9 percent) in 2012 than did those who had never married (20.7 percent) and those with other marital statuses (21.3 percent). The volunteer rate of parents with children under age 18 (33.5 percent) remained higher than the rate for persons without children (23.8 percent).

Volunteers by Education Level

Individuals with higher levels of education engaged in volunteer activities at higher rates than did those with less education. Among persons age 25 and over, 42.2 percent of college graduates volunteered, compared with 17.3 percent of high school graduates and 8.8 percent of those with less than a high school diploma.

Volunteers by Employment Status

Among employed persons, 29.1 percent volunteered during the year ending in September 2012. By comparison, 23.8 percent of unemployed persons and 22.4 percent of those not in the labor force volunteered. Among the employed, part-time workers were more likely than full-time workers to have participated in volunteer activities–33.4 percent compared with 28.1 percent.

Total Annual Hours Spent Volunteering

Volunteers spent a median of 50 hours on volunteer activities during the period from September 2011 to September 2012. Time spent on volunteer activities was similar for women and men. Median annual hours spent on volunteer activities ranged from a low of 32 hours for those 25 to 34 years old to a high of 90 hours for volunteers age 65 and over.