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Valuing time and money. The real and perceived value of volunteering and giving

This research bulletin is one of a series published by the Institute for Volunteering Research to explore and disseminate aspects of Helping Out: a national survey of volunteering and charitable giving (2007). Helping Out was carried out by NatCen and the Institute for Volunteering Research, on behalf of the Office of the Third Sector. Data was collected through face-to-face interviews with 2,156 adults in England.

This summary explores the real and perceived value of giving time (formal volunteering) and giving money (charitable giving), as well as the relationship between the two. It raises the following questions: In order to maximise impact, should the recipients of help and policy makers favour one activity over the other? And should volunteers be asked to donate to the causes they volunteer for?

The bulletin includes data on the rates of respondents who give time, money, or both; levels of helping and donating analysed by gender and cause; the economic value of financial donations and time spent volunteering (based on the minimum hourly wage) reported by respondents; and perceptions of whether giving time or money is more valuable.

The bulletin concludes that there is a relationship between giving time and giving money, with the majority of respondents engaged in both activities. Furthermore, active volunteers are likely to give more money than non-volunteers. However, the data suggests that there is little support for encouraging volunteers to give money and financial donors to give time. In spite of the correlation between giving time and giving money, they are independent activities, and one should not be pursued at the expense of the other.

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