Putting a financial value on volunteering – an activity that is defined by the fact that it is unpaid – remains somewhat controversial. However, it can also be a helpful way to get a sense of the scale of its value. Figures tend to be calculated by attributing an hourly wage, and multiplying this by the total number of hours contributed by volunteers over a year, nationally. Here are some recent estimates:
- The Office for National Statistics recently estimated the annual value of regular formal volunteering to be £23.9 billion.
- Earlier work by Volunteering England put the annual output figure for all formal and informal volunteers at £45.1 billion. See a breakdown of this research.
- The DWP and the Cabinet Office recently estimated that the wellbeing value to frequent formal volunteers themselves is around £70 billion per year. Download the working paper (PDF, 335KB).
- Research by the Join In Trust in 2014 estimated the total annual financial value of sports-based volunteering alone to be £53 billion. Read their report 'Hidden Diamonds' here.
Read the blog post ‘It’s the economic value, stupid’ by Matthew Hill for an analysis of how some of the above figures were calculated.
Read the blog post ‘Five things you need to know about calculating the economic value of volunteering’ by Jakub Dostál and Marek Vyskočil’, two researchers from the Czech Republic who won the 'best paper in the new researchers' session at the 2014 Voluntary Sector and Volunteering Research conference.
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