The Economic Value of the Charitable Sector
Chapter 4: The Benefits of Volunteering
4. The beneﬁts of volunteering 4.1 INTRODUCTION A question of enduring interest in voluntary sector research is the appropriate value to be accorded to volunteer time. The methodological difﬁculties associated with such a valuation exercise have been well documented, and it is perhaps for this reason that there have been comparatively few attempts actually to perform it. An important starting-point is the exercise conducted by the Volunteer Centre UK (1995), which took as a proxy for the value of volunteer time the national average for the gross hourly wage rate (£7.83 in 1993). Applying this ﬁgure to estimates of the total annual number of hours volunteered in the UK yielded a total value for volunteering of £24.5 billion in 1993. However, Knapp (1990) is critical of any approach based on ‘a blanket foregone wage for all volunteers’, arguing that ‘some are retired or unemployed, and others could be giving up a variety of forms of paid employment in order to participate’. Nevertheless, the authors of the 1995 study by the Volunteer Centre UK readily acknowledge that a simple approach of this nature is only ‘a taste of what could be achieved in a more detailed analysis’. The purpose of this chapter is to reﬁne and extend the valuation approach applied by the Volunteer Centre UK (1995), by responding – at least in part – to some of the criticisms set out by Knapp (1990). One of the reasons why valuing volunteer time is such a complex issue is that...
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