How much are your volunteers really giving?


Did you know that for every dollar your organisation invests into volunteering, the flow-on benefit to the community is valued at more than $4?

That’s according to peak body Volunteering Tasmania, which last month launched a free online calculation tool to help organisations accurately assess the economic impact of their volunteer programs.

How can the tool work for your organisation?

Using the calculator is simple: enter your organisation’s total volunteer hours and other program expenditures such as fuel, accommodation and supplies. The calculator then provides an estimate of the financial impact your volunteering activities have on your community – an invaluable figure you can then use to inform strategic planning, reports and funding applications.

Results from the calculator can also be shared via Facebook or Twitter, so you can let your followers know about your organisation’s amazing impact on the community around them.

A more precise analysis

Using the same cost-benefit analysis as used to generate data in Volunteering Tasmania’s previous State of Volunteering reports, the calculator offers a far more accurate representation of the economic value of volunteering than previously available.

Volunteering Tasmania’s CEO Adrienne Picone says although organisations often use the ‘cost replacement’ method to measure the economic impact of their volunteering activities and programs, that method gives only a partial insight into the bigger picture.

“A cost replacement analysis simply takes an arbitrary wage and multiplies it by volunteer hours donated,” Ms Picone says.

“This in no way reflects the economic impact of a volunteer program. There is a flow-on economic, social and cultural impact that cost-benefit methods accurately capture.”

Since the cost replacement method doesn’t take into account these far-reaching impacts, it’s wrong to conflate the cost of replacing a volunteer with the value of a volunteer’s work.

Ms Picone says she also hopes the calculator will help organisations that undertake volunteering activities to invest in their managers and volunteer coordinators, and that organisations will adopt it as their ‘go-to’ measurement tool.

The Value of Volunteering calculator was developed by the Institute of Project Management (IPM) to supplement the findings in the State of Volunteering Report 2014: The Economic, Social and Cultural Value of Volunteering. Jointly produced by IPM and Volunteering Tasmania, the report delivers a detailed economic insight into the value of the Tasmanian volunteering industry.

To find out more and to use the calculator, visit Volunteering Tasmania.

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