AVA Blog

The Real Value of Volunteering

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by Keith Anderson, AVA Head of Development

In a recent discussion, I was asked if there was a standard hourly rate that could be attributed to an hour of a volunteer’s time. I am aware that several sources have worked out what they thought an hour of a volunteer’s time was worth – and I found myself engaging in that slightly irksome practice of answering a question with a question and asked, ‘why would you want to know that’?

“No one ever mentions how much their time has cost”

This particular organisation thought that putting a monetary value on their volunteer’s time might strengthen their position with a funding application that they were about to submit - and I can understand that. I hope they were successful.

volunteers serving foodFor me, the value of volunteering is articulated in nouns, adjectives, verbs and adverbs and not in pounds, shillings and pence. Volunteering happens because people want to do what they can and make a difference – in all the fantastic and inspirational volunteering stories I’ve heard, no one ever mentions how much their time has cost, but many mention how much they have enjoyed their volunteering. Many also mention the satisfaction they feel because they’ve been able to help someone else and many talk about how they feel their volunteering has helped them. They’re all smiling on the inside!

“In every local community things will be
happening that rely completely on volunteers”

Volunteering contributes so much to so many in a variety of ways. Across Aberdeenshire in every town, in every village and in every local community things will be happening that rely completely on volunteers – cups of tea will be made; lunches will be served; people will be out and about because they have a companion; places will look nicer and all sorts of indoor activities will be going on because a volunteer went in early and put the heating on and probably helped to raise the money for the heating fuel.

“The value of volunteering quite possibly could be priceless"

Coronavirus Insch VolunteersThe real value of volunteering needs to be explained and not counted. Volunteers are making a difference in so many ways and the benefits can spread with a falling domino effect – if people feel less isolated because of a supported group activity then their family and friends will see a difference; if a village is tidier with nice flower beds in the summer then all the locals benefit; if young people in a town have a club and older people can go bowling or simply meet safely for a chat and a cuppa then the benefits are immeasurable. The value of volunteering should be reflected in the benefits that it generates, and all those inside smiles, and quite possibly these could be PRICELESS.

If you really, really want to see the monetary value though, read this fantastic Homestart Garioch blog from 2017 to see how much they save a year courtesy of their amazing volunteers!

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