This week, the much anticipated annual announcement of the updated Value of Volunteer Time was announced by Independent Sector and, drumroll please, the national value for 2023 reporting is $33.49, a 5% increase over the 2022 value. You can  read the full report for national and state-by-state data.

This value remains the most commonly used way to describe and recognize the “impacts” that volunteers deliver on your mission. While many organizations record volunteers’ contributed hours so they can translate them to a financial value based on this annual value, as I have shared in blogs, toolkits, and videos (and, frankly, at every other opportunity!), this communicates only quantity – not quality.

So, as you are methodically updating your volunteer data sheets and volunteer recognition speeches, I encourage you to think broadly and deeply about this practice. For a thorough and clear “primer” on when to use — and when not to use — this value of volunteer hours, I strongly encourage you to read Dr. Sue Carter Kahl’s post, “Value of a Volunteer Hour: When and Where to Use Wage Replacement Rates (or Not).”

As Dr. Carter Kahl notes in another compelling post, “Reporting volunteer hours is a telling practice that communicates what we value. It reveals, for example, that we prize volunteer quantity. That we celebrate volunteer volume.”

As we wrap up another National Volunteer Week and embark on another year of engaging volunteers to build capacity, reach new audiences, enhance quality of our programs, raise funds, and so much more, take some time to consider what we really value. Is it merely volume? Or is, in fact, increased capacity, helping more people, quality improvement, strengthening staff and organizational skills, more resources, and greater awareness of our cause? There are so many resources out there to inspire us all to tell these compelling stories about the benefits of strategic volunteer engagement. Now is the time to leverage these resources and tell broader, more powerful, and more relevant stories about all the volunteers bring to our mission.