The state of volunteering report 2014: the economic, social and cultural value of volunteering

Volunteering Not for profit sector Non-governmental organizations Social capital Economics Cost-benefit analysis Tasmania Australia
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This report is a collaboration between Volunteering Tasmania and the Institute of Project Management (IPM). It uses IPM's Model of Value Creation to locate the discrete values of volunteering activity and, for the first time, illustrate the dynamic ways in which they interact.

The model depicts how individuals, businesses and governments use their time and money to enable volunteering in Tasmania. This is converted by users into a set of economically valuable outputs that impact upon the welfare of society.

In its application, the IPM Model of Value Creation adopts the best-practice principles of cost and benefit analysis to estimate the value of the unique cluster of
activities that comprise volunteering. As the first known valuation of volunteering as an economic and cultural ecosystem within a defined region, this study is as much exploratory as it is conclusive. 

The socio-economic and cultural value of volunteering to Tasmania in 2014 is conservatively estimated to be $4.9 billion. 

Other findings of note include:

  • four out of five Tasmanians volunteered in 2014, donating a total of 7.1 million hours
  • people between 65 and 74 years of age volunteer, on average, 22.8 hours pe month—the rest participate at the average rate of 12.5 hours per month
  • treated as a sector in its own right, volunteering is Tasmania’s larges industry by employment
  • Tasmanian employers enjoy a net productivity premium of $1.2 billion as a result of their employees’ volunteering
  • for every dollar invested in volunteering, at least $4 in benefits are returned to the community
  • increasing the rate of volunteering in the community by as little as one per cent per year through marginal increases in government investment will yield exponential community benefit

The principal finding is that although the current levels of investment in volunteering yield a strong return, a more economically efficient outcome can be achieved by increasing the regular rate of volunteering in the community. For example, exploiting the self-identified under-utilisation of volunteering capacity in Tasmania would yield an additional $706.1 million in benefits over ten years

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