In this issue’s Newsbytes we look at the latest increase in the value of the volunteer hour, which auction items attract the most bids, and a study that finds that the best nonprofits score high on fun and diversity.
Volunteer time increases to $29.95 per hour
The estimated national value of a volunteer hour has reached $29.95, according to calculations performed by the University of Maryland’s Do Good Institute on behalf of Independent Sector. The Do Good Institute, which is part of the university’s School of Public Policy, based the figure on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The estimate represents a 4.9% increase over 2020. The state-level value ranges from $14.11 per hour for Puerto Rico to $50.48 per hour for the District of Columbia.
The researchers noted that the pandemic reduced the number of volunteer hours in 2021. They cited a study from Fidelity Charitable that found 66% of volunteers have cut their hours or stopped volunteering entirely due to COVID. But the value is based on hourly earnings, which BLS data indicates increased from 2020 (possibly due to inflation) — leading to a higher value for volunteer time.
Which auction items attract the most bids?
Fundraising technology company GiveSmart has crunched the numbers from more than 880,000 silent auctions in 2019 and 2020 to identify which items receive the most bids. Their Ultimate Silent Auction Study looks at 16 different auction items and breaks down item performance by time of year and geographic region.
Golf outings are the most popular items in the first quarter of the year, with a 230% return on the starting bid. They don’t rank in the top performing items in the other quarters, though. Autographed items land in the top performers in every quarter, topping out in the third quarter with a 551% return on the starting bid. Researchers also found that most items fail to go for fair market value (FMV). In 2019, for example, all auction items went for 87.45% of their FMV.
“Best nonprofits” score high on fun and diversity
In a tight labor market, employee retention is critical — and organizations can learn some important lessons about what keeps workers happy from the most recent The NonProfit Times’ Best Nonprofits To Work For list. One of the conclusions from the survey? Fun matters.
According to the publication, employees at 88% of the best medium-sized nonprofits (those with between 50 and 249 employees) agree with the statement: “At this organization, employees have fun at work.” Examples include game-based celebrations, book clubs and spirit weeks.
Happy employees also work at organizations that prize diversity and inclusion. Ninety-two percent of employees at all of the organizations that made the list believe their employers nurture a culture of diversity and inclusion.