Time is money, and the time your Scout unit spends volunteering in the community is no exception.
Add up all the volunteer hours recorded by Scouts, Scouters and Venturers last year, and you’ve got $331 million in volunteer service to our country. (You’re welcome, America.)
We know this number because Independent Sector, a nonprofit network dedicated to supporting other nonprofits, recently updated its estimate for the national value of volunteer time.
That new number: $23.07 an hour. That’s up from last year’s count of $22.55 per hour.
Let’s say your troop recorded 300 man-hours of community service last year, including Scouting for Food, Eagle projects, community clean-up days and more. Congratulations! You just saved your community nearly $7,000.
Of course, you shouldn’t expect a check from your city for cleaning up the playground. And you can’t deduct time spent volunteering this year on your taxes next year (though you can deduct certain other Scouting expenses).
But this week is National Volunteer Week, so it’s a great time to consider just how valuable the 14,356,107 hours of volunteer time you put in last year really were.
Yes, there’s a monetary value. The $23.07 number helps us quantify just how important Scouts, Scouters and Venturers are to our country.
As Independent Sector writes, “The estimate helps acknowledge the millions of individuals who dedicate their time, talents and energy to making a difference. Charitable organizations can use this estimate to quantify the enormous value volunteers provide.”
But the real value of Scouting service projects goes beyond a dollar amount. You can’t put a number on the way service projects build character in young people. You can’t quantify the way they spread Scouting spirit everywhere. In other words, their real value can only be called “priceless.”