This week I was reading a really interesting article about the value placed on volunteer hours and it got me thinking, "I wonder what the value is for the volunteers at Palmetto Place?" So, I got to work. I started by tracking all the volunteers who have come to the shelter to work with the kids so far this year. Now, I'm pretty good at keeping track of those who were scheduled to come in, but not so much for volunteers who dropped in last minute or groups where I didn't have the exact number of members attending. So my estimate on number of volunteers is low at over 100. Next I added up how many hours each volunteer spent at the shelter. To my surprise, I found that we had SO many volunteers who do SO many different things for the shelter! From January 1st to September 15th we've logged more than 550 volunteer hours! Now that I knew the number of volunteers we had and how many hours they served, I was ready to relate it back to the statistics. It's very difficult to put a dollar value on volunteer time because volunteers provide many intangibles that can not be easily quantified. For example, volunteers demonstrate the amount of support an organization has within a community, provide work for short periods of time, and provide support on a wide range of projects. Based on this article by Independent Sector, in South Carolina each volunteer hour was worth $21.14 in 2015. It states that:
The value of volunteer time is based on the hourly earnings (approximated from yearly values) of all production and non-supervisory workers on private non-farm payrolls average (based on yearly earnings provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics) for the national average. Independent Sector indexes this figure to determine state values and increases it by 12 percent to estimate for fringe benefits.
I've done the math and checked it twice, finally I had the answer to my question. So far this year, the volunteers at Palmetto Place are valued at more than $11,000! So, the next time you think volunteering won't make a difference, remember that your time is invaluable to the organizations you give it to.
If this has inspired you to get involved, you can find all of our volunteer opportunities here. I've also included a few of my personal favorites below.
Would you like to have a dinner date with the children of Palmetto Place? We would love to have you! Individuals and groups are encouraged to bring a ready-to-eat meal and have dinner with the kids. We ask that you arrive early enough to serve supper between 6 and 6:30 pm, and that groups be limited to no more than 10 adults. Help us meet our nutrition standards by including one meat, at least one vegetable, and one fruit in your meal. We will provide drinks. Additional items, such as dessert, are guest’s choice! But please, no sodas, pizza, or too-spicy foods. You can also leave your cookware at home—we’ve got plenty.
Another option for Super Suppers is to deliver either a ready to eat or frozen meal to the teen house. Because our teens stay busy with after school activities and part time jobs we can not guarantee they will be home in time for dinner and give them the option to warm up left overs. Volunteers who would like to donate meals to the teen house can stay, but are encouraged to drop-off instead.
The young ladies living at Palmetto Place need your help! Some of the residents were never taught basic hygiene tips or how to maintain beautiful, healthy ethnic hair. We appreciate those willing to volunteer time and talents to do weaves, sew-ins, and braids, but also need volunteers to teach our residents how to care for their hair once it’s done. We are also looking for hair care items, that complete list can be found here.
Sponsor a Kid at the Fair-
This is my personal favorite! Our kids are like every other kid in the state and look forward to the state fair all year long. For many, they've never had a chance to go, or if they have they've never been on the rides or tasted a deep fried Oreo. This year we are looking for special sponsors who would like to purchase fair food and wristbands. Most days of the year we keep our kids on a healthy diet, but the fair is something special. The fair is not the same unless you can ride in the Ferris Wheel and walk through a spooky house, so we are also looking for sponsors to donate wristbands. Sponsoring one child's wristband is $35. Sponsoring a wristband and meal for one child is $50. There are more than 40 children at Palmetto Place who need sponsors!
There are man more volunteer opportunities online, these are just a few of my favorites. If you're interested in becoming a volunteer for Palmetto Place please email our Project Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.