The monetary value of volunteering
The scientists of a study on the economic value of voluntary work by the Vienna University of Economics and Business have asked themselves the same question. Astrid Pennerstorfer and Eva More Hollerweger tried to get an approximate number from different data sets and came to a result with a wide range.
Too little data makes volunteering difficult to measure
The economic value of voluntary work is between 507 million and 5.7 billion euros. The range of fluctuation is so enormous because different time exposure surveys were used for the calculations. Different data collections produce different results. This is also due to the fact that volunteering is usually not precisely documented. According to the study, the most reliable figure is 680 million euros per year, which is the value of volunteer work in Vienna. However, this number can be seen as the lower limit.
The fluctuation in the calculation makes it clear how uncertain the respondents are about their hours worked and how important a systematic recording of volunteer work would be in order to better appreciate its value.
Informal volunteering has the greatest economic value
Closely followed by art and culture, the Viennese invest the most time in informal volunteer work such as neighbourhood help or free help for friends. Accordingly, it also has the highest economic value. Further down are the voluntary activities in the local town, in refugee aid or in animal and environmental protection.