While volunteering is done for FREE by volunteers agencies like iVolunteer try to put a number to the value that volunteering has generated for the NGO. However its easier said then done. Take for example when a volunteer designs a newsletter for an organisation. The volunteer might think that the value of his or her work is INR X where as the NGO might feel it is Y. All good till the time when Y is significantly less then X.
The difference in perception of value is obvious. One would assume that the volunteer would have good idea of market value of the work that he or she has done. On the other hand NGOs are sometimes not aware of the market value. In other times they are driven by budget or how much they can pay for a certain service. The business of valuing volunteering becomes even more complicated when the volunteer is advising the NGO. Again each party values the advice differently. Similarly when a volunteer is giving time in events or teaching in a school then also the problem is in valuing his or contribution.
One way could be to average the value that volunteer and NGO ascribes to a particular service. Another way could be to put down time taken in volunteering assignment and then multiply that with the cost per hour. This cost one can find out from various industries like consulting designing, education etc.
A radical way to look at this is to identify who is your main customer and then work with them to come to the correct value of volunteering. For instance if NGO is your main customer then one goes with what ever the NGO think is the value of the volunteering that they received from the volunteer.
One may also argue how we can also value intangibles that a volunteer brings to the organisation like fresh pair of eyes, new networking opportunities and possible fundraising in the long term. This is even more difficult to value than a specific job that the volunteer accomplishes.
Like in most cases the first step in calculating the value of volunteering is to START doing it irrespective of the method. With enough practice one will eventually get closer to the real value that volunteers generate.
Next question : What is the cost of volunteering?