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Social Accounting for Volunteer Contributions

Why Nonprofits Report Volunteer Contributions

Volunteers are important, sometimes indispensable, in achieving the mission of nonprofit organizations. In Canada and the U.S., in one year volunteer contributions are the equivalent of almost ten million full-time jobs. At the organizational reporting level, however, most volunteer activities are not acknowledged as part of the value that nonprofits add to society. Conventional accounting systems miss the fact that the social impacts of nonprofits are a vital part of their performance story.

Expressing the value of volunteer contributions in economic terms through social accounting statements makes good sense for nonprofits for two reasons: 1) organizations can include their value and scope in decision-making processes; and 2) nonprofits themselves can be recognized by governments, funders, donors, and the community as contributing value by organizing and managing the efforts of volunteers.

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