Happy Volunteer Month! April is National Volunteer Month and is dedicated to honoring all of the volunteers in our communities. Thank you for coming to volunteergreatfalls.org and seeking out ways to help your community! Your time and skills enrich the lives of residents and guests and help make Cascade County a great place to live, work, and play.
Montana is a volunteer state. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, we rank 8th in the nation in volunteerism. Almost 39% of Montanans, or about 323,800 people, volunteer 28.8 million hours each year, and at $24.17 per hour (the going rate for a volunteer hour), that is $696.2 million of volunteer service to our state.
While the monetary estimation of the value of volunteer time is a useful measurement, it does not paint the complete picture of what volunteerism is. Volunteering is about giving, contributing, and helping other individuals and the community as a whole. Volunteering is the act of working with others to make a meaningful impact on our communities.
Many feed the homeless, while others visit shut-ins to provide human companionship. Others build houses, and some clean parks. Volunteers tutor children to prepare them for school, and some assist with medical services. All of these have a positive impact on our communities at differing levels. What value can you place on the time spent with a child that provides them with the tools to succeed in school and, thus, in life? How can you measure the difference a clean and safe park makes to a family? What is the worth of these activities?
Rather than trying to fathom the monetary value of volunteers or the abstract worth of the services they perform, imagine what it would be like if no one volunteered. What would our community look like if no one showed up to help? What basic needs would go unmet? What opportunities to grow would be lost? Perhaps the true value of volunteering can’t be found trying to understand the benefit gained from those who volunteer. Instead, consider where we would be without volunteers and recognize what we would lose every day without them. Thank you all for your dedicated service; you are truly invaluable.