Accounting for the value of volunteer contributions
Article first published online: 8 JUN 2005
© Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Nonprofit Management and Leadership
Volume 15, Issue 4, pages 401–415, Summer 2005
How to Cite
Mook, L., Sousa, J., Elgie, S. and Quarter, J. (2005), Accounting for the value of volunteer contributions. Nonprofit Management and Leadership, 15: 401–415. doi: 10.1002/nml.79
- Issue published online: 8 JUN 2005
- Article first published online: 8 JUN 2005
There is a need for an accounting paradigm that properly illustrates the value that nonprofits generate. Much of that value comes from volunteer contributions, which are significant but for the most part are not included in financial accounting statements, even though our research indicates that they account for almost a third of the value added by these organizations. This article reports the results of two studies related to measuring volunteer value in the accounting of nonprofits and then draws some policy implications from the research. The first study, a survey of 156 nonprofits in Canada, found that although about one-third of the sample kept records of volunteer hours, only 3 percent included a value for them in their accounting statements. The second study, of nonprofit accountants, found that they did not feel that financial accounting statements properly represented the contribution of their organizations. A series of policy recommendations are presented, including suggestions for revising the regulations of accounting bodies for imputing volunteer value and creating accounting statements that better represent the contribution of nonprofits.