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In Giving, How Much Do We Receive? The Social Value of Volunteering

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Andrew G. Haldane, Chief Economist, Bank of England, recently stated that “whether seen from an economic or social perspective, volunteering is big business, with annual turnover well into three-figure billions.” And in his recent lecture to the Society of Business Economists in London, Haldane also pointed out that volunteering “is a well-hidden jewel, whose social worth is rarely the subject of a public valuation.”

In this special feature, e-Volunteerism presents an edited excerpt of Haldane’s lecture, which provides what Haldane describes as “a valuation, however imperfect” to help understand the social value of volunteering and exactly why this economist thinks it is so important. “If the value of volunteering remains largely out of sight, it is likely also to remain out of mind,” Haldane predicted. “The potential economic and societal benefits from volunteering then risk remaining un-tapped. Yet with a nudge, that volunteer army could swell further.”

Because Haldane is an internationally recognized economist, his presentation carries considerable influence and importance for the volunteer community. Haldane’s lecture includes a description of the fascinating volunteer service called Pro Bono Economics that he helped establish in the UK, which will be of great interest to all e-Volunteerism readers.