September 7, 2011
The Economic Impact of Arkansas Volunteers for 2010
Arkansans donated more than 22 million hours of volunteer service in 2010, the financial equivalent of $529,710,154 worth of work, according to the Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Community Service and Nonprofit Support’s (DCSNS) annual report, The Economic Impact of Arkansas Volunteers.
The report, done in collaboration with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Institute for Economic Advancement, provides a comprehensive, statewide look at volunteer hours and service. DCSNS, formerly the Division of Volunteerism, has published the report every year since 1983.
“Volunteers in this state do a tremendous amount of work, and this report gives us an opportunity to quantify and recognize their efforts,” DCSNS Director Sherry Middleton said. “Arkansas would not be the same without them.”
In all, 737 businesses, agencies, schools and organizations completed the survey questionnaire about volunteer hours and service for 2010. Combined, they showed a total of 22,744,121 hours of volunteer service by 376,913 Arkansans. For the State of Arkansas to provide equivalent services using general tax revenue, the state’s personal income tax revenue would have to increase by more than $13 billion. That would require a 13.6 percent increase in the state’s personal income tax revenue.
“Like the rest of the nation, Arkansas finds itself confronted by an economic climate that brings great challenges and times that test the fortitude of our people,” Gov. Mike Beebe said in a letter introducing the report. “But we can feel fortunate that, even as we face difficult problems, citizens are volunteering to help one another in numerous ways.”
Volunteer hours were broken down into four categories: direct service, indirect service, boards/commissions and advocacy. Survey results showed that 62.4 percent of volunteers provided direct service, such as tutoring, mentoring or serving food to the needy; 25.5 provided indirect services such as fundraising; 8.2 percent served on boards/commissions or advisory committees without compensation; and 3.9 percent worked as advocates by speaking at meetings extolling the merits of volunteerism or lobbying for additional funding for various services.
Middleton presented Beebe with The Economic Impact of Volunteers in Arkansas 2010 report at the annual Spirit of 110 Awards held at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion on Wednesday afternoon. The award ceremony recognizes state employees and agencies who involve volunteers in state government.
The mission of the DHS Division of Community Service and Nonprofit Support is to strengthen community resources, volunteerism and national service in Arkansas by offering training and technical assistance.