Finance News: Proposal to value volunteers met with doubt

Most finance directors have serious reservations about valuing volunteer time in annual accounts.

The proposal to use a cross-sector standard such as the minimum wage to put a financial value on volunteer hours was made by the Charity Finance Directors' Group in its Inputs Matter report last year.

But results from a consultation on the report with CFDG members and the general public reveal a very mixed response to the idea.

The majority of respondents were either opposed in principle or concerned about the practicalities. Objections cited included concerns that the burden on staff and volunteers would be excessive and that the increased bureaucracy would divert efforts from charitable objects.

Most respondents also disagreed with the recommendation that the minimum wage should be used to value volunteer hours. They felt that volunteers work differently from paid staff and they might feel undervalued by the association with the minimum wage.

But the CFDG says it will go ahead with developing "practical systems for valuing volunteer time", while trying to secure funding for the next stage of the project.

Project chairman Les Jones said: "We are very impressed with the responses we had to Inputs Matter. Respondents agreed in principle with most of the recommendations, and many of the concerns associated with the valuing of volunteers related to the practicalities of the proposal rather than the principle."

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