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Some cautionary tales about using such a methodology can be found at

Indeed, Rob. Great point and resource.

Jayne Cravens' post brings up some good points about relying solely on the equivalent wage value of volunteers to establish their worth. It tends to downplay all of the other benefits volunteers bring (i.e., cash donations, in-kind resources, increased community awareness, etc.). And, it can have dire consequences for paid staff (and program sustainability) in a troubled economy, when folks think they can replace paid staff directly with "free" volunteer labor.

All the more reason to be as precise as we can by including as many of the benefits as possible (above and beyond simple wage replacement value) into the calculation, while at the same time acknowledging the resources necessary to effectively engage community members in service. The challenge remains as to how to quantify those intangibles, such as community "good will," etc. It can be tough without a research budget.

I'm not ready to give up on trying to calculate ROI yet, but I recognize it's an imperfect system thus far. Thanks for keeping the conversation going. :)

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