Research Methodology

To estimate the dollar value of work done by volunteers in Ontario’s Anglophone community literacy organizations Community Literacy of Ontario conducted province wide research in 2004.

As part of the research, two different surveys were circulated to Ontario’s 105 Anglophone community literacy agencies - one for the literacy agency staff and one for volunteers. In total 53 agencies and 204 volunteers returned surveys. These returns represented all geographic regions of Ontario and both urban and rural communities. For both staff and volunteers, the samples were considered statistically representative of their respective populations.

Agency staff were asked about the number of volunteers involved in their programs, the type of work these volunteers provided, and for an estimate of the number of hours volunteers gave per month to different types of tasks. Volunteers were asked about the numbers of hours they worked each month, and what tasks they performed when they worked.

Survey responses were used to generate estimates for the following:

  • The average number of literacy volunteers in community-based agencies Ontario per year
  • The average total hours volunteers donate monthly and annually
  • The average number of hours volunteers donate monthly and annually according to different task areas
  • The main out-of-pocket expense areas reported by volunteers

These estimates were then used to calculate the economic value of volunteers using the Specialist Approach to Replacement Costs model outlined in the Canadian Centre for Philanthropy’s “How to Assign a Monetary Value to Volunteer Contributions.”