Accounting for the value of volunteer contributions

Laurie Mook, Jorge Sousa, Susan Elgie, Jack Quarter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


There is a need for an accounting paradigm that properly illustrates the value that nonprofits generate. Much of that value comes from volunteer contributions, which are significant but for the most part are not included in financial accounting statements, even though our research indicates that they account for almost a third of the value added by these organizations. This article reports the results of two studies related to measuring volunteer value in the accounting of nonprofits and then draws some policy implications from the research. The first study, a survey of 156 nonprofits in Canada, found that although about one-third of the sample kept records of volunteer hours, only 3 percent included a value for them in their accounting statements. The second study, of nonprofit accountants, found that they did not feel that financial accounting statements properly represented the contribution of their organizations. A series of policy recommendations are presented, including suggestions for revising the regulations of accounting bodies for imputing volunteer value and creating accounting statements that better represent the contribution of nonprofits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)401-415
Number of pages15
JournalNonprofit Management and Leadership
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management


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