Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Give away your time

By Dan Kadlec, contributing editor


BILLIONAIRES: Sit on nonprofit boards.

YOU: Give your time to your favorite cause.

For the rich, generous gifts often lead to a seat on the board of directors and a real say in how a charity is run. You can get close to the inner workings of your favorite cause by offering your time and talent.

Don't underestimate the value of what you can provide. A typical volunteer hour at, say, a soup kitchen or in your parks department is worth $20.85 to the organization, according to Independent Sector, a group that tracks nonprofits.

If you have professional skills -- medical, legal, accounting, tech -- your time is worth around $100 an hour, estimates Social Venture Partners International, a nonprofit that supports philanthropy.

Volunteering is most valuable when you are dependable. Commit to at least four hours a month for one year, and shoot for a role you're prepared for so the charity doesn't have to train you, says Heisman of the National Philanthropic Trust.

You can't write off the value of your time on your taxes, though any expenses you incur, such as office supplies or building materials, are deductible. You're not likely to reap giant tax savings from volunteer work, of course. Says Heisman, "Charity is about more than the tax benefits."

Additional reporting by Ryan Derousseau. To top of page

Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed3.98%4.26%
15 yr fixed3.03%3.15%
5/1 ARM2.95%3.15%
30 yr refi4.09%4.34%
15 yr refi3.13%3.22%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,751.39 121.12 0.69%
Nasdaq 5,111.73 22.52 0.44%
S&P 500 2,108.57 15.32 0.73%
Treasuries 2.28 0.03 1.29%
Data as of 4:10pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 18.18 0.30 1.65%
Ford Motor Co 15.24 0.56 3.85%
Facebook Inc 97.12 1.82 1.92%
Pfizer Inc 35.77 0.42 1.19%
Micron Technology In... 19.87 0.12 0.61%
Data as of 3:55pm ET

Sections

Buffalo Wild Wings CEO Sally Smith said a minimum wage of $15 an hour for fast food workers would probably mean her company and other restaurants would cut back on hiring inexperienced teens. More

A study by research institute Data & Society claims Uber uses phantom cars to attract customers. More

Walter Palmer's dental business is effectively frozen after he admitted killing Zimbabwe's protected lion Cecil. More

You can't blame it on the economy anymore. More Millennials now have jobs, but are still living at home. More