There is no way we could run AARP Foundation without our volunteers — including the 36,000 AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers who on April 15 will wrap up two and a half months of free service helping older, vulnerable taxpayers file their federal and state income tax returns.
Many Tax-Aide volunteers are retired accountants, tax lawyers and tax preparers. Others discovered or refined their tax-preparation ability while taking the training course before the beginning of the tax season — every year.
That’s why I was so pleased to learn that Independent Sector recently raised the hourly value of volunteer time to $22.14 an hour — the amount that would have to be paid to an hourly worker to get the same work done. This figure can vary by state, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s way too low.
No figure is high enough to reflect the value of the work of AARP Foundation’s thousands of volunteers, nor the value of the tireless hours they donate to help struggling older people get back on the road to opportunity. But we can celebrate the volunteers themselves during National Volunteer Week (April 21-27). Even better, we can thank them every day of the year.
Jo Ann Jenkins is executive vice president & chief operating officer of AARP and president of AARP Foundation.