Frontier is delighted to have supported Serve the City (STC) on a pro bono basis, evaluating STC’s economic impact.
STC is a Brussels-based nonprofit organisation (NPO) which connects volunteers with projects around the city. The projects provide support to marginalised people, such as homeless people, asylum seekers and refugees, elderly people, persons with disabilities, children in need and victims of abuse.
STC’s impact on volunteers and beneficiaries
We carried out an economic impact assessment to measure the impact of STC’s activities on both volunteers and beneficiaries.
Volunteering is associated with improved personal wellbeing, for instance, through increased life satisfaction or reduced mental health issues. Drawing from academic literature in this field, we estimated this impact in monetary terms, and find that the cumulative benefit on the wellbeing of volunteers at STC was approx. €778,000 in 2021. In other words, an STC volunteer would have to receive on average EUR 804, to compensate for the hypothetical wellbeing loss attached to giving up volunteering.
STC’s work contributes towards hunger relief (€202,000 annual benefits) and to improve beneficiaries’ education (providing €33,000 worth of tutoring and €7,300 worth of English classes annually). These estimates only represent the direct monetary value of services enjoyed by beneficiaries. Additionally, STC’s projects can be expected to have wider economic impacts on beneficiaries and the community which we could not estimate within the scope of this project.
The value of volunteering
Frontier also assessed the monetary value of volunteering to STC. Volunteers bring significant value to NPOs, as they help provide services that NPOs would otherwise deliver with paid staff or could not carry out due to limited funds. We characterise this as the “internal” impact of volunteering and estimate the value of volunteering through a replacement cost approach. This methodology estimates the cost for the employer of paying an employee to perform the same task that a volunteer carries out for free. Using this approach, the 18,215 hours of activities that STC’s volunteers carried out in 2021 are valued at approx. €258,000.
“We are grateful for the hard work of the team of economists at Frontier Economics who put together this economic impact assessment – and we are thrilled to see that the impact of STC has been immense, especially given the context of the pandemic.”
Jeremie Malengreaux, Associate Director at STC
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