The Gross Volunteer Product of the Netherlands runs into billions

ANP/Hollandse Hoogte/ Robin Utrecht

Almost 7 million people in the Netherlands volunteer every year. A hefty number, but the demand for volunteers remains high and there is a shortage of helpers. Lucas Meijs, professor of volunteering at the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) calculates for newspaper FD what volunteering brings to our country and it runs into billions.

In the Netherlands, the percentage of volunteers is over 44 percent. Compared to other countries, this is a lot; there, the percentage often does not exceed 20 percent. Meijs has a solution for increasing the pool of volunteers: "Volunteering is still often an activity of white highly educated people from the same circle. Low-educated people mistakenly think they cannot do it, and people from migrant groups exclude themselves but are also excluded. There is a world to be won there."

Gross volunteer product (bvp)

What is the value of this activity? Lucas Meijs makes an attempt for the FD to calculate the gross volunteer product (bvp). 'It is of course largely about the social value, but for now I look at it purely economically and assume the replacement value. The average volunteer works four hours a week. Then 10 volunteers constitute one FTE, i.e. 10 times four hours is 40 hours. For safety, assume 6 million volunteers, then you end up with 600,000 full-time jobs.' It then depends, says Meijs, whether you multiply that number by the minimum wage or a modal income.

The minimum wage is €1725 a month. Twelve times that means €20,700. Then multiply that amount by 600,000 jobs and the result is €12.4 billion. Based on a modal income, you arrive at the staggering figure of €22.8 billion.

Read more about how volunteering can be funded more structurally in newspaper FD.

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