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Global volunteering to be highlighted

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A method for measuring the impact of volunteerism worldwide is being developed through a new partnership between the International Labour Organization and the Center for Civil Society Studies at John Hopkins University.

With a $105,000 startup grant from the United Nations Volunteers, the effort aims to highlight the economic importance of donated time by creating guidelines for measuring volunteerism in countries across the globe through the use of through labor-force surveys.

The project, with a total budget of $620,000, emanates from the belief that the work of volunteers is a critical component of labor that has not yet been fully gauged.

“Volunteerism is one of the great renewable resources for social problem-solving around the world,” Lester Salamon, director of the Center for Civil Society Studies, says in a statement.  “Yet its scale and impact have never been fully measured.”

The creation of such guidelines also was mandated in the 2003 U.N. Statistics Division Handbook on Nonprofit Institutions in the System of National Accounts.

The new procedure will be unveiled in December of 2008.

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