University of Memphis surpasses $1 million economic impact volunteer milestone

February 20, 2020 - The University of Memphis has reached a landmark surpassing the $1 million milestone for economic impact through community service in the City of Memphis. More than 5,000 UofM students have contributed 45,000+ service hours since the launch in August 2018.

The results of students using the platform regularly for community service and data tracking has contributed to the exponential growth of the platform and overall impact to the City of Memphis. Since the platform’s official launch, the data shows that the impact of community service doubled each year among UofM students.

The value of volunteer time is based on the hourly earnings approximated from yearly values of all production and non-supervisory workers and averages of earnings provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The current value of volunteer time for the state of Tennessee is $22.67 per hour (The Independent Sector, 2019).

In August 2017, the UofM entered into an official partnership with Volunteer Odyssey as the University's official service partner. This partnership has been vital as Volunteer Odyssey, a Memphis-based one stop shop for meaningful volunteer opportunities in the city, has provided the University of Memphis vetted service opportunities to students that contribute to real community needs.

In August 2018, the UofM officially rolled out its University portion of a city-wide volunteer engagement platform, VolunteerCompass. This platform is a comprehensive volunteer management system that houses volunteer information for individuals, nonprofits and businesses to mobilize and match volunteers with opportunities for Memphis organizations and track volunteer data in real time.

“The partnership with Volunteer Odyssey and the VolunteerCompass platform has enabled us to greater connect our students to the City of Memphis and its needs,” said Zachary Carr, associate director of the Center for Service Learning and Volunteerism. “Building a bridge and connecting the dots between our campus and the city allows our students to become active members of the community and has a lasting, positive impact on the community at large. Having a greater sense of purpose in the Memphis community can even increase the likelihood of retaining students and their talent in the City of Memphis.”

The 2018 Volunteering in America report found that 77.34 million adults (30.3%) volunteered through an organization last year. Altogether, Americans volunteered nearly 6.9 billion hours, worth an estimated $167 billion in economic value, based on the independent sector’s estimate of the average value of a volunteer hour.

“The fabric of our nation is strengthened by the service of its volunteers.” said Barbara Stewart, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “When we stand side-by-side to help others, our differences fade away, and we learn that Americans have more in common than we realize. Each and every day, ordinary Americans are stepping up to support their fellow citizens to help with needs both great and small because they understand the power service has to change communities and lives for the better.”

About the University of Memphis Center for Service Learning and Volunteerism
The Center for Service Learning and Volunteerism's purpose is to serve as liaison between faculty, students and community agencies. The Center offers support, resources and placement opportunities to enable students to experience a culture of learning in a real-world setting in addition to their University classrooms. During these learning experiences, there is a focus on civic engagement and social responsibility. This ultimately ensures reciprocity, as all participants (students, faculty and community partners) benefit from each other.

About Volunteer Odyssey
Volunteer Odyssey was founded by Dr. Sarah Petschonek in 2013 with the mission to develop a pathway to volunteering that enriches the lives and communities within Memphis. Volunteer Odyssey launched the country's first virtual volunteer fair, called Volio, and supplies volunteers to more than 50 nonprofits in the Memphis area. For more information, please visit volunteerodyssey.com and follow Volunteer Odyssey on facebook.com/VolunteerOdyssey.