4-H Volunteer Impact Study

The 2018 North Central Region 4-H Volunteer Impact Study was a 12-state study of volunteers in the 4-H Youth Development Program. These states included: IA, IL, IN, KS, MI, MN, MO, ND, NE, OH, SD, and WI. An electronic survey was sent to 1,000 randomly selected volunteers in each state and a total of 2,978 volunteers completed the survey (30% response rate).

The purpose of the study was to document the impact volunteers have on the 4-H program. Specifically, the goals were:

  • To document what individuals believe they gain from their experiences as a 4-H volunteer;

  • To investigate the organizational benefits the 4-H program gains from volunteers; and

  • To assess volunteers’ beliefs about the public value of volunteering with the 4-H program.
53% Gen Xers
27% Boomers
19% Millenials
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89% white, non-Hispanics


Volunteer years of service

Childhood participation in 4-H

63% of volunteers were part of 4-H as a child;
37% were not.

Individual Benefits

Volunteers personally benefit from their involvement in the 4-H Youth Development Program. Volunteers come into the 4-H program hoping to support youth and make a difference, but they also gain skills in teaching, leadership and communication. These skills transfer to other environments in which volunteers work and live.

Volunteers Reported:
I was a caring adult for youth: 96%
I had fun: 95%
I built new relationships with youth: 92%
I helped youth develop leadership skills: 89%
I thought about how to include all youth in 4-H: 87%
I made a difference in the lives of youth: 87%
I positively impacted the community in which I live: 87%
I gained skills to use in other volunteering: 86%
Organizational Benefits

Volunteers give their time, talents, and energy to the 4-H Youth Development program. On average volunteers give 9 hours per month - annually each volunteer’s time is worth $2600!* In addition to their time, 96% of volunteers contributed supplies and 89% of volunteers contributed money to the program.

Volunteers serve as primary ambassadors to our program doing work such as talking about the importance of 4-H, recruiting new youth and volunteers, and growing community partnerships. Most importantly, volunteers help youth gain learning and leadership skills as they prepare for careers and engage in communities.

Public Value

Volunteers impact the communities where they live and work. Their value goes beyond the scope of the program and leads to changes in community conditions. Volunteers impact communities in four main ways: by making communities stronger, by connecting communities, by improving the health of communities, and by increasing civic involvement.

4-H Volunteers Matter

Volunteers make a significant impact. The 4-H Youth Development program would not be possible without volunteers.
Through their service, volunteers grow personally. They enrich the 4-H program and youth. They make our communities stronger.


* Direct value of volunteer contributions based on Independent Sector hourly rate of $24.69 for each hour of volunteer service nationally.

2019 Copyright North Central Region (NCR) 4-H Volunteer Impact Study conducted by the NCR Volunteer Extension Specialists and Evaluation Specialists from MN and WI.

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