Analysts from the Praxis Center for Policy Studies have estimated that if all those performing volunteer work in Estonia were paid state salaries for their efforts, the government would have to fork out 80 million euros per year to keep them on.

The figure is equivalent to 0.5 percent of the nation’s GDP.

The study, the first of its kind carried out in Estonia, found that 15 percent of the population participates in volunteer work from time to time, either volunteering on a regular basis or taking part in large-scale civic initiatives, ETV reported.

Praxis’s findings came out just days before this year’s “Let’s Do It” environmental cleanup campaign, a civic initiative that attracts thousands of participants each year.

Risto Kaarna, one of the study’s authors, said that it would be difficult to compare Estonia’s volunteerism to that of other countries because there is a lack of research into the subject and methodologies differ. Nevertheless, he estimated that the number of volunteers in the country is comparable to that of southern Europe 15 years ago.

Source: Volunteerism Saves State 80 Million Per Year, Study Finds, ERR