Volunteering Comes with Benefits

The pandemic increased the number of people seeking help from nonprofits, but decreased the number of volunteers available (or willing) to help out. Now that most mask mandates have been lifted and we’ve adapted to the “new normal,” it’s time to consider volunteering to support your community, the causes and organizations you believe in—and yourself.

That’s right. Volunteering has the potential to bring a lot of benefits to volunteers—in addition to the organizations and people they serve. And not all volunteering is through nonprofits. More than 124 million people—or nearly half of the U.S. population age 16 and older—informally helped their neighbors at the height of the pandemic.1

How volunteering helps volunteers

As the pandemic declines, some people may still be reluctant to start volunteering. If you’re one of them, you may want to consider the many potential benefits volunteering provides that may help you move forward in a post-pandemic world. Some of these benefits include:

  • Connecting to your community and helping to make it a better place
  • Making new friends and contacts
  • Combatting depression, stress, anger, and anxiety
  • Increasing self-confidence
  • Providing a sense of purpose
  • Improving your physical health
  • Advancing your career
  • Learning valuable job skills
  • Gaining career experience
  • Volunteering as a pathway to employment
The need for volunteers is great

While more people are returning to volunteering, there’s still a great need. A newly released study by the Do Good Institute2 at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy revealed the following:

  • 64.4% of nonprofits reported an increase in demand for their organizations’ services, but nearly 30% are operating with less funding and paid staff than they had before the pandemic
  • 46.8% of the nonprofit leaders surveyed said recruiting sufficient volunteers is a big problem
  • 72.2% of the nonprofit leaders surveyed said they feel volunteers improve the quality of services or programs provided to a great extent, but only 25.2% of unders agreed.

“The gap in funding and staffing makes volunteers even more important for many mission-driven organizations,” said Nathan Dietz, Senior Researcher at the Do Good Institute. “Nonprofits will likely face staff burnout or service delivery issues if this continues. Many of these organizations offer critical services and support to some of the most vulnerable people in our society, so this is something we should all be concerned about.”3

The value of volunteering

In April 2022, the Do Good Institute and the Independent Sector announced that the latest value of an hour of volunteer time is estimated to be worth $29.95, which is a 4.9% increase from 2021.4 Despite the value of your time, though, you won’t get a tax break for that. If you keep good records, you can deduct certain out-of-pocket expenses if they are not reimbursed and are spent because of your volunteer services for a qualified 501 (c)(3) nonprofit. Examples include the purchase and cleaning of required uniforms, and volunteer-related travel expenses.

Where to find volunteer opportunities

There is such a great need for volunteers that the opportunities may seem countless. It may be difficult to decide what you want to do—and where. Fortunately, there are websites with databases designed to help match volunteers with organizations nearby that need their help. These include:

  • AmeriCorps
  • VolunteerMatch
  • Points of Light
  • Idealist
  • Volunteer
  • Peace Corps
  • American Red Cross
Find time to say thank you

Whether you plan to take on new volunteer opportunities or not, the need for volunteers is a good reason to, at least, say thank you to those who are volunteering their time and experience to help make our communities—and our country—better.


1 United States Census Bureau: “Volunteering in America: New U.S. Census Bureau, AmeriCorps Research.”
2 Do Good Institute at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy: “The State of Volunteer Engagement: Insights
from Nonprofit Leaders and Funders”

3 Do Good Institute: “New Research Reveals Volunteerism as Critical Driver of Nonprofits’ Success, Highlighting Opportunity
for Funders to Build Nonprofit Capacity in the Post-Pandemic World”

4 Independent Sector: Value of Volunteer Time


This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no assurance that the views or strategies discussed are suitable for all investors or will yield positive outcomes. Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal.

This material was prepared by LPL Financial.

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Peter M. Babilla, CFP®, CRPS®


Peter Babilla brings 40 years of experience in investment management and fiduciary* financial consulting to Vertex Planning Partners, LLC.

Pete graduated from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana with a Bachelor’s of Science in Finance.

He began his career in 1983 with a focus on institutional fixed-income portfolio management, primarily working with community banks. After a decade serving institutional clients, Pete shifted his focus to working with individuals, families and business owners, providing guidance and education in all areas of Wealth Management.  Among his areas of focus are accumulation and retirement planning, investment management, risk management, and estate and wealth transfer.

Pete’s planning philosophy allows him to create a personalized program for clients, based on their own unique goals and circumstances.  The extensive investment and planning platform offered by Vertex enables him to create a highly customized program, tailored to each individual client.

Pete and his wife Suzanne have two children, and have resided in Wheaton, Illinois for the past 30 years.  He enjoys golf, reading, and traveling with his family.  Pete gives back as a past Board Member of the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago, where his focus is on improving the lives of those living with epilepsy.

Pete works as fiduciary for his clients and holds the CERTIFIED FIANANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) designation and the Chartered Retirement Plan Specialist (CRPS®) designation.



Justin D’Agostino joined Vertex Partners in 2019 and is a Private Wealth Advisor that serves a select group of business owners and affluent families. He specializes in investments, financial planning, and succession planning. His interest and knowledge in providing comprehensive financial planning and wealth management services to clients was sparked when he worked at a boutique tax and wealth management firm in Michigan. He has nine years of experience in the financial services industry, and his mission is to provide every client with targeted, comprehensive financial advice and to help them implement customized strategies designed to move them closer to accomplishing their unique goals.

Justin attended Hillsdale College where he earned his BA in Accounting and Financial Management and was a member and captain of the football team. Justin is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional, holds the Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor™ and Accredited Investment Fiduciary™ designations.

Justin and his fiancé, Alexandra, reside in Chicago, Illinois. He is an avid sports fan and enjoys golfing, playing soccer and spending summer weekends with his family.

Scott A. Sandee CFP®, CIMA®, CPWA®, CEPA


Scott Sandee brings over 20 years of experience as Managing Partner. He is responsible for leading the firm’s efforts in assisting middle-market business owners and seven and eight-figure families to plan and realize financial goals based on their unique aspirations and situations.

With a privately held family business background, Scott has helped owners prepare for and execute a successful transition. In addition, he works with business owners and their advisors to develop financial strategies to maximize sales proceeds and minimize future taxes.

Before joining Vertex, Scott served in financial planning and investment strategy roles at Oxford Financial Group, Capital Group, and The Northern Trust Company, working with Chicago’s HNW/UHNW families clients.

Scott holds the Certified Financial Planner®, Certified Private Wealth Advisor®, Certified Investment Management Analyst®, and Certified Exit Planning Advisor designations. Scott earned his B.S. in Computer Science from Northern Illinois University, and his family resides in Wilmette, IL.

Julie Hupp CFP®, MBA


Julie Hupp, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, has worked in the accounting and corporate finance field since 1987. She began her career as a CPA with Deloitte & Touche, specializing in the financial needs of small businesses. Then spent the next 13 years in corporate financial planning and business development at Baxter and TAP Pharmaceuticals. Recognizing her passion for personal financial planning, Julie started her business in 2006 where she focuses on comprehensive financial planning strategies and implementation.

Julie graduated from University of Illinois with a BS in Accountancy. She received her Master’s in Management with a concentration in Finance from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in 1994.

Outside the office, Julie is the co-founder of the 12 Oaks Foundation, which has merged with Cal’s Angels, and is a former Board member. Julie enjoys cooking, reading, running, triathlons and doing almost anything outdoors. A great weekend is spending time with her husband and two adult kids boating at their lake house in Wisconsin.

Steven P. Franzen, CPA, PFS, CGMA


Steven P. Franzen, CPA, PFS, CGMA is a public accountant and consultant with more than 23 years of experience helping individuals and businesses reduce their tax liability.  He began his career under the guidance of Patrick M. De Sio, CPA, CGMA and in 1996 became Mr. De Sio’s partner in De Sio, Franzen & Associates, Ltd. Steve’s expertise include entity design, complex tax strategies and multigenerational wealth transfer.  As Managing Partner, Steve conducts his practice under the philosophy that the client’s investment in their CPA should yield a return on that investment – most of the time that return is realized when working with clients on planning for their future. In an effort to increase the planning capabilities of the firm,  Steve formed Vertex Accounting Partners, LLC to ensure their guiding philosophy will continue well into the future.

Steve is a certified public accountant and has earned the professional designations of Personal Financial Specialist and Chartered Global Management Accountant.  He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Illinois CPA Society.  Steve earned a B.S. degree in accounting from Millikin University.  He and his wife Kristie live in Sugar Grove, IL with their three children.

Gregory P. Benner, CPWA®, CFP®, CLU®, CHFC®, AIF®, RMA®


Gregory P. Benner, CPWA®, CFP®, ChFC®, CLU®, AIF®, RMA® has over twenty-two years of experience as a financial advisor. Greg’s practice is based on developing holistic financial plans that help his clients integrate sophisticated retirement, tax, risk management and estate planning strategies into an actionable plan, then stay the course as their behavioral coach.

Prior to founding Vertex Planning Partners, LLC, Greg spent four years as a founding partner of a Registered Investment Advisory firm affiliated with LPL Financial. He also spent seven years with JPMorgan Chase as a Senior Financial Advisor and was a Financial Representative with Northwestern Mutual Life.

Greg holds the Certified Private Wealth Advisor® designation and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Certificant. He also holds the Chartered Financial Consultant®, Chartered Life Underwriter®, Accredited Investment Fiduciary™, and Retirement Management AdvisorSM designations. He earned a B.S. in Finance from Miami University.

He and his wife Lindsey reside in Naperville, IL with their daughter and twin sons.

Michael D. Bellis, CFP®, CLU®


Michael D. Bellis, CFP®, CLU® began his career as a financial planning professional in 1994. His practice is centered on holistic financial planning, astute risk management strategies and empirical, research-driven portfolio construction. He began his career in partnership with his father under the name Bellis & Associates. Together, their practice and reputation for excellence dates back more than 40 years and includes multiple generations of the same families. After his father’s retirement several years ago, Mike continued to build a client-centric, consultative practice before forming Vertex.

Mike holds the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification and is also a Chartered Life Underwriter. He has been an active member of both the Society of Financial Services Professionals and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. He earned a B.S. in Business & Marketing from Illinois State University. Mike is a lifelong resident of Naperville, Illinois. He and his wife Tanja have three children.