We're changing how we calculate hours volunteered ⚠

One of the main purposes of this site is to help you record the impact of your repair events. Most obvious are the environmental impact stats, but as many of you will know, it’s also possible to record the number of volunteers who help out at events. And from that, the site produces a figure for the number of hours volunteered :hourglass_flowing_sand:

^ Recording the number of volunteers on your event pages (left) means your group page shows how many hours your team has volunteered across all your events (right)

This can be a really interesting way to communicate just how committed your volunteer team is.

So, what’s the problem?

At the moment, this calculation may not work the way you would expect it to.

Currently, we assume that all events are three hours long. So we calculate the number of hours volunteered at an event like this:

:busts_in_silhouette: number of volunteers X :three: 3 hours = :hourglass: number of hours volunteered

(we also add an additional 9 hours for event planning and clean up)

This made sense in the early days of the site, when we only ran our own events in London (which were all 3 hours), but it makes much less sense now that so many more people use it around the world and often run events that are longer or shorter than 3 hours.

For those of you who run longer or shorter events, the ‘hours volunteered’ calculation won’t be particularly accurate.

What’s changing?

The obvious way to fix this is to calculate the number of hours volunteered using the actual length of the event. So this is what we’re going to do.

Here’s the new calculation we’re introducing:

:busts_in_silhouette: number of volunteers X :clock4: event length = :hourglass: number of hours volunteered

(we’ll continue to add an additional 9 hours for event planning and clean up)

This will produce much more accurate figures for groups who run events that aren’t 3 hours long.

What does this mean for your group?

We’ve run some projections to see how this will affect every group. In total, 73 groups will be affected. Most of these groups will see a small reduction or increase (of less than 10%) in their total hours volunteered.

However, 29 groups will see a larger reduction or increase (of 10% or more). If this includes you, I’ll message each of you individually to let you know what to expect.

If you haven’t received a message from me by Friday (24 March), then you can expect to see a small (or no) change in your group’s ‘hours volunteered’ stats soon. But feel free to reply to this topic and I can let you know exactly what will change for your group.

I hope that all makes sense and that it’s clear why we’re making this change. But if you have any questions, feel free to post them below :+1:


This is really helpful as have always wondered how it was calculated and great to know about the additional 9 hours!

I’ve also often wondered whether others add all the additional volunteers who aren’t repairers? We have people in the kitchen and hosts, but I don’t add them as it’s mainly our repairers that use this and it’s quite time consuming to add all the additional volunteers who aren’t listed on the site.

Finally, also wondering how best to do this for our monthly addition for the hub sessions in our new setting?

Hi Clare, glad this was useful!

When it comes to adding volunteers who aren’t repairers, you can simply include them in the total number of volunteers for each event (as described here) - just use the plus and minus buttons under the ‘Volunteers’ heading to add or remove people (you don’t have to add people by name in the list)

For your monthly grouping of hub sessions, it would probably make the most sense to…

  1. make the event the same length as the sessions (e.g. if the sessions are 3 hours, make the monthly group 3 hours)
  2. add up the number of volunteers at each session and use that total for the monthly grouping.

Would that work for you?

A quick update on this:

We’ve now made this change, which means the number of hours volunteered for you group now uses the new formula based on the actual length of your events. This should mean the figure is much more accurate. :tada:

Hi James
I hope you have been enjoying the bank holiday weekends!
When recording volunteers, I put down the number of people who come along–our meet and greet team and our refreshments team work in shifts, so we have double the number. For me, it’s important to know the number of people because that’s useful for local PR. I think, from this post, you are using the stats for calculating the number of hours, is that right? Perhaps you might think about recording both…
Warmest wishes

Hi Jules,

Thanks for sharing this. It’s interesting to hear that your volunteer teams work in shifts.

I can fully appreciate that knowing the number of volunteers is really important. At the moment, the system allows you to record the number of volunteers for each event. Then for your group, we use the total number of volunteers across all events to estimate the number of hours volunteered in total, as you say.

The reason we don’t use event stats to calculate a group-level stat for number of volunteers is that we assume many of the volunteers from event to event are the same people. So if you have 10 volunteers one month and 10 the next, that’s not necessarily 20 different people. Hours are easier to combine.

That said, the original idea behind Restarters is that all of a group’s volunteers would follow the group on the system, so you’d be able to see the total number of volunteers on a group’s page (in the ‘Volunteers’ section). Obviously, most groups don’t do this, which is fine :slight_smile:

Does that explain why things work the way they do, or did you have something else in mind?