At Prepare + Prosper, the work of our 550 volunteers changes people’s lives during tax season. Whether it’s preparing or reviewing tax returns, talking to someone about saving some of their refund, or walking them through their credit report for the first time, volunteers make an impact on someone’s pocketbook and financial future.

Volunteers are saving someone from spending hundreds of dollars on a simple tax return

Tax preparation can be expensive for people with low- to moderate-incomes who are targeted by some paid preparers due to the large refunds they can receive. The average cost of tax preparation is around $200 but it’s not uncommon to hear our customers say they’ve paid upwards of $500 in the past. Added to the prep fee is the cost of refund products. Some paid preparers upsell unnecessary and expensive products that aren’t designed with people’s long-term financial wellness in mind. We do the opposite. We use tax time as a money moment—a sort of financial check-up—an opportunity to talk to people about their finances and connect them to products and education that will work for them and their financial goals.

One hour of a volunteer’s time can put an average of $2,000 into the pockets of someone who needs it

Due to tax credits, like the federal Earned Income Tax Credit and Minnesota’s Working Family Credit, tax refunds can be a significant income boost to those working hard to make ends meet. Volunteers are helping people access the full set of tax credits they’ve earned and increase their income, oftentimes boosting them above the poverty line. For our customers whose average income is $19,000, that makes a big difference. Each year, we help return about $25 million in refunds.

Helping people build a financial cushion

According to the Pew Research Center, American households who earn less than $25,000 a year have enough savings to replace only six days of income, leaving them vulnerable to unexpected emergencies. Given the significant income boost many of our customers receive at tax time, it’s a great opportunity to promote savings and build a savings habit. Since we launched our savings campaign in 2013, volunteers have encouraged people to save nearly $9 million.

Money is stressful, volunteers are part of a team that’s here to help

We firmly believe that money should work for all of us. At P+P volunteers are part of a team connecting people to trustworthy and free services, products, and education that will help them keep more of their money, get more control over it, and gain a financial peace of mind. Talking about money and changing money habits can be hard, and we’re a place people can come to get help with it.

Volunteers make Prepare + Prosper’s work happen

We are a staff of 22 full-time and 40 part-time tax seasonal with a volunteer force of 550 serving 13,000+ people every year. Volunteers are in the community providing free services. Without the dedication, passion, and skill of our volunteers, our work would not be possible. They are on the front lines helping people build financial wellness and change their lives.

To learn more and/or apply, visit our website.