As a nonprofit, the German Village Society relies heavily on volunteers to carry out some of its important functions, such as putting on events like Oktoberfest and the Haus und Garten Tour and keeping area parks pristine.

As a nonprofit, the German Village Society relies heavily on volunteers to carry out some of its important functions, such as putting on events like Oktoberfest and the Haus und Garten Tour and keeping area parks pristine.

"We really are probably a $1-million operation when you factor putting in a value to volunteer hours," said Erin O'Donnell, the society's executive director. "And I think that is a really conservative estimate, too."

It's difficult to guess the exact number of volunteer hours that go into manning all the local activities but with some guesswork it's possible.

According to numbers provided by the society, it takes about 25,700 volunteer hours to get the nonprofit through the year, most of which goes to working on the area's parks.

And that doesn't include the time put in by society board of trustees.

"Every time you think you've got it you realize you forgot someone," society trustee Jerry Glick said.

In 2008, Independent Sector, an organization that represents 600 charitable organizations, estimated the dollar value of a volunteer's time at $20.25. This means volunteers in 2008 donated about $520,000 worth of time to various society functions.

At the society's annual membership meeting held earlier this month, Glick estimated that between the numerous parks and gardening groups in the area more than 14,000 hours of volunteer were donated.

"That's a huge commitment on part of the community," Glick said. "It's really marvelous."

Alan McKnight, ColumbusRecreation and Parks Department director, said based on his city records German Village resident have racked up more volunteer hours at Schiller Park than any other similar organization in the city.

Of the society's two major fundraiser, the annual Oktoberfest takes the most volunteer hours to run.

Bob Jackson, himself a volunteer, is the society's volunteer coordinator. He said last year about 3,400 volunteer hours went into putting on the four-day event. This included set-up and clean-up for the event, as well as the myriad other activities involved.

And that doesn't even include the number of meetings that took place to organize the event, he said.

The society's annual Haus und Garten Tour racked up 960 volunteer hours last year between local residents hosting dinner parties and acting as guides for the event.

One of the most visible parts of the society is its Visitors Center, which is open six days a week.

Jackson estimated that 7,380 volunteer hours went toward informing those new to the area just what it has to offer.

"I know whenever I call anyone they are always willing to jump up and help," O'Donnell said. "I don't know of any other business or neighborhood organizations where neighbors are willing to drop everything they are doing to help out."

German Village resident Bill Quillin has volunteered for the society in various capacities for the past 10 years.

He said he volunteers both because he enjoys meeting people and it's beneficial to the nonprofit.

"In a way it's a thing that helps the village save money," Guillin said.

Dcross@thisweeknews.com