volunteer hours budget nonprofit

Including volunteer hours in your nonprofit budget

Many nonprofit organizations rely on volunteers in some capacity. Food banks use them to pack meals, Habitat for Humanity uses them to build homes, and national parks use them to maintain trails. The scope of volunteer work is huge.


But most of these organizations fail to account for volunteer hours in their budget, and they should! Volunteers provide indispensable services, and many organizations wouldn’t operate without them.


For grant writing purposes, I recommend including volunteers in your budget’s in-kind column.Remember: Not all income arrives in the form of cash. Donations–material or otherwise–should be accounted for. Volunteers included.


By including in-kind donations and volunteer time in your budget, your organization will look even more competent. Not only are you soliciting buy-in and support from the community, you’re also doing more with less: You’re running a $250,000 program with only $50,000 cash because you’re able to secure and utilize in-kind donations and volunteers. Good on ya!


The Independent Sector helps you calculate the hourly value of a volunteer’s time in a particular state, and Hands on Network helps you determine that calculation for specific jobs. Be sure to keep these calculations on hand for your budget narrative.


Including volunteer hours in your nonprofit budget was last modified: by


  • Diane

    14.02.2014 at 20:23 Reply

    I like the notion of putting volunteer hours as an in-kind ‘income,’ but how does that show up in the expense column? I’m new to this, so sorry if that’s an unintelligent question, but I don’t understand how, assuming all other things zeroing out, if I have 1000 volunteer hours at $10 each, my bottom line shows $10,000 net income, which, of course, isn’t real. I’m grateful for your insight on this.

    • p2781jau

      20.02.2014 at 13:38 Reply

      That’s a great question, Diane. I would add in the expense column a line item for the volunteers’ in-kind assistance that matches the dollar amount in the income column.


    21.10.2018 at 08:57 Reply

    The salary of the Executive Director depends on the budget of the non-profit. Are the volunteer hours including in the budget.

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