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.