volunteer hours budget nonprofit

Including volunteer hours in a 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. And volunteer hours should land in your nonprofit budget.


Most organizations organizations fail to account for volunteer hours in their nonprofit 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. Donationsmaterial or otherwiseshould be accounted for. That means you should include volunteers, too.


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. That’s impressive! And it looks great to funders.


The Independent Sector helps you calculate the hourly value of a volunteer’s time in a particular state. Be sure to keep these calculations on hand for your budget narrative.


Learn more about our grant writing services here.

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


  • Avatar for 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.

    • Avatar for 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.

  • Avatar for VINAY KALYANI


    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.

  • Avatar for Bebee Manrique-McMillan

    Bebee Manrique-McMillan

    21.05.2021 at 10:35 Reply

    Are board members included in the volunteers hours if they are not paid?

    • Avatar for PGWAdmin


      25.05.2021 at 07:10 Reply

      No, board members are not considered volunteers.

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