January 19, 2018

Tracking the Value of Volunteer Contributions

Non Profit Consulting and Training - Wendy Biro-Pollard

I was cautioned early in my career, never to say that volunteers save money.  Unless you are prepared to deduct all program expenses, it’s best to look at volunteers as enhancing services to clients and community and building organizational capacity.

Tracking volunteer hours is important to funders, good data for annual reports, and important when recognizing volunteer contributions.

The Independent Sector tracks the value of volunteer hours. The most recent figure is $19.51, which includes a 12 percent estimate for fringe benefit costs. This figure does not adequately account for  individuals who provide specialized skills like attorneys.

By 2010, almost 64 million boomers are poised to retire. They represent a highly educated work force. As they begin knocking on nonprofit doors and offering more specialized skills, it is in your organization’s best interest to find a simple way to track the value of these hours.

One way is way is to utilize volunteer management software.  My favorite is Volgistics. You determine the value of the job based on what the local market will bear, plug in the figure and the software does the rest. Volunteers enter hours through your website portal and they are downloaded into your database.

The Points of Light Foundation has created a free tool, a  which makes it possible to estimate the appropriate wage rate for volunteer time based on the volunteer’s position.

The calculator is simple to use! You just need to search for the job description and enter the number of hours given by the volunteer. Repeat this process until all volunteer hours have been entered. The system will automatically calculate the total for each job category and for the total across all volunteer jobs.

Calculating the value of volunteer hours is just one step in measuring your volunteer program’s effectiveness.

For more information about tracking volunteer hours and determining their value, check out the following articles:

Tracking Volunteer Time to Boost Your Bottom Line,” by Dennis Walsh, CPA.  

“Pro Bono Work Pegged At $120/hour,”  The Nonprofit Times, March 30, 2009

Articles and reports on this topic, EnergizeInc.com






ABC’s of Volunteer Retention

Non Profit Consulting and Training - Wendy Biro-Pollard 008

Recruiting and retaining volunteers is an on going challenge for most non-profit organizations.  Once THE place to volunteer, hospitals have seen an overall decline in the number of individuals who choose to volunteer their time in  auxiliaries and volunteer departments.  So when you do find those precious volunteers, keeping them should become a number one priority!

After careful thought and a little bit of research, it is my opinion that successful volunteer retention can be enhanced with a few simple steps.

A. Make your organization attractive. Shar McBee, in To Lead is To Serve, says that when you are feeling positive about your work (and your organization) it attracts others to participate.  On the other hand, when you feel overwhelmed or burdened, no one volunteers to join in.  A great exercise to rekindle a feeling of spirit at your next meeting is to have members break into pairs, and ask the following questions:

  • What did you love about your volunteer work in the beginning?
  • What was important about this work?
  • What is challenging about it now?
  • What is fun about it?

Take the feedback from this exercise and put it in your newsletters and promotional materials, post quotes and pictures of these folks on your bulletin board and website, and share it with the staff and friends of your hospital.  And then, watch as the energy of your organization goes up!

B. Create a great, big welcome mat! Individuals who “join”  volunteer organizations want to be able to network and build quality relationships that fulfill both their personal and professional needs. Cynthia D’Amour’s, How to Turn Generation Me into Active Members of Your Association, has some great tips on helping your new members make a successful entry:

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