If your community activity involves volunteering (including pro-bono work and in-kind support) then showing how much you value the efforts of those volunteers becomes an important consideration.
Acknowledging the dollar value of their labour is part of this process. It highlights their gift of time.
It is a worthwhile exercise to cost your volunteers’ efforts by the hour to give you an idea of the value they add to your event or organisation. Knowing the value of your volunteers and their work can is important when it comes to applying for grants for your activities. It strengthens your argument for funding support and lets the funding partner know that for every dollar they are putting in, your group is making a matching contribution.
- If a local professional or tradesman completes some pro-bono work for your community group, how much would your group have normally paid for that work: $50 an hour? $100? $200? $500?
- What if 10 or 20 volunteers help you landscape and revegetate along the local riverbank? Their efforts would probably total several thousand dollars.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) values volunteers at what they would cost to replace.
Firstly they match volunteer activities to occupations, working out a weighted average earnings, and then have the number of persons engaged in each of the volunteer activities used as “weights”, the ABS worked out the average earnings estimate for volunteers as $15.90 per hour in 1999/2000.
- This figure is still used by many volunteering organisations – including Volunteering Australia.
- Check with the funding body you are approaching what measure they use.
- Know Your Volunteers’ Value When Applying for Grants
- Use the ABS estimate to cost out how much your volunteer hours are worth. This figure is your in-kind contribution. It will show that you are making a real contribution to your funding partnership.
Know Your Volunteers' Value When Applying for Grants
Use the ABS estimate to cost out how much your volunteer hours are worth. This figure is your in-kind contribution. It will show that you are making a real contribution to your funding partnership.
For example: If you have four volunteers working on a project two days a week for four weeks, that would result in the project having a “volunteer value” of just over $4,070. (Four volunteers X eight days X eight hours per day X $15.90).
Factor in any pro-bono advice you may be receiving to assist with the project. This would be done at the rate that the practitioner would charge in their other work in the market place.
For example: If a public relations company was offering two hours a week for four weeks, the value might be closer to $1600-1800 than the $127 calculated at $15.90 per hour.
Follow these links below for the other two Rs of Managing Volunteers: