Wednesday, December 17, 2008

# 68: The match: How should a grant writer value volunteers hours?

Volunteers fit new windows at The Sumac Centre...Image via Wikipedia

When a grant application requires a match, most organizations will find it "in-kind." And, often much of the in-kind comes from volunteer hours. After all, where would non-profits be without volunteer hours? Many programs just couldn't fly.

So, how much are volunteer hours worth?

Independent Sector makes a rate available each year that's accepted by the Feds— currently $19.51/hour. They also list the value of a volunteer hour by state -- in NY state, where I am, the 2006 value was $26.18.

In addition, if a professional volunteers their professional services you can value them at their standard billing rates. Make sure you have documentation from them about their rate.

Points of Light Institute now has a calculator that uses Department of Labor rates to assign acceptable values for different kinds of volunteer labor. Careful, though. The rate is for the work, not the person, so, using the example from the Independent Sector, a doctor volunteering to paint a fence is worth a painters rate, not an MD's.

My clients use these different rates without any problem for both the grant application match and for valuing the documented in-kind hours for reporting purposes.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Will funders take the GEO's advice?

day in the life: lunch moneyImage by emdot via FlickrPhilanthropy Journal reports that Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO), a coalition of funders, has sent its membership of 1,700, representing 350 grant-making organizations, an open letter urging five actions that can help nonprofits make it through these tough times.

Those recommendations:
Funders urged to show leadership | Philanthropy Journal:

* Hold 2009 grant budgets steady at 2008 levels, a move that could mean paying out more than 5 percent of assets.

* Look for 'no-cost' ways to boost nonprofits, including releasing restrictions on current grants, and thus allowing nonprofits to react to the changing environment.

* Give grantees more flexibility to update, alter or replace programs by providing operating grants; consider providing cash-flow loans or access to credit.

* Continue making high-dollar, multi-year grants, investing in leadership support, and funding efforts to learn and evaluate.

* Engage with key stakeholders to better understand the challenges they face and how funders can help."

Hat tip to Mike Burns at Nonprofit Board Crisis blog, one of the blogs I keep in my RSS feedreader.
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