Are you including the value of volunteering in your grant applications? 

Across Australia, it is estimated that over 5 million (5.025 million) people volunteered through an organisation or group in 2020. This is almost one quarter (24.8%) of people aged 15 years and over. (Volunteering Australia, Key Volunteering Statistics, March 2024

Allocating a dollar value is a necessity when calculating your organisation’s in-kind contribution to a project. In fact, it should be part of your strategic planning to keep track of your organisations volunteer input. (Check out the Victorian Government’s In-Kind Contributions Worksheet for an example of how to track these hours.) 

Valuing volunteers for in-kind contributions 

Putting a dollar figure on something delivered in-kind makes the ‘worth’ of that resource more tangible. To that end, estimating the dollar value of your volunteer program is an important metric you should consider measuring and tracking. This information can be used:  

  • In annual reports and social impact reports to publicly demonstrate the importance of your volunteers to your organisation’s work   
  • To inform your strategic planning, project planning and resourcing, and risk mitigation policies  
  • To signal to key stakeholders and the broader public that your organisation is a trustworthy, grassroots provider that is well-entrenched in its local community  
  • In grant funding applications where in-kind contributions are included in project budgets (More broadly, in-kind contributions such as volunteer support are usually categorised as co-funding and are viewed favourably by funding organisations.)  

Calculating the value of your volunteers’ contribution does not have to be complicated. 

The Centre for Volunteering has this handy cost of volunteering calculator, where the ‘cost’ of a volunteer is calculated using the average hourly part-time wage in their state of residence, plus 15% employer on-costs:

If you are a volunteer donating 20 hours of your time a month, the annual value of your contributions is over $10,000! 

And if you’re wondering how to incorporate the justification in the budget of your grant application, you can include something like “These in-kind figures are based on wage rates as calculated by The Centre for Volunteering cost of volunteering calculator:” 

Calls for more government support 

While volunteering is mentioned throughout the 2024-2025 Federal Budget, it lacks a strategic, whole-of-government approach to resourcing and supporting volunteering in Australia. 

We agree with Volunteering Australia that a more strategic support for a thriving volunteering ecosystem is essential to progressing these priorities (and read their full Federal Budget 2024-2025 commentary here).  

Volunteering Australia CEO Mark Pearce goes on to say: 

“The role and value of volunteer workers needs to be explicitly recognised and better understood in these reform agendas, and further measures taken to promote sustainable volunteering into the future. The work that volunteers do is not a ‘nice to have’; it is essential work that supports our schools and hospitals, our aged care and disability services, and our ability to support the community in times of crisis. As the National Strategy for Volunteering shows, volunteering requires deliberate and ongoing strategic investment underpinned by adequate resourcing. We cannot afford to ignore the impact that the cost-of-living crisis is having on volunteering.” 

We’d love to know – are you including the value of volunteer contributions in your grant applications?  

The Strategic Grants team are here to support in all aspects of your grant-seeking strategy. Get in touch for more information.