Building a solid program budget is one of the basics for ensuring that your volunteer program will be a success. But many volunteer coordinators and managers make the mistake of forgetting that they can build and actively contribute to the volunteer budget rather than accept what is handed to them by building a case for more funds. We've listed some tips below for building a volunteer program budget for nonprofit organizations.
1. Know your budget.
Volunteer Pro's 2019 Volunteer Management Progress Report found that 23% of non-profit volunteer managers don't know their budget -- and that 35% are working with a budget of less than $5000. Request to be a part of your non-profit's budget committee meetings and get copies of their minutes and any budget committee decisions. Be sure to use an event management tool that like InitLive that allows for you to store documents at every planning stage of your event so you can keep all budget-related data together.
2. Provide input on the budget with supporting data.
Once you have the budget, you can put in requests for more funds. Volunteer Match writes that in order to make a case, you're not just tracking volunteer hours. You should also focus on showing how the efforts of your volunteers impact the organization and the community. Keeping all your volunteer data in one place is a great way to save time when you are gathering supporting data to accompany your requests.
3. Keep track of general costs covered by non-profit budgets.
Volunteer Pro tells counter program managers to be aware of the different types of costs and income that you have as a non-profit. These include direct costs (those that are directly related to your program or project), capital expenditures (items that have a lasting value like cars and real estate), indirect or hidden costs, and in-kind distributions (free donated goods or services, which count as both expenses and income). Note that volunteer services and any matching funds from corporations count as in-kind contributions that bring in income benefiting both the event and the overall organization.
4. Know the specific costs of your volunteer program and track accordingly.
In the same article linked above, Volunteer Pro reminds us of specific volunteer program costs which you run into routinely as a volunteer coordinator or manager. There are your general marketing costs which include website design, SEO, and promo items. And volunteer recruitment can be costly, frequently requiring background checks and volunteer center membership. Volunteer appreciation can also take up a lot of your budget, with snack and meal items, special events like award dinners, and other recognition items. Lastly, Volunteer Pro tells us, there are volunteer support and reimbursement costs, including mileage and travel, and the cost of your own professional development, including training and certifications.
Learn more- 5 Volunteer Retention Strategies for Nonprofits
Use all-in-one volunteer management tool InitLive to track how much value your volunteer program is providing to your non-profit and which can be used to justify spend on resources and tools. For more information on how you can use InitLive as your all-in-one volunteer management tool for your next event, please contact us.