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HELP SHEET: Assigning value to your volunteer labour

THE TAKEAWAY: Many grantmakers allow or even encourage you to stipulate how much volunteer labour your organisation will be contributing to a project within a grant application. Make sure you show them how you've figured out your figures.


Your organisation may not have much money to contribute to a project, but it may have lots of other things it can chip in – staff time, volunteer labour and pro bono support, to name a few.

Many grantmakers allow or even encourage you to include the value of volunteer labour. Often, they even have a field for this on a grant application form budget.

Staff time and pro bono support are relatively easy to quantify; volunteer labour less so. The grantmaker may itself tell you what dollar figure to apply to volunteer labour, but if it doesn't you're usually free to supply your own figures.

Arriving at a figure

Based on May 2017 to May 2018 Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures, volunteers are now worth $41.72 per hour (if you look at what you probably would’ve had to pay for the services if you hadn't got it from a volunteer).

These are the figures your organisation should plug in when you're doing your project budgeting and applying for grants, that is "x" hours at $41.72 per hour.

Accounting for professional labour

If your project calls on the voluntary labour of someone whose professional or trade skills makes them more valuable than $41.72 an hour, you should bump your figures up (it could be as high as $150-$500 an hour, depending on the volunteer's usual rate).

If you don't know what an hour of your volunteer's time is worth (and don't want to ask), search for the latest ABS statistics on average wages for that profession, or check the PayScale website.

Tips for beginners:

MORE: How to reward volunteers