4 Ways to Supercharge Your Grants with Volunteer Metrics


April 19, 2024

Last Updated:

April 26, 2024

​Why are volunteer metrics important?

​Why do funders value them?

​How can you elevate your organization’s standing during the grant application process?

​Get answers to these questions (and more!) as we equip you with the knowledge and tools to supercharge your grant proposals with volunteer metrics.

In this 1-hour webinar, you will learn:

  • ​The importance of utilizing volunteer metrics to enhance your grant application
  • ​How to collect, track, and showcase your organization’s volunteer metrics effectively
  • ​Strategies for aligning volunteering metrics with grant objectives
  • ​Case studies of how other organizations have been successful in grant writing
  • ​How Instrumentl saves you time and money in finding, tracking, and managing your grants all in one place

Never tried Instrumentl?

Find and win more grants for your nonprofit!
Start saving 3 hours a week and increase your grant applications by 78%.

Try 14-days free

Create your Instrumentl account using the link above. Save $50 off your first month should you decide to upgrade when your trial expires with the code CivicChamps.

What is Instrumentl?

​Instrumentl is the most-loved grants platform. In 2023, Instrumentl helped over 3,000 organizations win over $1 billion by bringing grant discovery, research, and tracking to one place. Our customers are on the front lines educating kids, saving endangered species, and restoring watersheds. Learn more at instrumentl.com.

Can I try Instrumentl?

​Sure thing! Sign up for a free 14-day trial and check out the platform. No credit card is required.

PLEASE NOTE: This webinar is geared towards US-based 501c3’s with a minimum of a $200K operating budget, or consultants working with such organizations. If you are based internationally, you should have a US-affiliated chapter and 501c3 status.

Click the video link below to start watching the replay of this free grant workshop, or check out the transcriptions below the video.

Instrumentl Partner Workshop Replay

Instrumentl Partner Workshop Slides

Find Your Next Grant

17K Live Grants on Instrumentl

150+ Grants Added Weekly

+3k NonprofitsNew matchesTry Instrumentl free for 14 days

4 Ways to Supercharge Your Grants with Volunteer Metrics - Grant Training Transcription

Rachel: Right. To keep us on track this morning and make sure we can get back to our busy days, I'm going to get us started. Thank you everyone for being here. I love seeing some familiar names and faces in the Zoom Room. Really excited to have you all with us this Wednesday morning, and to have our special guests here with us as well. I'm going to end our intro poll. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on that. And we're going to go ahead and get started here. Yeah, my slides are rolling. Oops.

Hi, everybody, and welcome to our event. Today we are talking about four ways to supercharge your grants with volunteer metrics. For any of our first timers. This is a free grant webinar grant workshop through Instrumentl. And these programs are focused on the different challenges that grant writers are looking to solve, and how we might support grant seekers in community together in our practice.

So for those of you who are new to Instrumentl, we're the most loved all in one grants platform for grant prospecting, tracking and management. And we currently helped more than 3000 nonprofits and grant consultants save time in finding and applying for more grants. I think a lot of you know who I am already. But just in case, my name is Rachel, and I'm one of the newest team members that Instrumentl. My job is to help create helpful and educational events like this one to share with our Instrumentl community and grant seekers in the community. I have a decade plus of experience in the informal education field, specifically in museums and cultural centers, and I'm based in Los Angeles, California. Shout out to my Pacific Standard Time folks in the room.

So, some quick FYIs about this program today. We'll run this program for about an hour. This is a partner webinar with a live Q&A session. This workshop is being recorded right now, and the slides will be shared afterwards. So keep your eyes peeled for our follow up email if you want to review anything. I know we're all super, super busy and working hard. So thanks again for spending time with us today. Make sure you take care of those personal needs while -- during our program and bring a snack with you, make sure to hydrate, all those good things. But make sure you're back here that quarter till at least so that we can start our live Q&A, and share how you can get our freebies and enter our raffle today.

To make sure you can follow along with our speakers, I have enabled closed captions. This is a setting that you can toggle on and zoom to view those captions. I encourage you to follow along by reading as well as listening to our speakers today. And captions will also be available in the recording. If you need an extra reason to stick it out with us to the end of the program. Today, I am sending a free kind of guide book to everybody who sticks it out with us. And you might even be the lucky winner of our raffle today, which I'll share more about in the next slide. So today, anybody who submits their feedback form at the end of our program will get a copy of seven proven tactics on how to win volunteer grants, which seems like a relevant and helpful resource given our topic for today. And if you submit that feedback form, you could also be the lucky winner of our raffle today, we're raffling off a three-month subscription to Audible. I know I'm a big audio book fan. I hope we have some other audio book fans in the room today. So, I am excited about this raffle. And if you submit your form, you'll be automatically entered into a chance to win this.

Before I get to our speaker, just some quick reminders of how you can participate today. This is your time to learn. So, I encourage you to jot down any nuggets of wisdom that are being shared today, anything that's shared in the chat. We've got some really great folks in the room today. So, let's get inspired by this learning community by being present with one another during this program.

We will gather your questions for our closing Q&A. So the most helpful thing for me is if you're typing a question in the chat, if you can add three hashtags in the front, that'll just help me organize our questions. So when we're going back, we can find all those important questions that you all have. And as a kind reminder, we're going to just stay on mute during the program. We want to make sure we're creating the best environment for learning. So please respect each other and our staff in the chat box as well.

One last thing before I end show our special guest, I am making these event resource webpages for every single program. So if you attend to an event with Instrumentl, you'll get access to a resource web page that is specific to the event. It includes the links that have everything that'll be dropped into the chat. It will include even the full raw chat box transcript. The links to the recording and the slides, any other resources that I think might be good things to look back on. So, I'll go ahead and drop that link in the chat box so you can bookmark this page. You'll notice that there are some blanks right now where I'll input things after the event. So, I'll send all of that updated in your follow up email as well.

With that, I'm very excited to introduce our speaker for today. We are partnering with Civic Champs and we have Geng Wang with us today. I'm going to let him actually introduce himself because he's got a great intro slide rolling, and we'll get our program started.

Hi, Geng.

Geng: Hi, Rachel. Thanks for having me. Super excited to be here, and to join this webinar. And so, yeah, so my name is Geng. It's not super phonetic. It's like Gung Ho. That's easier to remember for folks. I'm the CEO and co-founder at Civic Champs. So, we're a volunteer management software platform for those of you that aren't as familiar. And so my background, right, so I spent most of my career in corporate with folks like McKinsey & Company and then had a couple of tech startups. But started Civic Champs in 2019. And I love the nonprofit sector. It's definitely more fun, more fulfilling. I don't think I necessarily want to do something else. So, this has been awesome.

But enough about me. I think, you know, what I love to do, actually, to kick us off is, I know we just did a poll, but I'd love to do another poll here just to get a sense of you know, what folks are doing with your volunteer metrics, and in terms of grant writing. And so you should see a poll pop up here. And so if you folks can take just a moment to answer we'll give folks a little bit of time here. But basically, just three questions. Right? Have you ever written a grant proposal before? Have you ever applied to a grant to support your volunteer programs? And then have you ever had basically a foundation or other folks asked you to report on volunteer metrics as well, right? And so, love to see. We got about 70%, which is -- oh, you guys are quick. This is a fast group here. And so, we'll give another maybe 10 or 15 seconds for folks to answer this question. Can we get to 80? Maybe. We're at 77. Almost. I think we're good.

All right. So, let's see here. We make sure the result is here and we can walk through this together, right? And so, it looks like 85% of folks have had written grants. But there are some new folks here that have not written any grants. And so, we'll try to keep that in mind as well. Certainly, if you are an expert, right, if you've written lots of grants, that's some good context. Maybe in chat to leave any tips as we're talking about this topic to share your expertise as well. And then applying for grants to support your volunteer program about 50-50. Right? So, folks have written a grant to support their volunteer program. So, we'll dive into that.

And then I would say, you know, looks like almost everyone. I would say, it looks like, you know, of the folks that have applied for grants before, 90% of you have at some point reported on your volunteer metrics. So we’ll, you know, let the -- you know, get some opinions on what metrics have been really helpful. And, of course, the topic here will we'll talk about, you know, how you can maybe increase the number of metrics or even just think about what metrics are most impactful. Okay? So.

All right. Thanks, everyone. Thanks for doing that. I appreciate it.

And so for today, in terms of a little bit of a roadmap on the topics that we're going to be doing, so there's really four sections. And then we'll dive into the freebies at the end.

So, the first thing we're going to talk about is the value of volunteer metrics. Like, why even do volunteer metrics? We'll dive in next on the types of volunteer metrics, how you can use them. And then finally, we'll just sort of summarize everything in some learning takeaways. All right. Okay. All right. And I saw Arnold wrote that he writes grant proposals all the time, 24/7. I love that. That's great. Arnold's definitely a pro in that case.

So, all right. So for us, right. So in terms of, you know, the value of volunteer metrics, right? So, I think there's a couple things. So one, you know, some of this is not necessarily purely related to grant writing. But volunteers themselves have actually have higher and higher expectations of what they expect from us. I think metrics are a way to communicate to them in a way that can be, you know, inspirational. It can be a way to motivate them. Right? And so, that's one reason I find metrics to be really important. Right? And especially with consumerization that we see across the board, right? We as people, right? Volunteers are consumers, right? We get spoiled, right? In our day-to-day, we get metrics everywhere, right? I'm wearing an Apple watch. You can see how many steps you take, right? So, we're all used to seeing sort of the impact of what we do and sort of almost in a real time basis. And so, tracking metrics is important in that way.

I think the second thing, right, is if volunteer programs are important to you, right? And you're probably not going to be on this webinar if there -- if it's not, then organizations will do what they track. Right? And so, if you don't track the metrics, then it's less likely you're going to be better at those things, right? And so, that's another reason. And then finally, right funders, value effective volunteer programs. And one way to communicate that is through volunteer metrics. And so, we'll dive into that last point for you the most. And so, you can see, this is a report from the strategic -- initiative for strategic volunteer engagement. This was published last May in 2023.

But here, when they interviewed a little over 1,000 funders or leaders, they saw that, you know, nonprofit leaders believe -- two out of three believe that volunteers increase the quality of their services and extend their reach. That's questionable, you know. Who is that missing, you know, one-third on what were they thinking? So, they didn't really dig into the qualitative piece. But the vast majority, right, I would say, right, that's two in three believe this.

And then on the flip side though, right, the disconnect a little bit is one. And three funders has never received a funding request for volunteer engagement, right? So, it's something that isn't as prevalent. And then if you look at how they think about volunteerism, right, so 70% of funders believe that volunteerism leads to a stronger civil society. So, they see the benefit. And 55% of funders believe that volunteer engagement improves an organization's capacity to make connections with people and within their community. Right? Again, you know, who are these 45% of folks, right?

All right. So, that's a little bit about the value of volunteer metrics, right? And so, let's talk more about the types of metrics, right? And this is kind of digging into the meat of this presentation a bit more. And so, there's a lot of text here. Again, we're going to share a recording in the slides. So, no need to necessarily take a ton of notes here. But I categorize metrics in three big buckets. The first one is the basics, right? And then the second bucket would be like what I consider to be engagement metrics. And then, really, you have your mission specific metrics, right? So the basics, like these are things that I think is like just generic good hygiene, right? If you don't do anything else, you really should do least these three things. And that's, you know, how many volunteers do you have? How many volunteer hours are you collecting? Right?

And then, you know, you can sort of calculate from that the monetary value of those volunteer hours. And you can use, you know, maybe what's published by the independent sector that says, “Volunteer hours are worth around $31 today, right, per hour and sort of multiply the number of hours by that number to see, you know. Here's the value.” They also cut that by state so you can be a little bit more specific. Or you might have your own numbers that you use, right, for specific role and you can calculate that way.

Then I think more interesting, though, are what I call engagement metrics. And so this starts to look at, you know, how effective is your volunteer program. And so you look at retention rates, right, you know. Do people actually come back? You look at donation rates, right? Are you able to build that donor pipeline through your volunteers? Depending on the report, 76% to 79% of donors self-report that they also volunteer, right? And so, are you getting close to that, that percentage or not? Right? And you can kind of benchmark yourself.

If you're not, right, that might highlight an opportunity for the organization. And also, obviously, the other piece that's related to grants is lots of funders love for you to become quote, unquote, self-sufficient. Right? Show me how you're going to not need our dollars every year from here on out. Right? And so one way you could do that is say, “Hey, you know, if you invest in this volunteer program, we're going to -- we're also going to -- as a, you know, not side benefit, but as an additional benefit, we're going to build that pipeline of individual donors and really broaden our donor base, right? And we're going to be more and more self-sufficient over the long run.

The next engagement metric here is lifetime value or volunteer acquisition cost. This is a little bit more complicated, but I think very useful to actually at least think about, right, which is, hey, for your volunteers, maybe on average to start and then later to think about different types of volunteer. What's that lifetime value of that volunteer, right?

So from the moment they join as a volunteer until the, you know, the last time they volunteer with you, how much value is that volunteer to the organization? It doesn't have to be just the number of hours, right? Some of them are generous, you know. If they're a lawyer, and they're doing legal work, right, if they're -- right? And so, you're thinking about, “Okay, if I recruit somebody, right, what's that value?” And then also -- but then on the flip side, right, how much effort, right, or cost is it to recruit these types of volunteers? And if you start to, you know -- and you don't have to dive into the, you know, the nth degree detail here. But even just at a high level of you start to think, “Hey, am I spending my time in the right places, right?” And this starts to get you to think about like, “Hey, we're, you know -- or should we recruit more volunteers?” Right? “Should we recruit less, fewer volunteers from this, this group?” et cetera. And so, it just really helps you, right, like, be more thoughtful about your program.

And if you can highlight that to your funders, to your grantmakers while you were -- you're going to be 99% ahead of the rest of the, you know, the pack, right? If you're -- you know, you can show that kind of thoughtfulness on the program and say, “Hey, not only are you going to help me grow my program, but I know exactly who I'm going to go recruit.” And I know exactly the amount of value that we're going to get from that. Right?

Volunteer satisfaction. Right? And so, this might be more internal than for grant writing. But I think, you know, for even for grants, this is helpful to show that, “Hey, when we do bring in a volunteer, right, they have a great experience. And thus, they're able to better share our stories. They're going to be proponents of us in the community.” And so, or -- and even if your satisfaction rate hasn't been great, historically, just tracking that and saying, “Hey, you know, we really have increased that satisfaction rate,” right? People say they had a really great experience versus before. They never said that. Right?

And then, and the mission metrics, right, so specific to an organization. So these are things that’s trying to tie the work that a volunteer does to the impact, or the mission that you have, right? So, how many homes are built, you know, the GPA improvement, how many pounds of food, right, that you're distributing, the pounds of trash that you picked up. And what does that mean? Why does it matter? Right?

And so, you can start to convert some of those volunteer hours perhaps, right, to say, “Hey, every hour means X.” Right? I see lots of thumbs-ups for a couple of these questions. So, I'll just tackle one of them here. And which is how do you -- how is lifetime value and volunteer acquisition cost calculated?

Yeah, that's a great question. It's a very -- so lifetime value is -- there's a couple different ways, right? But I think the first part is how much value do you believe a volunteer provides at within a year, let's call it, right? Or within some time period and you can, you know, find a way to sort of estimate that. And so the easiest way would be like on average, our volunteers, you know, join us and they do 20 hours of volunteering. And if I multiply that by the, you know, $30 or $31, that the independent sector puts out, right, that gets me to $600. Right? Just like high level estimates. So we say, “Okay, it's worth about $600 a year.”

And then the next part of that is, “Okay. Well, what's my volunteer retention?” All right. So how many years are they going to be with us? So, my retention rate is 80%. That would mean that they're on average here with us for five years. There's a little math equation that's, like, one over churn rate, which is, you know, 20%, you know, people leave equals number of years that people will stay with you on average. You can kind of Google that, that math.

But basically, that's, you know, you figure out how many years they'll be with you. And then you say, “Okay. So $600 on average, they’re with us for two years. So, that's $1,200 worth of sort of value, right?” And that's a simple way to think about it.

Now, you can change the variables that you're using. Instead of, you know, sort of this dollar replacement value, you can use, you know, insert pounds of trash, right? Each volunteer, on average, collects 500 pounds of trash in that first year. And so, they're on average with us for two years. That's 1000 pounds of trash, right? So, that's the lifetime value piece of it.

And then the acquisition cost, right, is all the activities and cost that's associated with getting that one volunteer, right? So staff time costs, right? So you say what percentage of, you know, my time or whoever as time is spent to recruit that volunteer, you know, the management cost of some of that. Well, less the management. But really the acquisition, right? So, and then you look -- so you say, “Okay, so we have -- you know, somebody has to go recruit,” right? Somebody has to, you know, write that little marketing blurb. Right? And then if you're paying ads in some way, maybe you're running Facebook ads, Google ads to recruit volunteers, you know, how much are you spending there, potentially? And you add all of those costs up and you say, “Okay. We spent $100,000 this year on volunteer recruitment.” And we got -- I'm going to make math easier, 200 volunteers, right, or 2000 volunteers. So you just divide that number and say, “Okay. Well, each volunteer then cost me, you know, 100 bucks, or whatever to recruit.” So, that one is really long. And so, yeah, I think Chloe, or somebody posted -- or Christopher, yep, posted, yeah, one of our blogs. So, thank you. And, yes, we'll have a recording. I'm pretty sure. Right? Yep, Rachel's gave me the thumbs up.

All right, we’ll keep moving on. And so, what I wanted to do is instead of diving in even more on just like high level metrics, let's use an example. Right? And so, one of our customers is Habitat for Humanity of Bowling Green. And so, they unfortunately, were part of a community that had tornadoes go through their community, you know, in December 10 of 2021. And so, you can see sort of the aftermath of some of that, right? And, you know, I think last week, sadly, Kentucky, you know, again, got hit by tornadoes, right? And so, this is, you know -- but, you know, they had this happen. And then what occurred was they decided to really ramp up, right, and say, “Hey, you know, a bunch of folks lost their homes. We’re really going to try to rebuild as many of these homes as possible, right, as part of our mission.” And so, they committed to build 30 of these homes over three years. Right? And then they did a Build Blitz, right, to say, “Hey, we're going to really hit the ground running. We're going to do 10 homes right away, right, and in a very short amount of time.”

And so, their average -- so speaking of metrics, right, so what did it look like from volunteering. And so, they had 13 active volunteers per month before this. They did 315 hours of volunteering, homebuilding. And they had sort of 67 instances of volunteering, right? So, those 13 people came 67 times. And so they built those 10 homes and increased their volunteer levels by 30x of their volunteer capacity. And as you're kind of listening to the story, also think about like, this is also what you could tell your funder. Right? This is kind of the story you might bring to life as you're applying to a grant, right? And so, they had -- this just a screenshot of their sort of Build Blitz week, right? And so you can see, they had hundreds of volunteers across multiple build sites throughout that week, or a couple of weeks, really. And so in this case, right on, you know, on a Wednesday, they had 195 volunteers sign up, right?

And one of the things that I like to highlight too is, you know, sometimes the metrics only tell part of the story, of course, right? And the other part of storytelling is around the story themselves. And so, you know, having pictures like this, that kind of bring to life what happened is equally important. And one of the, you know -- and I actually was I happen to be there. And so this is kind of a neat, you know -- it's rare that I get to be at the volunteering event myself. But I was there visiting and helping out a little bit. And so, that middle picture is one of my favorite. And so, they're putting on the trusses of the home, and the little boy and in the man and the walker, that's his dad, that's their home, right, which is it's kind of like, you know, really nice, right? And so, you know, unfortunately, right? Of course, there's, you know, the dad, Julol, hurt, you know, got hurt during the tornado, right? That's why he has a walker. And, you know, that really prevented him, you know, from employment and, you know, sort of, you know, sort of impacted him that way. The house was actually bought by the older son, you know, or Orate. And so, his name was Ahmid, I think, right? And so, he bought the house for the family and became sort of this caretaker. But, you know, these are some of the stories that I think also that contribute, of course, to your granddad and then that storytelling, right? And so, yeah, it was just kind of a cool moment to, you know, to be able to capture it and see them see their house being built and being in this new community that really supports them. Right?

And then, so from a metrics going back to metrics, of course, right? And so what happened with this organization, right? So we saw, you know, that increase that they saw. And even, you know, with after the Build Blitz -- so during the Blitz, they had just a huge amount of activity. But even afterwards, right, they really were able to sustain a lot of that momentum that they had, right? And so you're seeing here, you know, the active volunteers per month went from 13 to 96. The average hours rates remained pretty high at 1400 a month and the number of activities or incidences of volunteering, right? Again, it’s about 4X at 253 per month, right? And you can more visually see that here, right? So number of active volunteers, that big spike, right, when they did the bids and then -- but has really sustained over time, right? And I think, you know, these are kind of the metrics and things that you can share again, right, with the funder to make your case.

Another good example that I like is an organization called Feed My Starving Children. This is just a little flyer that they put together. And so you can see, you know, they have your stats right at the very top in terms of their mission or why, you know, this mission matters. And then towards the bottom right, they talk about their volunteers, right? 900,000 volunteers joined us to package more than 220 million meals, right? So using those metrics to talk about the impact, right that their volunteers have.

And my favorite thing about their org is, actually, after every volunteering session, immediately, right, on like a projector screen, they share the impact you just had today, right? And so if you have a group that comes in, they say, “Hey, you guys did 100 boxes. That's 21,000 meals. Kids fed is 59 for a year,” right? And the cost of that was, you know, for four or $5,000. Right? And so this is, yeah, this is one of my favorite, you know, just sort of in the moment examples that they have. Right? And you can imagine, for their graphs, right there, they're going to sort of aggregate that. And then instructors share that as an aggregate. And so for civic chance broke quickly, of course, we also help you collect this information because this is our check in. So, of course, you know, you need a way to track your hours, right? So on the mobile, right, on a kiosk, et cetera.

One of the ways you can track your hours is through our mobile app, right? And so, we try to make it easy. We use geofencing, which I think is pretty neat, right? So, we can be smart. If it's this time and you're in this location or you must be here to volunteer for a specific org, right? So hit that big blue button, pick what you're doing. And it starts a little timer. Right? And then the other thing, right, from a metric standpoint that, you know, we talked about volunteer, you know, appreciation or sort of feedback, right? So, that's something that we also collect as well. Right? So it's like, how was your experience? Were you happy? Are you not happy? And again, right, you can share that, you know, in your grant reports separately, right? If you are using this for development or advancement, you have a better sense of who you might want to ask for financial gifts. Right? You certainly don't want people that had the big frowny face, right? They already are not happy. Right? And you should reach out to them for different reason.

But you can see folks that maybe have been more inspired by their experience. All right. And then, yeah, and then of course, you bring it all back here. You know what this is our dashboard. You can see the reflections, the numbers, right, the total activities, average length, and total hours, et cetera, et cetera. Right?

So four ways to use volunteer metrics. And we'll dive into each of these. But as kind of a general overview. Right? Of course, the first thing is you demonstrate impact. The second piece is you highlight retention and engagement or -- and then it can also help your organization identify needs and trends. Right? And these are the things that maybe you ask, right? And you say, “Hey, this is why I'm asking.” Right? And then the last is continuous improvement evaluation, which of course funders also love, right? So like, “Hey, we're going to get better and better.” Right? And so, demonstrating impact. And so, these are things like the time value of those volunteer hours and number of hours and volunteers, and all of those specific impact metrics that we've already talked about, right? So pounds of food, number of homes built, et cetera, right? And so, that's, you know, sort of -- I don't want to say no doubt, but one of the, you know, straightforward things you can do with metrics.

And then here looking at retention engagement, and so we'll take this one a little bit more slowly. Right? When you talk about volunteer retention rate, the reason it matters is it highlights your sustainability of your program. Right? So, like, having the metric doesn't, you know, who cares, right? But you say, “Hey, I -- when you invest in us as a funder, you're not just investing for a year, but we're going to be sustainable,” right? We keep our volunteers, reflections and sentiment again, right? Highlight, “Hey, we're doing a good job.” We -- also that it shows that you care. Right? And says, “Hey, I -- we're not just, you know -- we don't have people just come and then they never hear from us again. But we capture what they think how they're feeling, and then we reach back out and we engage average number of hours. Right?

So if you could show that over time, it shows the commitment of your volunteers. All right? Or is -- are you seeing more commitment, right? If I invested into your program to help you with your volunteer program and you can say, “Hey, we -- you know, thank you so much funder.” But in what -- that's allowed us to do is really increase the commitment level of our volunteers because we provide a better experience. We can train them both better. We can, you know -- we have technology that allows them to, you know, to be more excited to come back again and again.

And then similarly, right, average activities per volunteer. Right? It's a little different from average hours. Hours is like the, you know, the amount of time, but just like -- do we have people that come every month? Right? Every week? You know, what -- how many times do they do they engage with us, right? Because you can actually see a scenario where maybe the total hours is about the same. But the number -- the amount of times that they come is actually is actually higher. Right? Because you've allowed for more flexible volunteering. Okay?

And then identifying trends and needs. And so here, you can capture, right, so from the number of volunteer applications, right? A lot of the applications that we see on civic chance, for example, ask like, “Hey, what are you interested in?” Right? What are your skill sets, right? And so if you start to parse that out, you could say, “Hey, we get a lot of applications in XYZ. Maybe it's because of where we're posting or who are recruiting from.” And if we need other things, right, we actually need of other channels potentially, or other messaging. But it's a way for you to start to think about, you know, are you matching what you need with what's coming in from sort of that top of the funnel? Right? Reflections, again, we talked about that. So, I'll skip that for now.

And then you can also have additional survey responses, right, that you send out to them. And, you know, you can do that in survey channels, or anywhere else, you know, on Google form. That collects a little bit more details, right about, you know, people's experiences or maybe what they're excited about. Maybe you can click stories, et cetera, right? So, but those also can help you identify, you know, what are the things that you need to do and where are you -- what are some of the gaps. Right?

And continuous evaluation and improvement. And so you can say to a funder, right, “Hey, we have this ability to show, you know, we have these trend lines,” right? That say we're going up or going down unfortunately. But -- you know, here's what we need to do to continue to improve, or at least the, you know, a lot of funders will say, “Well, how do I know you're going to be successful?” You say, “Well, here's how we're going to know.” And by the way, I already measured this, right? So even if you don't see, you can't say right now that you're going to go improve that metric. Just simply having the metric and saying we do capture this can go a long way. Right?

And then there's a little example. So at the bottom, we co-wrote a grant. That’s something we do sometimes with our customers, or even some prospects, really, where they said year to year, this is a food pantry. Their volunteer capacity will also increase by 50%. They do deliveries of foods to people in need, right? And then that's going to lead to a community impact, right, of you know, $163,000, right, in this year. And so, that's why you should fund me. Okay?

I think that is the meat of things. So, Rachel? Yeah. Do you want to share a little bit more about how we can find relevant grants?

Rachel: Yeah, sure. And then I'll pass it back to you to kind of do our learning takeaways and wrap up. For those of you who are already Instrumentl users, you've probably gotten a sense of how you might find relevant volunteer program grants. But I have a super fast -- like, I think it's like a minute and a half that shows you how I set up a project in Instrumentl, and then how easy it is to find volunteer grants.

So, yeah. Geng, you can go ahead and play. I've dropped the link in the chat as well so you can make your own. Sorry, it's a little fuzzy. I don't know if it's going to get better. Actually, Geng, I might do the screen share, because for some reason, that's on just my screen. But it looks a little green.

Geng: It’s a little fuzzy on my side, too.

Rachel: Okay, let me jump in there.

Geng: Oh, there, that's better.

Rachel: Oh, yeah, that is better. Yay. Okay. It's not really helpful if no one can read it. So, glad it's better. Okay. So, yeah. Sorry, if you could just back up a little bit. I got a little distracted there on trying to set up my slides. Okay, cool.

So, what I've done is I've set up a new project in Instrumentl. It's for a volunteer program for my nonprofit, which is also a local museum. I'm not a faith-based organization. So, I've selected no there. And I'm serving specifically Los Angeles County. So, I've indicated that with my location. I'm selecting LA County here. And that will make sure that I'm only getting opportunities that are relevant to national or specific county projects like this.

Then I'm putting in my fields of work. I've selected volunteerism and philanthropy. And because this is a museum that I'm looking for funding for, I've also selected arts and culture and youth involvement in the arts. Geng, would you pause for just a sec so I can explain those fields of work? Yeah. So just one quick thing there, the fields of work are probably the most valuable piece of information when you're filling out your project in Instrumentl. It'll just get you the most relevant things. I usually start with three to get me going. And then if I find that I need to narrow it down from there, I can add -- always add more later, or vice versa.

I can always take some away if I'm getting to niche of sources here. And then, yeah, I did want to see grants for professional arts and cultural organizations. I've indicated the size of grants I'm looking for and what type of programs these funds will be used for education, and some sort of program here. And then I've selected all the different types of funders that I want to see come through for this project.

So, Instrumentl do essentially an automated search. It's found 225 grants for me, which is great. And you can see the breakdown here of where they're coming from. So, I'll do a quick little search of my matches to see which ones I might want to dive in on further. And the point of this demo is just to show you how easy it is to at least narrow down your searches for some of these volunteer grants that you might be seeking. For this example, I started looking at the overview of a grant. This is pulled directly from the funder’s website. So, super easy to kind of get an overview of what might be eligible for funding here. I've written an opportunity note down the bottom because since I did just a cursory overview, I thought I might need to look a little more into this. And so, I'll save this into my tracker. That's going to be my repository for all these opportunities, and indicate that I'm researching. That's the status of this.

For my second example here, my last example, I looked at this family foundation grant. I did a quick overview of the eligibility here. But I was more interested in looking at the funder. So, I'm now on the funder tab. And I can take a look at a lot of the information that would be most relevant in seeking this funder out, key people, for example. So folks on the board of trustees, they're giving stats like giving average and median. I also got kind of their grant ranges, how much they're usually giving and seeing if that's falling within the range that I'm interested in applying for, and locations of past grantees.

So, I saw a lot of them ended up being in New York State. But I can actually look and see every past grantee that's received funding from this organization before, and their openness to new grantees just to see about the competitiveness of this particular opportunity. So in the end here, I think I also decided -- oh, yeah, and they're giving by NTE code. So just to give me a general idea, this is something that might be viable for an opportunity. I, again, wrote a little note for myself and just said I need to explore a little bit more. And I've put that into my tracker.

So, that is a, like, rapid fire away of how I would be looking for grants in Instrumentl. I know some of you may already be looking in grants this -- in Instrumentl this way. If you haven't already, that link that I did drop in the chat is something that can set you up on your own. You can find your own grants that way. I'll also be doing a webinar, actually, with civic champs tomorrow, where I dive in on ways you can find volunteer grants not just in Instrumentl, but just like general best practices for finding that. So, I have like a whole hour-long session that'll dive more into that.

Arnold, I know -- I saw you had a question about that specifically. So, I'll share information about how you can join that. But that's my quick overview. I'll pass it back to the Geng and then he can share kind of the wrap up for learning takeaways and next step is for our Q&A.

Geng: Awesome.

Rachel: Thanks for doing my slides.

Geng: Yeah. No, no, no, no. No, of course. Yeah, I always -- I'm always amazed by how quickly you can find stuff on Instrumentl, like, “I should do that. Find more grants for my customers.”

So, all right, learning takeaways. So a few things, hopefully, I mean, learning takeaways, in many ways is really geared for everyone that's on this webinar. Right? So I would encourage you to think about, you know, what is it that you've, you know, what's maybe one thing that you really took away from this. But hopefully, these are the four things that I was hoping folks would sort of find value in terms of, you know, sort of understanding why volunteer metrics can be important in enhancing your grant success and why funders value them to, you know, how to effectively collect and track volunteer metrics to showcase your organization.

Three would be, you know, just, you know, maybe strategies for lying, you know, your volunteer metrics with your grant objectives, right? The case studies hopefully can showcase in an example of that. And then, of course, right with that same thing, right, in terms of how other organizations have been successful, right? So, to some of those examples that we highlighted, so. Hopefully, those are some of the takeaways that you all got as well. But if folks want to chat more, this is my personal contact information. That is my mobile. So if you want to text me, that's also fine. But otherwise, you know, LinkedIn is there, website, and my email. So, for anyone that wants to reach out.

And then finally, for all the folks that might have had questions, let's see. Is there anything?

Rachel: Yeah.

Geng: I'll let Rachel let you lead here.

I have a couple that we kind of skimmed through that I want to make sure we get back to. You kind of touched on this. But I was wondering if you could explain a little bit more. Kiernan was curious, how can you address how to -- yeah, how can you address how to add volunteer time as an inkind income in an organization budget? Do you have recommendations for that?

Geng: In kind income on an organization's budget? Oh, I see. Oh, I see. Okay. I think that's -- you can certainly use the national average number or, again, you can have sort of the more specific number, right? The other way to think about it is, usually, if you're going to put it into the budget, it's a role that you would otherwise need to hire for. So I'm thinking about, like, you know, if you have a food pantry and you need somebody to help, you know, stock the shelves, right? And so, somebody has to do that. Right?

And so, if you were to hire somebody, you know, what would you -- what would it take to recruit and, you know, to pay them, including, you know, all the benefits and taxes that you have to pay? Right? And that number might come pretty close to about $30 an hour. And so you could say, “Okay. Well, last year we had X number of volunteers in that role to help us with that.”

And in addition to that, maybe I did have some staff use it and -- right? And so from a budget standpoint, I need to budget, you know, X, you know, $300,000 worth of, you know, stocking time, right? If I'm a pretty large pantry, I guess in that case, right? And so, that would be one way to think about it and to put it into the budget, right? It would be to think about, you know, are there folks that you'd have to hire for otherwise, right? And what does that mix of staff versus volunteer time?

Rachel: Yeah, that's a great way to think about it. I love that kind of equivalency, right, of, like, what would you need if this person was being staffed or you needed to hire staff?

Laney was wondering, and I'm curious, actually, if folks in the room have thoughts on how they've done this in the past. But Laney was asking, “How do I share graphics with funders? It seems like all they want is words?” And I have a couple of ideas. So, Geng, I don’t know if you've heard of some examples from your past experiences as well of kind of sharing the visual assets that might help demonstrate the mission or story a little bit more.

Geng: Yeah. Well, yeah, I can share. But I mean, yeah, Rachel, if you want to start, that might be --

Rachel: Yeah. Yeah. You know, the thoughts that I had on this, I know some folks have been able to create like a dashboard, a visual dashboard of some kind. For example, in my work at the Natural History Museum, we would often be reporting on our impact across LAUSD, one of the, I think, second largest school districts in the country. So, we would use metrics mail USD and create like a visual dashboard with pie charts showing essentially, like, what demographics of students we were meeting with programming at the museum, and maybe like little quotes or impact statements from participants that could just demonstrate a little more visually. And then we would add that as an appendix to our grant application.

So I know sometimes that's maybe, like -- it depends on the application. I know we'd like federal grants. There's very specific requirements for what you're submitting. But with some of the family foundations and stuff like that, they were willing to see appendices in our applications. You can also -- outside of the application itself, I would recommend making sure any prospective funders are on your mailing list for things like annual reports, or anything that you have going out to your general donor base. Maybe you do kind of a regular mailer that has some sort of splashy impact imagery. That's something that you should make sure your funders are on the list for as well, even if they haven't funded you quite yet.

Geng, did you have thoughts there as well?

Geng: Yeah. No, I was just thinking, you know, so many of these applications are the little boxes and, you know, it's all text orient. I think, you know, one way, right, of course, is you can hyperlink, right, a little bit of text, or put in a link. That's easy to remember and type in there to say, “Hey, you know, if you want to look at some of the graphs here, we've included that for your benefit.” Right. Yeah. And then and not everyone allows the links necessarily.

Rachel: Yeah. Yeah, I saw Angeli mentioned that too. It really varies. I think if folks have experience of, like, getting around that, if they have any words of wisdom, feel free to share in the chat to help our folks out here. And then the last question, I kind of touched on this Arnold's question about how do we find volunteer grants. I don't know if, Geng, you have thoughts on what should folks look for in finding volunteer grants? Like, are there any kind of, I don't know, maybe key words or things you've seen with different funder opportunities that have clued you in to like, “Oh, they're going to be a great opportunity for our volunteer program,” or something like that?

Geng: Capacity building often is sort of one that often is more open to volunteer grants. I think the -- anyone that cares more about, again, sort of that going back to that metric around community, right, you know, community impact and sort of benefiting the community. Right? So, funders that care about that. I think the other thing that, you know, platforms like Instrumentl can help with is really looking at past winners and sort of keywords that they have in there. Right?

So, like, did they fund a volunteer capacity building program in the past? Right? Do they -- you know, are they willing to do things like that? So, I think that's probably the easiest and best right way to identify funders that are open. Yeah, I -- that's sort of, yeah, I don't know. Rachel, do you have any thoughts?

Rachel: Yeah. I think capacity building, like, definitely, yes. Yeah. As soon as you started chatting, I was like, yes, in the chat. That's a big one. And I know that is a challenge. I know folks have shared with us before that capacity building grants are sometimes hard to find. There are really specific parameters for that. Sometimes you need to be at a certain budgetary level in order to even be considered or apply. So, I know that adds its own weight of challenges. But I think using services like Instrumentl, I mean that you can specifically target capacity building funding opportunities, specifically when you're filtering your project. So, I do recommend that.

But, yeah, I think that's a great buzzword and something to keep in mind when you're looking at prospective funders for volunteer programs. Yep. Awesome. I think that wraps up.

If I forgot a question, please, like, holler at me in the chat. But I think I got through everything that was lingering. So, I'm going to share how you can share feedback about this program today and just kind of some follow-ups for the end of our program. So, thank you so much for being here. I love hanging with you all. And I really appreciated the information that Geng shared about kind of these volunteer metrics and how they're so valuable.

I definitely learned some new things about how I could be reporting on volunteers. I feel like there's so many basics that we often kind of lean on. But thinking more creatively about how our metrics can really demonstrate the power of our volunteers and how they're impacted our organization annually are such valuable information. So, thank you.

The feedback form is linked in the chat box. It will also be in your follow up email, and it'll come after this program. I'll send like a follow up so that you can share your feedback. And as a reminder, Geng, if you don't mind advancing the slide. You'll get this free eBook. We have a blog post on kind of the seven tactics of how folks have won volunteer grants in the past. It focuses a lot on kind of corporate volunteer grants. So, I'll share that information with anybody that fills out the feedback form. Plus, you'll be automatically entered into a raffle for today, which is a three-month subscription to Audible. So, I'll drop that link in the chat again just in case anyone missed it.

As a reminder, these are upcoming events. I mentioned that I'm chatting more about finding good fit funders for your volunteer program. I'm doing, like, a whole event tomorrow to chat about that. So, I'll drop that link in the chat. It's a specific Zoom link that I'm doing with Civic Champs. So, you should see that there.

And then we also have our pretty big spring virtual summit coming up in April, which we're really excited about. It's going to be a big event. We have almost 1000 folks already registered to attend. So, I encourage you to take a peek. That program is on Tuesday, April 9th. And actually, there's a second day, Wednesday, April 10, as well. It's from 9 to 12 Pacific Time or 12 to 3 Eastern. The link for that is also in the chat. Oh, no. Let me check. Did I put the wrong Zoom link in? Let me see. The correct -- okay, hold on one sec. Let me take a look. Oh, I think I've put -- let me see. I'll send you the specific spring launch. I put the whole calendar. Here we go.

So, the link that I just dropped in the chat is for the spring launch. That's the program that's on April 9, and you'll be automatically added into the Zoom info for April 10th as well. Thanks for calling that out, Becca.

And with that, I am so thankful that you all spent some time with us today. As mentioned, I really appreciate your feedback. So, I read literally every response. So, let me know what you think and what you'd like to see more from us here. Again, thank you for your time. Oh, the feedback form. I'm sorry, let me see. Oh, I'll add in that. I see what you're saying. There isn't a toggle for this today's event. I'll add that in right now so that when you go back in there, you'll be able to add that. Thank you, folks.

Geng: Remember to give five stars for this.

Rachel: So that Geng can come back.

Geng: So thank you, everyone, again too as well.

Rachel: Thank you so much. I'm going to add -- I'm adding in that option right now. So, you should see that come up with your feedback form. It is the 1 on the 20th that now is going to be the Civic Champ’s volunteer metrics program. Thank you, everybody. I hope you have a great rest of your days. If you have questions for me, you can always email me. I'll drop that in the chat. Otherwise, I really enjoyed being with you all. Have a lovely rest of your days.

Take care. Thanks, everyone. Bye everybody. Bye, everyone. Thanks for being here. I'm going to go ahead and close this out. Thank you, everybody. Bye.

Want to get better at grants?

Join 10K+ grant pros already receiving our 5-minute free newsletter, packed with grant strategies, networking events and new funding opportunities.

Get access to weekly advice and grant writing templates

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

10k+ grant writers have already subscribed

Create Your Instrumentl Account

Never tried Instrumentl?

Find and win more grants for your nonprofit!
Start saving 3 hours a week and increase your grant applications by 78%.

Try 14-days free

Instrumentl team

Instrumentl team

Instrumentl is the all-in-one grant management tool for nonprofits and consultants who want to find and win more grants without the stress of juggling grant work through disparate tools and sticky notes.

Become a Stronger Grant Writer in Just 5 Minutes

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

17,502 Open Grants Waiting For You

Find grant opportunities to grow your nonprofit

Try 14 days free

10 Ready-to-Use Cold Email Templates That Break The Ice With Funders

Transform funder connections with our 10 expert-crafted cold email templates. Engage, build bonds, showcase impact, and elevate conversations effortlessly.

Read Ebook
How to save up to 15 hours per week with smarter grant tracking

How to Save Up to 15 Hours per Week with Smarter Grant Tracking

Watch Now
Arrow right

Related posts

Try Instrumentl

The best tool for finding & organizing grants

128 reviews | High Performer status on g2.com

Try free for 14 days