Recording Volunteer Time

Tuesday August 10, 2021 comments Tags: volunteer, nurse, financial statements, licensed, professional designation, count, capacity, record,

Any accounting, business or tax advice contained in this here podcast is not intended as a thorough in depth analysis of specific issues. Nor is it a substitute for a formal opinion. Nor is it good enough to avoid tax related penalties. If you have specific questions that you need advice for, be sure to schedule a strategy session and not solely rely on information in this podcast.

Hey, so last week I talked a little bit about finding volunteers.  I mentioned looking at your professional societies or your chamber of commerce to find volunteers. And I know that's gonna raise the question for some people of how do we record volunteer time? So I have got something for you. So when it comes to volunteer time, if you're talking about, hey, what's the value of this, you want to think about people who are working in their professional capacity.  So are they doing something that they are licensed to do? I like to think of it in terms of maybe you are a food bank, and you have a nurse who comes on site every week and does blood pressure checks, or helps people understand their medication. In that instance, this nurse is working in their professional capacity. So the value of their volunteer time, you're going to be thinking about, oh, what would we pay a nurse to do this? So you're thinking about what you would pay them and what their actual rate is. And you're not picking an arbitrary number. And you're also not picking a number that you would never pay. So if this nurse says, hey, my rate is $400 an hour, if you know, you would never pay that you would not record the value of that service, you want to pick something that’s reasonable. Because the other side to recording this is you want to plan for what if we did not get this service for free? What would it cost our organization? So that's why you want to think of would we reasonably pay for this? Yes, cool. What would not count. So let's say you have that same nurse, again, volunteering at your food bank, however, they're volunteering, and what they're doing is checking people in getting them in the line to shop for their groceries. This is not their professional capacity. They are not someone who is trained necessarily in how we facilitate the line management at a food bank. So because they're not working in their professional capacity, they are not doing something that they are licensed and trained to do that they need to keep up requirements, this will not be recorded in your financial statements as donated services.

So I think this is important, because oftentimes, organizations say we know the value of our volunteer time is 1000s upon 1000s of dollars. And they're thinking about, oh, if we had hired a person, and that may be true, if you had hired people to do this job, that may in fact be what it's worth. However, if these people are not working in the professional capacity, if they're not doing something that you're like, we need a licensed person to do this. Unfortunately, it does not count for your financial statements. But maybe you do want to keep that. So you can say in your annual report, so you can say somewhere else, not in your financial statements. Hey, this is the value of donor time. So if you're wondering who else might count, think about is this a professional designation? So they are licensed and trained to do this? Think plumber, electrician, lawyer, accountant, doctor? Teachers, teachers have licenses. So do they have some sort of professional designation? And are they working in that capacity? 

All right, please let me know if you have a question about a specific volunteer, how their time gets reported. I'd love to see what other interesting scenarios you're finding yourself in. Alright, until next time, this is Chyla Graham. I hope you feel a little bit better about whose time you should be recording when it comes to volunteers. 



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