Image of Emily H. Benham wearing a jacket from the waist up with the words: Taking the Mystery Out of Nonprofit CEO Evaluations: How to Measure CEO Performance

Taking the Mystery Out of Nonprofit CEO Evaluations: How to Measure CEO Performance  

Emily H. Benham, FAHP, CFRE | CEO, NLC Tips

After years of training board members on how to lead and govern nonprofit organizations, one question consistently comes up in every session I teach: What’s the best way to support a nonprofit CEO and ensure strong executive leadership for the future? While there are many components to effective CEO support, one of the most crucial is nonprofit CEO evaluation. 

According to BoardSource (Leading with Intent 2021), the board’s oversight of the CEO is their most essential role. Yet only 53% of nonprofit CEOs and executive directors say they’ve had a formal CEO performance evaluation in the past year, with 1 in 5 (21%) reporting never having received a formal CEO performance evaluation. 

Why the struggle when it comes to nonprofit CEO evaluations? Many boards don’t know where to begin.  

How to Conduct a Nonprofit CEO Performance Evaluation 

A nonprofit CEO is the only employee a board hires. Nonprofit missions are too important to the community for a stumble or misstep due to a lack of strategic alignment between a board and the CEO. 

While there is no single approach for conducting an effective nonprofit CEO evaluation, here are six tips for how to measure CEO performance from the Nonprofit Leadership Center: 
 

  1. Decide who will lead and own your CEO performance evaluation process. This is typically your board chair or governance committee chair.  
     
  1. Engage the entire board and your CEO or executive director in a conversation at a board meeting about the importance of a CEO performance evaluation. Set a goal for 100% participation. 
     
  1. Discuss the evaluation criteria and process with the CEO, aligning the organization’s priorities and the CEO’s position description, so everyone is on the same page. 
     
  1. Determine the evaluation questions, tool and timeline for gathering feedback. See our sample CEO evaluation form here. Give board members two weeks to complete the assessment or survey, allowing one extra week if an extension is needed. It is critical that board members know their responses will remain anonymous. It is also important the board chair owns this part of the process, not the CEO or staff, to ensure confidentiality.  
     
  1. Bring the compiled summary results to an executive session of a board meeting to discuss themes and agree on key messages to communicate with the CEO. 
     
  1. Schedule time with the CEO to share and discuss results. In addition to the CEO, this meeting should include the board chair and possibly one other member of the board. Part of the discussion should focus on creating an action plan for future success. 

The entire nonprofit CEO evaluation process can take anywhere from four to six weeks and typically coincides with the end of a fiscal year to thoughtfully review financial and organizational performance.  

If possible, engage both the current board chair and incoming chair in the process to ensure continuity if there is a change of leadership from the end of one fiscal year to the beginning of another.  

At the Nonprofit Leadership Center, our guiding principle is that if we teach it, we do it. Having experienced a CEO performance evaluation in each of my eight years as the organization’s CEO, I can tell you that it is a process I look forward to — and one our organization benefits from.  

READ NEXT: Download Sample Nonprofit CEO Evaluation Template Form


If you or your nonprofit organization need custom board training or one-on-one assistance with nonprofit CEO evaluations, contact the Nonprofit Leadership Center at info@nlctb.org or 813-287-9779.  

Image of five professionals around a desk conducting a nonprofit CEO evaluation

Conduct More Effective Nonprofit CEO Reviews with This Sample CEO Evaluation Form

Team NLC Resources

One of the most important roles of nonprofit boards is overseeing and evaluating the CEO or executive director. But where do you begin this critical and challenging task? The Nonprofit Leadership Center’s sample CEO evaluation form is a helpful place to start the process.

Our sample CEO performance evaluation template consists of five sections: 1) organizational performance, 2) community relations, 3) financial management and legal compliance, 4) board of directors, and 5) qualitative questions. Be sure to customize the nonprofit CEO performance evaluation template sample form to meet the needs of your organization.

Areas to Include in Your Nonprofit CEO Evaluation Form

In our nonprofit CEO evaluation template form, we include a scoring scale (from 5 to 0) to assess the following skills and abilities:

Organizational Performance

  • Communicates the organization’s vision internally and externally.          
  • Manages and leads the organization in a manner that ensures excellence and impact.
  • Works with the board and management staff to develop strategies for achieving mission goals and financial viability. 
  • Demonstrates quality of analysis and judgment related to progress, opportunities and the need for changes.       
  • Builds respect and profile for the organization with its various constituencies. 
  • Manages and leads goals for excellence and impact.                       

Community Relations

  • Serves as an effective spokesperson for the agency; represents the organization and its point of view of the organization to agencies, organizations and the general public.
  • Establishes sound working relationships and cooperative arrangements with providers, governmental agencies, community councils and other community groups.

Financial Management & Legal Compliance

  • Ensures adequate oversight of all funds, including developing and maintaining sound financial practices.
  • Works with the staff, finance committee and board to prepare budgets, monitor progress and initiate changes.
  • Ensures investments are developed, executed and modified to maximize mission.
  • Ensures the organization operates within budget guidelines.

Board of Directors

  • Effectively implements policy as determined by the board.
  • Works well with board officers.
  • Provides appropriate, adequate and timely information to the board.
  • Sees that the board is kept informed on the condition of the organization and all important factors influencing it.
  • Works effectively with the board as a whole

Qualitative Questions

  1. What are our CEO’s two to three greatest strengths?
  2. What areas of opportunity do you see for our CEO’s improvement or growth?
  3. What are our organization’s priorities in the coming year?
  4. How can our CEO help you be a more effective board member in the coming year?

See more tips for conducting nonprofit CEO evaluations, including the six steps to conduct your CEO evaluation.


If you or your nonprofit organization need custom board training or one-on-one assistance with nonprofit CEO evaluations, contact the Nonprofit Leadership Center at info@nlctb.org or 813-287-9779.  

Photo of Amarela Peqini colored orange, with the question: Can an MBA help your nonprofit career

Can an MBA Help Your Nonprofit Career

Team NLC Tips

Although nonprofits are different from corporations, many nonprofit leaders underestimate the importance of running their organizations like a business. Getting a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) is one strategy some leaders pursue to increase their personal and organizational effectiveness. But, can an MBA help in a nonprofit? Amarela Peqini, business operations manager for the Nonprofit Leadership Center, says a resounding yes.

As an immigrant who recently moved to Tampa Bay, she chose to pursue her Executive Master’s in Business Administration (eMBA) at the University of South Florida to connect with other community leaders and expand her network. Although challenging to pursue her degree while working full-time, in a pandemic and amidst a job change, Amarela says she would do it again in a heartbeat.

4 Ways an MBA Can Help in a Nonprofit

Here’s how an MBA helps your career in the nonprofit sector based on Amarela’s experience, including the benefits it now brings to her nonprofit organization.

1. Grow your personal and professional network.

An MBA can help in a nonprofit by allowing you to build relationships with people across diverse industries. “I now have meaningful connections with people in so many different fields, from health care, information technology and cybersecurity to marketing, construction, the governmental sector and many more,” Amarela says. 

Building relationships with fellow classmates not only expands your personal network and knowledge; it’s an opportunity to introduce new potential volunteers, leaders and supporters to your nonprofit and mission. Amarela says she has already invited several of her fellow graduates to contribute their unique skills or knowledge to her nonprofit and will continue to explore how the mission aligns with their companies’ social responsibility policies to deepen partnerships and impact.

2. Become a better listener.

An MBA can help in a nonprofit by improving graduates’ communication and empathetic listening skills. Amarela says she learned the most from listening to her fellow classmates’ perspectives on the topics discussed in class. 

“Some people wonder how an MBA helps your career in the nonprofit sector,” Amarela says. “For me, the experience underscored the importance of being surrounded by and hearing from people who don’t think the same way I do. Diversity of thoughts and perspectives, which starts with active listening, enriches your leadership and is critical for a nonprofit to be effective.”

3. Improve your collaboration skills.

An MBA can help a nonprofit by enhancing team-building skills. “A large portion of work in my MBA program had to be done in groups,” Amarela recalls. “To succeed, we learned how to divide and conquer, keep each other accountable and simultaneously be there for each other.” 

The teamwork required in an MBA program is an essential asset for nonprofits. “None of us can effect impactful change by acting alone,” Amarela says. “The problems we face are systemic, and collaboration is paramount to solve them.” 

READ NEXT: 4 Simple Strategies to Improve Team Communication at Work

4. Harness your resilience.

Finally, going through an MBA program can help nonprofit leaders by realizing they are not alone in trying to plan for tomorrow when the future feels so unpredictable.

“My MBA program was supposed to be a fully in-person experience,” Amarela shares. “The effects of the pandemic required us all to think and act differently, get comfortable with new technology and solve problems strategically in a new environment. We had to continue, no matter the challenges in front of us. We learned how to be proactive and resilient — exactly what nonprofit leaders and organizations must be, today and every day.” 

How can an MBA help in a nonprofit? Perhaps the right question to ask is: how can it not help? 

Read Next: Should you pursue a graduate certificate in nonprofit management?

Photo of Demmeri Gallon next to her quote: "Board service is not about what you can do financially; it's where you can actively contribute your time and efforts toward a mission that aligns with your passions."

Fellowship Graduate Demmeri Gallon Shares Her Journey to Nonprofit Board Service

Team NLC Stories

Although diverse boards are crucial for nonprofit organizations to be effective, nearly 1 in 3 nonprofits lack any professionals of color on their boards (BoardSource). In 2021, the Nonprofit Leadership Center launched the Advancing Racial Equity on Nonprofit Boards Fellowship to prepare professionals of color to serve on boards and equip nonprofits to foster more inclusive and equitable organizations.

Demmeri Gallon, the Tampa Bay community relations manager for Bank of America, has been a passionate community volunteer for years. As a professional of color, she had never served on a nonprofit board but was yearning to make an even greater difference. Now a graduate of the Advancing Racial Equity on Nonprofit Boards Fellowship, she has found her nonprofit fit and is engaged on a board committee that aligns with her passions.

Demmeri recently sat down with the Nonprofit Leadership Center to share more about her fellowship experience and the impact it has already had on her career and life.

Q: What motivated you to apply for and join the Advancing Racial Equity on Nonprofit Boards Fellowship?

Demmeri: Whether it be swinging a hammer for Habitat for Humanity, restocking the food warehouse at Feeding Tampa Bay or educating local students through Junior Achievement, I’ve been passionate about volunteering in the Tampa Bay community for years. While I’ve greatly enjoyed the variety of my volunteer experiences, I wanted to discover where I could make the most significant impact.

When I first learned about the Advancing Racial Equity on Nonprofit Boards Fellowship, I had not yet served on a nonprofit board. The first step to joining a board can be intimidating, especially knowing that many senior leaders serve on boards and the position requires great responsibility. Applying for this program allowed me to take that first step and identify where my passions aligned.

Q: What did you learn from the fellowship that surprised you or that you didn’t know?

Demmeri: It’s not about what you can do financially; it’s where you can actively contribute your time and efforts toward a mission that aligns with your passions. I also learned that a board position should be a mutually beneficial partnership. Take time to understand the organization behind the mission better and ensure you will receive the experience you desire and deserve.

READ NEXT: Find Your Nonprofit Fit: 10 Questions to Ask Before Serving on a Nonprofit Board

Q: What, if anything, did you learn about yourself after going through the fellowship?

Demmeri: The fellowship helped me focus on my intentionality. I’ve always been passionate about helping kids, but I didn’t know what that meant or exactly what I wanted to do. There are many ways to impact the education landscape, and I couldn’t focus on them all. The fellowship helped me break down my interests into bite-sized steps and decide what issues to focus on so I could be most impactful.

Q: What was a typical training session like during your fellowship?

Demmeri: A typical evening session consists of a three-hour block that starts with an expert speaker and discussion on a highlighted topic, such as board roles and responsibilities, emotional intelligence or finding your fit. We’d then transition into breakout sessions to discuss our thoughts and experiences around the topic more deeply. Finally, we’d come back together for a group conversation about the findings and themes discussed. I loved that we were never asked to follow directions; we created discussions around key points and the experiences we can apply to a board position.

Q: What was it like working with your mentor? What did you learn from her?

Demmeri: In between training sessions, I met with my assigned mentor — an experienced board member who is also a professional of color and has led a nonprofit herself. This allowed me to digest the class curriculum and ask her questions. Her advice and insights allowed me to form both a personal and professional connection that I benefit from to this day.

READ NEXT: How to Be an Effective Mentor in the Workplace

Q: What advice would you give professionals of color interested in being part of the next Advancing Racial Equity on Nonprofit Boards Fellowship?

Demmeri: This is a unique opportunity to learn from an esteemed nonprofit leadership team connected with a plethora of nonprofits throughout Tampa Bay. To have the Nonprofit Leadership Center standing behind you helps create the right connections and opens doors to new board opportunities. Take advantage of that!

Additionally, stay curious and ask questions. Once you graduate, remember that when you have the opportunity to learn something, you also have a responsibility to pass that knowledge on to the next generation.

Q: What guidance or advice would you give to nonprofit leaders struggling to authentically create diverse, equitable and inclusive organizations? How can others effectively use their voice to effect change and ensure equity within their organizations?

Demmeri: I’d suggest that nonprofits look to those who are active participants and be willing to tap them for potential board opportunities. Often, these people don’t have peers in their circle who are on boards, and the thought may have never crossed their minds.

READ NEXT: 8 Things Leaders Who Authentically Embrace DEI Believe

Q: What should coworkers and supervisors know to best support fellows going through the program?

Demmeri: Fellows should leverage coworkers on boards to form a complete picture of the board experience. Supervisors should allow employees to get involved because board service develops personal and professional skills.

Q: Have you joined a board since graduating from the fellowship?

Demmeri: I have joined a board committee at the Hillsborough Education Foundation. This committee participation is part of my testing period to ensure the program is aligned with what I want to do.

Q: If you could only use three words to describe your experience in the fellowship, what would they be?

Demmeri: Learn, teach, advocate.

About Demmeri Gallon

Photo of Demmeri Gallon, a Black woman wearing a white blouse

Demmeri Gallon is a community relations manager for Bank of America in Tampa Bay. In her current role, she supports the market president in building Bank of America’s corporate reputation in local communities and connecting with employees across the market and has been with the bank for 17 years. Demmeri is a Tampa native, born on MacDill Air Force Base to Veteran parents. She graduated from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. She is a graduate of the Nonprofit Leadership Center’s 2021 Advancing Racial Equity on Nonprofit Boards Fellowship.

Image of an excited woman with the text Summer Classes: Now open for registration + NLC logo

10 New Nonprofit Training Classes Now Available for Registration

Team NLC News

As the temperatures heat up, 10 new summer classes are now available for registration to help you elevate your career, nonprofit and impact.

June 22: Navigating Change With a Growth Mindset

Leaders with a growth mindset know skills aren’t just something we’re born with; they believe anyone can grow essential skills. During this course, you’ll identify your most prevalent mindset and learn how to use a growth mindset to create a positive workplace culture. 

July 12: Resilient Leadership: The Secret Ingredient to Successful Nonprofits

Your nonprofit’s future depends on your leadership resilience. During this class, you’ll learn the principles and traits of resilient leaders and how to strengthen yours.

July 27: Transform Your Life With Mindful Journaling

Are you craving more freedom in your personal or professional life? In this interactive course, you’ll discover how to use the power of the written word to mindfully transform every area of your life. Receive step-by-step guidance to create your customized journaling routine and walk away with specific prompts to use immediately.

August 2: Nonprofit Strategic Plans That Actually Work: Moving from Aspiration to Action

Today, 2 in 3 organizations create strategic plans they never execute. Find out why and what you can do to effectively implement your nonprofit’s strategic plan

August 11: Making Meetings Matter: Planning & Leading Effective Meetings

Meetings account for nearly 15% of an employee’s time and 45% for those in leadership roles. But employees agree that more than half of their meetings are unproductive and ineffective. This course will teach you how to plan and lead informative and engaging meetings people want to attend. 

August 16: Developing Emotional Intelligence & Resilience

Back by popular demand, this class will help you deepen your understanding of emotional intelligence and equip you with strategies to immediately increase your self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management.

August 17: Using Social Media Analytics to Increase Your Audience Engagement

In our socially-driven world, more data is at our fingertips than ever before. Find out what information is most important to follow and track, how to use reporting dashboards to measure your progress, and walk away with tips to increase your audience’s engagement.

August 23: Level Up Your Leadership: How to Become the Leader Everyone Wants to Follow

Are leaders born? Is leadership something we can learn? This NEW highly interactive session will focus on three essential leadership principles to take yours to the next level: learning, growth, and reflection.

August 24: An Introduction to Planned Giving: Leaving a Legacy

Although planned giving is a critical component of a nonprofit’s fundraising program, many organizations avoid it because they don’t know where to start. In this class, we’ll take the uncertainty out of legacy giving by teaching you everything you need to know to develop a planned giving program at your organization.

August 25: Work Interrupted: Take Back Control of Your Workday

Studies show that a person can lose up to three hours to interruptions and time mismanagement every day. During this popular session, you’ll learn how to manage and avoid interruptions to be more productive and less stressed.

Sign that says Mental Health Matters next to a white vase with ferns

Mental Health Resources for Nonprofit Professionals

Team NLC Tips

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 5 U.S. adults experiences mental illness. Recently, nonprofit leaders at five national organizations called on nonprofit CEOs to prioritize mental health by:

  • Training managers to support employees’ mental health
  • Increasing employees’ options for where, when and how they work
  • Re-examining organizational health insurance policies with a focus on mental health
  • Listening to what employees need and using their feedback to improve and evolve the workplace culture
  • Taking a critical look at organizational policies through a lens of diversity, equity and inclusion

Here are some mental health resources for nonprofit leaders and teams from the Nonprofit Leadership Center to support mental health and personal well-being at your organization:

Transform Your Life With Mindful Journaling

Are you craving more freedom in your personal or professional life? During our interactive course on July 27, you’ll discover how to use the power of the written word to mindfully transform every area of your life. Receive step-by-step guidance to create your customized journaling routine and walk away with specific prompts to use immediately.

Photo of Paula Dang with the quote: "Growing up, I wished there were more people who looked like me. Now, I can be that representation."

Being the Change I Wish to See: Nonprofit Board Governance Through a New Lens

Paula Dang, Metropolitan Ministries Stories

I’ve always been passionate about being a voice for individuals and communities that need support. Life was challenging for me growing up as a Vietnamese and Asian American woman because I felt like I had to conform to societal and cultural norms. In middle school, I decided to lean into who I was. I honed in on my communication and professional skills and began advocating for more opportunities, causes and equity for everyone.

Over time, my purpose in life became clear: serving others. Today, I am the associate director of community donations for Metropolitan Ministries — a nonprofit that cares for the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless.

When I heard about the Nonprofit Leadership Center’s Advancing Racial Equity on Nonprofit Boards Fellowship, I knew this was the next chapter in my journey. Even though fellows are typically from the corporate sector, I saw this as a chance to make a difference beyond my day-to-day role as a nonprofit professional.

Becoming Who I Wished to See

When I applied for the Advancing Racial Equity on Nonprofit Boards Fellowship, I never anticipated how much I would learn about myself.

The fellowship is designed to help professionals of color like me learn how to be effective nonprofit board members while equipping nonprofits with training to create more diverse and equitable boards.

The fellowship consisted of six evening sessions that were extremely deep and highly engaging. There was a different set of speakers at each session who focused on various aspects of board governance. We often had assignments before or after the sessions and broke out into small groups for extended discussion.

The conversations hit me deep and made me think back on different moments in my life when I wished there was more representation — more people who looked like me. Now, I can be that representation.

A Better Understanding of Board Governance

Before this fellowship, I had no idea that serving on a board was so intensive or involved. It requires leaders to make sacrifices, steer a nonprofit and hold it accountable. Today, I have a much deeper understanding of what it means to serve on a nonprofit board and the community change you can create when you accept a board position.

I was paired with a fantastic mentor who poured into me throughout the process. I could share what I was learning and feeling with her and get her perspective on so many things. She shared a lot of wisdom about her journey, which continues to help me today.

READ NEXT: How to Be an Effective Mentor in the Workplace

The Nonprofit Leadership Center asked each fellow to develop a list of the top three nonprofits for which we’d like to serve. They scheduled meetings between those nonprofit CEOs and us to meet and discuss what it looks like to be part of their board. The process helped me immensely to understand expectations and the questions to ask as part of the process.

A Life-Changing Journey

If I could sum up my participation in the Advancing Racial Equity on Nonprofit Boards Fellowship in just a few words, I’d describe it as intentional, exciting and life-changing. Yes, life-changing.

This fellowship was not just about going through a program and remembering information; it was about living the experience. I will never forget this opportunity and what I learned, and I’m excited about what it has prepared me to take on next.

And speaking of what’s next, I’ve been in active conversations with several nonprofits about the potential of joining their boards.

Additionally, I’m actively working to advance racial equity every day in any way I can. Beyond diversity council meetings within my organization, I’m having and promoting open, even difficult, conversations and ensuring people feel comfortable discussing this work. For there to be effective change, we all must work together.

About Paula Dang

Photo of Paula Dang, associate director of community donations at Metropolitan Ministries wearing a blue top

Paula Dang is the associate director of community donations at Metropolitan Ministries, where she works with community partners and builds relationships with donors to help meet families’ needs. She is a graduate of the University of South Florida with a degree in public health. She holds her Certificate in Nonprofit Financial Management and Certificate in Fund Development Fundamentals from the Nonprofit Leadership Center. She is also a graduate of NLC’s inaugural Advancing Racial Equity on Nonprofit Boards Fellowship.

Image of a Black woman at her desk honing her mental fitness

How to Build Mental Fitness: 5 Tools to Increase Your Leadership Resilience

Charlie Imbergamo | Director of Strategic Programs Resources

What if you could see every challenge as an opportunity to enhance your leadership, team and organization? It’s possible, but it requires mental fitness and leadership resilience. What is mental fitness? How do you increase mental fitness? What are the fundamentals of mental fitness and resilience? In this video, you’ll learn how to build mental fitness with five powerful tools to start using today.

After watching this video, you will:

  • Understand how to tap into your personal power to convert negative situations into positive solutions
  • Have five tools to lead with a more positive mindset
  • Feel empowered and confident to navigate challenges and be present in the now

See all our free on-demand webinars.

Resources Shared in the Webinar

About the Presenter

Kristen Lessig-Schenerlein is an Internationally Certified Leadership and Positive Intelligence Coach, as well as a Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Instructor with additional training in Energy Medicine. As a nonprofit founder and executive director with nearly two decades of building, growing and turning around nonprofits, Kristen continues to be the change she wishes to see in the world. Her current passion is guiding powerful, mission-driven leaders and teams through the inner work of linking their power with their passions.

More Tools to Build Your Mental Fitness

How to Calculate the Value of Volunteer Time

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Some things in life are hard to put a value on — love, passion, dedication, selflessness. These are all attributes volunteers embody, but how can nonprofits determine the value of a volunteer hour?

Each year, Independent Sector gathers data and conducts research on volunteerism in the nonprofit sector. The results of that research provide nonprofits a way to calculate the value of volunteer time. As of April 2022, their estimated national value of each volunteer hour is currently $29.95, up $1.41 since last year.

The hourly value of volunteer time

Why does knowing the value of volunteer time matter?

Understanding the value of volunteers to nonprofit organizations is important because it helps leaders and organizations make a case for volunteer programs, appropriately budget and understand the financial value of what is often perceived as “free” labor.

Additionally, volunteer work varies widely across organizations and functional areas. Some volunteers provide the lowest skilled work while others require extensive training. Recently, my teenage daughter waved a sign outside a food distribution event. Conversely, my nephew is a doctor and volunteers regularly by providing medical support. Is there a difference in the value of volunteer time if a nonprofit had to pay for it? Certainly. Independent Sector does extensive research to factor in those variations, and their estimated national value is a figure your organization can use with confidence when determining the value of volunteer time.

“Volunteers in the United States are 63 million strong and hold up the foundation of civil society. They help their neighbors, serve their communities and provide their expertise. No matter what kind of volunteer work they do, they are contributing in invaluable ways.”

— Independent Sector

Volunteer work strengthens nonprofit organizations and our communities. Volunteers change lives, and this volunteer hour calculator will help you show the strong business case for volunteers within your organization.

How to Calculate the Value of Volunteer Time

Sara Leonard, MBA, CFRE Tips

Some things in life are hard to put a value on — love, passion, dedication, selflessness. These are all attributes volunteers embody, but how can nonprofits determine the value of a volunteer hour?

Each year, Independent Sector gathers data and conducts research on volunteerism in the nonprofit sector. The results of that research provide nonprofits a way to calculate the value of volunteer time. As of April 2022, their estimated national value of each volunteer hour is currently $29.95, up $1.41 since last year.

The hourly value of volunteer time

Why does knowing the value of volunteer time matter?

Understanding the value of volunteers to nonprofit organizations is important because it helps leaders and organizations make a case for volunteer programs, appropriately budget and understand the financial value of what is often perceived as “free” labor.

Additionally, volunteer work varies widely across organizations and functional areas. Some volunteers provide the lowest skilled work while others require extensive training. Recently, my teenage daughter waved a sign outside a food distribution event. Conversely, my nephew is a doctor and volunteers regularly by providing medical support. Is there a difference in the value of volunteer time if a nonprofit had to pay for it? Certainly. Independent Sector does extensive research to factor in those variations, and their estimated national value is a figure your organization can use with confidence when determining the value of volunteer time. 

“Volunteers in the United States are 63 million strong and hold up the foundation of civil society. They help their neighbors, serve their communities and provide their expertise. No matter what kind of volunteer work they do, they are contributing in invaluable ways.”

— Independent Sector

Volunteer work strengthens nonprofit organizations and our communities. Volunteers change lives, and this volunteer hour calculator will help you show the strong business case for volunteers within your organization.

READ NEXT: 5 Creative Ways to Recognize Volunteers

Get Your Certificate in Volunteer Management

The Certificate in Volunteer Management from the Nonprofit Leadership Center prepares nonprofit leaders and volunteer managers to better recruit, retain and reward their volunteers in light of today’s challenges and ever-changing environment. The curriculum is designed by Hands On Network and facilitated by NLC Trainer Sara Leonard, MBA, CFREThrough three interactive, high-energy virtual workshops, you’ll learn comprehensive strategies and techniques to use immediately at your organization in the following areas:

  • Understanding volunteering: Current trends and motivations
  • Planning your volunteer program
  • Recruiting and placing volunteers
  • Orienting and training volunteers
  • Supervising volunteers
  • Evaluating your volunteer program

Upon completion of this program, you will receive the Florida Association for Volunteer Resource Management Certificate. Attendance at all three sessions, completion of assignments and passing module tests are required to earn the certificate.


Sara Leonard, MBA, CFRE, is a solutions-oriented advancement professional with more than 25 years of experience in nonprofit development and administration. Her company, the Sara Leonard Group, provides consulting, coaching and training to fundraisers, CEOs and nonprofit board members. Prior to launching her consultancy in 2015, Sara worked in the nonprofit sector raising funds for health care, educational and cultural organizations. She is also a former employee of the Nonprofit Leadership Center and continues to facilitate classes in fund development for NLC. Sara is widely considered an expert in crisis fundraising and has guided organizations through capital campaigns, both large and small. She received her bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Tampa and an MBA from the University of South Florida. She’s a Certified Fundraising Executive and has been named as a Master Trainer by the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Sara serves on the board of directors of the Suncoast Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and New Tampa Young Life. She lives in Tampa with her husband and two children.


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