Federal dollars exist for well-planned volunteer-agency partnerships, through www.grants.gov

New agency projects and assistance agreements through the Challenge Cost Share Program are listed at www.grant.gov Check out the resource for ideas.

Both indirect funding (vehicle use, equipment, food, etc.) and direct funding (staff hours for volunteer coordination) can be written into the grant.

To get started on a federal partnership, you should first develop a working relationship with your local agency. Meet with staff to learn the needs of the office or resource, and to express your own ideas. Coordinate on goals, tasks and project plans, and be very specific about what your group and what the partner agency will be responsible for.

Note that many of these grants are matching “challenge” grants. The match by the nonprofit group can be volunteer labor.

The federal government sets the value of labor each year. In 2016 the national rate for volunteer labor was set at $23.07. This changes annually and the up-to-date rates can be found by googling Volunteer Labor Rate

Learn more about the Challenge Cost Share Program.