Have received several off-line questions regarding this so I will try to explain it better.
VHA is a group of hospitals who have joined together to share bench marking data and also negotiate as a group to get better pricing on supplies.
For hospitals, I think it is important to compare oneself with like size institutions but you should also factor in additional components to be sure you are comparing apples to apples. For example, does the 600 beds the hospital counts include a long term nursing facility?; is there an on-site medical practice or clinic?, is it a teaching hospital? are interns counted as volunteers? etc.
Other agencies can do the same by narrowing it down by type of client served, types of services offered or type of museum to name a few.
Then, I only count Full Time Equivalents (FTEs) whose sole responsibility is volunteer management, training or coordination. If you wear two hats, only count the amount of time you spend working with the volunteer program; if you share a bookkeeper or secretary, only count the time they spend dedicated on your program. I don't count my gift shop staff, they have nothing to do with running the volunteer program, they run the gift shop.
Then compare the paid staff hours to the number of volunteer hours for the same time frame. Do the same with your expenses - remember only count the ones incurred by the volunteer program. You can then calculate your cost per volunteer hour.
Ask like agencies to share their figures with you. You may find you are significantly underfunded or understaffed (who isn't) and will then have very good data to present to your administration or board when you ask for more resources. You may also find you are getting more than others and will want to keep quiet or find out how others get by on less so you can re-allocate those resources elsewhere.
In my case, I have discovered my expenses are a fraction of my compare group. However; their total volunteer hours are around 30% higher than mine. My request will be for an addition .5 FTE (part timer). My program will still be operating at a lower cost than my compare group but I could then have the resources to recruit and train more volunteers.
Hope this is helpful. Please feel free to call if you have any questions.
Peg O'Leary-Parsché, Director
LRMC Volunteer Services & Caring Partners
Lakeland Regional Medical Center...
Creating the best health care experiences
Improving lives by delivering exceptional health care
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