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Management and Leadership in Nonprofits

Management and Leadership in Nonprofits


HS/EHS Blog: In-Kind Barriers and Busters

Sep 24, 2018
By: Tammy T. Jelinek

If you run a Head Start, Early Head Start (EHS) or EHS-Child Care Partnership (CCP), you have heard of in-kind. It’s the community’s share of the program. Whether it is through donated space, supplies or time, it is about having the community involved to help make the program as impactful as possible.

We offer in-kind training at major conferences, on site with many teams and on demand to use back in your program. During a recent session I was presenting, I yet again fielded questions about the barriers to generating in-kind, so we did an exercise on the barriers and busters. 

Here are a few of the results:

  • Add to everyone’s job descriptions the responsibilities and expectations for generating in-kind.
  • Make plans, including deadlines, for how to generate in-kind. 
Lack of training
  • Offer more detailed preservice training.
  • Have people (staff, leaders, board members, etc.) sign off; they will help with a commitment to generating in-kind.
  • Offer a team approach to meeting the needs; allow teams to design the plans, timelines and outcomes.
  • Train staff and teachers on generating and documenting in-kind to each other to help show importance. 
Not correctly documenting
  • Color code the documents.
  • Make documents electronic. 
Lost documents
  • Have one person collect them all; collect them weekly.
  • Have one place to store the documents for easy access. 
Don’t have the necessary forms
  •  Make them available at centers, in classrooms, in offices and online. 
Don’t understand why we need or what we can take
  • Help people get engaged by sharing the why and the what frequently — not a one and done.
  • Make and share the plans for what is allowable in-kind for the agency. 
Don’t turn it in
  • Communicate the ongoing importance on in-kind.
  • Implement a tracking mechanism to show everyone the progress the agency is making to meet the in-kind goal. 
Turn it in wrong
  •  Provide training on the consequences of getting the numbers or amounts incorrect.
Bad calculations
  • Automate the calculations.
  • Have one person do them. 
It is not my job!!!
  • Share the funding impact of not meeting in-kind numbers.
  • Share the personal consequences of not meeting the in-kind numbers.
  • Add it as part of performance evaluations.
  • Add it to board responsibilities.
  • Focus training on the “why” and the “how” of generating in-kind.
  • Have people practice how to generate in-kind.
  • Hold team building exercises for building the barriers list and implementing the busting initiatives.
  • Add in-kind information to all orientations — volunteers, board, policy council, parent committees, staff, etc. — and review it often.
  • Remind teachers, staff, PC, board and leadership teams how community involvement positively impacts the children.

I hope these examples help start a conversation in your agency. If you have more, please share them.

It’s such an important topic that I know I can share more on it in the future, and it would never be too much!

Wishing you a wonderful day,


Tammy Jelinek has over 20 years of experience in working in and with grant-funded and fee-for-services nonprofit organizations. She has trained nationally in the areas of OMB Uniform Guidance, Head Start/Early Head Start Act and program performance standards, parent/volunteer involvement and more. And Tammy has a passion for helping programs help the families they serve! Learn more at wipfli.com/ngp.

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Tammy T. Jelinek, MBA
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