Volunteer Model

In this model, adult volunteers are recruited from the community and trained in the skills of financial coaching.

In the video below a volunteer talks about why she felt it was important to volunteer her time as a financial coach.

There are many large scale volunteer models that have been established across the country, including:

BudgetCoaching.  The UW-Extension in Dunn County has developed a model of financial coaching in which volunteers are trained to meet with clients in the community.  The approach, referred to as “Budget Coaching,” is based on relationships and performance/skill improvement.   Launched in 2008, the program has so far trained 16 volunteers who have been successfully paired with 25 program participants.

Dunn County Coach Training is a 6 hour process facilitated by the financial coach team, professionals from the community committed to financial security.  All coaches require a background check before they are accepted into the program.  The topics for training coaches include: what is a budget coach, what is relationship-based attainment, how do we help to improve performance, steps to budget coaching, money values, poverty awareness and facilitation skills.

The Program in Action: Coaches meet with the clients initially to sort out their financial goals.  Typically, developing a spending plan is requested by the client at that first meeting so the client has a more accurate awareness of their financial situation.  Clients are then encouraged to develop financial goals and meet with the coach in subsequent meetings, either in person, e-mail, or via phone.  Coaches themselves meet every three months to ask questions, receive additional information, and share stories. Coordination of coaches and clients are done by the financial team and confidentiality is essential.


Creating Assets, Savings, and Hope (C.A.S.H.) , an Empire Justice and United Way of Greater Rochester collaboration in Rochester, NY.

CASH is a community coalition providing opportunities to workers with low incomes to obtain, maintain, and grow economic assets. The CASH Coaching program was developed to connect with CASH VITA clients at tax time to help them meet long-term goals. The program reaches out to clients at VITA sites to recruit participants. During the 2010 tax season, 12,500 households received tax preparation services.  The CASH coaches are primarily volunteers from the VITA site along with members of the broader community.


Co Opportunity Budget Coaching Program coaching programs in Hartford, CT.

The Budget Coaching Program helps low-income working families to organize and control their financial resources and to set and realize personal financial goals. This program utilizes volunteer coaches recruited primarily from corporations that have a relationship with the United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut. The program helps clients to set up a recordkeeping system, develop a dynamic family budget, and begin developing good financial habits such as establishing an emergency fund and saving regularly.


The Financial CHANGE Program in Madison, WI through the UW-Extension’s Financial Education Center.  The Financial CHANGE Program provides individuals with support using Coaching, a Hands-on approach, Accountability, Networking, Goal Setting, and Education.
This program is a follow up to the recent pilot program run called the “Financial Coaching Institute (PDF)” which recruited 12 coaches and 12 “partners” to work together during a six month mutual commitment.  In addition to meeting for in-person monthly coaching sessions (about an hour each), most coaches checked in more often via email or telephone to monitor small goals and progress.

Another element to this program was the inclusion of educational workshops into the coaching sessions.  Here coaches and partners would attend a workshop held on a particular topic (e.g. creating a budget, saving for a goal) for 30-45 minutes before their one-on-one coaching session.  These workshops provided insight and information from which coaches and partners could glean ideas and encouragement.

At the end of the six months, partners were honored in a graduation ceremony where they received a certificate of program completion.  A list of the group’s accomplished goals was read aloud.  As a way to prolong the coaching experience while encouraging partners to become self-sufficient in goal-setting and achievement, partners were then encouraged to write down reachable financial goals for 30, 60, and 90 days from graduation—small reminders which were then mailed to them on those dates.

In this video a volunteer talks about finishing a 6-month coaching program and how her partner’s progress was an inspiration.



MoneyUP, coaching program of The Financial Clinic in New York.

The Financial Clinic is a year-round operating organization which provides legal and advocacy services, year-round tax advice and preparation, as well as a large spectrum of financial coaching opportunities.  MoneyUP is a joint initiative with the United Way of New York City. Under this project, they combine free tax preparation services with financial coaching and legal services at three sites in Manhattan and Brooklyn and is currently preparing for its fourth tax season.  During tax season 2010, they helped over 1,500 tax filers, and aim to work with over 200 of these tax filers year-round on a range of long term coaching and legal services.