Adam Weinger is the President of Double the Donation, an online service which helps nonprofits raise more money from employee matching gift and volunteer grant programs.
In a previous article, Rabbi Michoel Green discussed matching donation programs, which are one of the many forms of corporate giving. But how much do you know about employee volunteer grant programs?
If your nonprofit has a strong volunteer force, are you maximizing the hours your volunteers spend with you by applying for volunteer grants where appropriate?
What are volunteer grants?
Volunteer grants are a fairly new way for nonprofits to raise money. You may not have heard of them, but they continue to grow in popularity every year.
Volunteer grants are corporate initiatives where corporations donate money to organizations to recognize their employees who volunteer their time at these organizations. This allows corporations to partner with their employees in support of local causes and encourage volunteerism within the community.
How does it work?
Basically, companies give a monetary grant to organizations where their employees volunteer. Each company will have a preset donation amount for every hour an employee volunteers. Volunteers must meet a certain threshold for number of hours before the company releases the money.
This can help your organization in two ways:
Increasing the hours people come out to volunteer
Increasing donations from companies based on how many hours are volunteered at your organization.
These “Dollars for Doers” programs are available from more companies than you might think. Over 40% of Fortune 500 companies are now offering this form of giving.
The amount granted varies. Some companies, like Verizon and Campbell Soup Company, offer $15 or more for every hour their employees volunteer while the average amount granted per hour is usually between $8 and $15. Microsoft has one of the most generous grants, paying $17 per hour their employees spend volunteering.
Overall, volunteer grants can be a great source of untapped funding for your organization!
Volunteer Grant Challenges:
Unfortunately it can be tough to determine which volunteers work for companies that reward volunteerism with grants. Many of your volunteers won’t know what their companies offer because the policies are often buried in human resource sites or employee benefit books. The first step you can take is to encourage your volunteers to check and see if their employers offer these great benefits.
Your volunteers want to give. Give them the info they need to make every volunteered hour count. There are a few pieces of key information they will need, such as their company’s policies, grant amounts, volunteer hour thresholds, and links to the online submission forms that guarantee your organization receives these corporate volunteering donations. If you can get the information to your volunteers, you will start to see increased revenue from volunteer grants.
Additionally, you could also sign up with a company like Double the Donation, which specializes in helping nonprofit organizations maximize their fundraising through volunteer grants and corporate matching programs.
Many companies provide grants to nonprofits where employees volunteer.
Employees often aren’t aware of these programs and thus aren’t submitting grant requests.
- Organizations which promote and encourage supporters to apply for these grants can receive additional corporate funding.