Guest post by Adam Weinger, President of Double the Donation
Atypical children choose to mow the lawn before dad offers payment. As with any person with a job, kids want their hard work to amount to more than inherent byproducts, such as a green field with a proverbial buzz cut.
Thankfully, most nonprofit volunteers truly want to help, but a corporate incentive to volunteer regularly can increase the value an individual can bring to his or her community.
However, many volunteers don’t submit volunteer grant requests because they either don’t know that such programs exist or they don’t know how to submit requests. It’s up to you and your organization to promote these programs to volunteers.
When nonprofits know who is eligible to request a dollars for doers grant, they can reach out to those people and increase fundraising from the very same folks who already dedicated their valuable time to the organization’s mission.
The following sample of companies with volunteer grant programs showcases businesses that place a high value on volunteerism and offer volunteer grant programs that do a great job of incentivizing and rewarding community involvement by employees.
We all know that gas is expensive, but this oil and gas giant has more incentive to donate through its dollars for doers program than not knowing what else to do with an excess of money. Chevron and other companies offer volunteer grant programs to give back to communities and to increase employee engagement.
Chevron Humankind supports nonprofits that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recognizes as 501(c)(3) organizations or that the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) views as public charities.
Chevron’s Grants for Good Volunteers program rewards volunteerism by both employees and retirees through generous monetary gifts to the nonprofits where employees give their time:
- 20 volunteer hours = $500 grant
- 40 volunteer hours = $1,000 grant
While Chevron’s grants equate to $25 per hour, the money is only awarded once employees reach the above time benchmarks, and the 40 hour grant is the maximum. This ensures that grants are awarded to consistent, dedicated volunteers, and that there are enough funds to go around to all employees as well as to a plethora of organizations.
Including volunteer grants, Microsoft employees have donated over $1 billion to nonprofits over the past 30 years. Think about how many lawns you’d have to mow to make that much money.
The company started its dollars for doers program in 2005 in order to expand upon its already popular and productive matching gift program. Since then, employees have volunteered for over 2 million hours.
Employees must volunteer for a minimum of 4 hours to receive a grant. Microsoft pays $25 per hour, which easily puts it on Double the Donation’s list of leading providers of volunteer grants. This encourages employees to spend as much time volunteering as possible, as every hour can help to build towards grants worth thousands of dollars.
Since 2000, Verizon employees have volunteered for 6.8 million hours to raise money for over 54,000 nonprofits.
Employees who volunteer with an organization for a minimum of 50 hours can earn a grant worth $750 for the organization.
The maximum number of nonprofits that an employee can submit grant requests for is two. If an employee volunteers for 50 hours with two separate organizations then he or she can allocate two $750 grants.
Verizon also offers team volunteer grants for groups of ten or more employees who participate in charitable walks, runs, bike rides, and similar events. The company will match money raised by teams up to $1,000 per person and $10,000 per team. This is a great way to encourage team-building that fosters employee loyalty while, of course, helping communities.
Allstate is famous for the slogan, “You’re in good hands,” but you want to pay attention to what type of Allstate employees volunteer for you, as some nonprofits may receive better hands than others.
Allstate employees can earn $500 for volunteering for nonprofits, but volunteer benefits can go twice as far for agency owners, who receive $1,000 grants. Allstate awards its grants after employees have volunteered for 25 or more hours with a nonprofit in a calendar year.
Great coffee and great employee benefits. Starbucks encourages its employees to volunteer by offering various tiers of volunteer grants:
- 25 – 49 volunteer hours = $250 grant
- 50 – 74 volunteer hours = $500 grant
- 75 – 100 volunteer hours = $750 grant
- 100+ volunteer hours = $1,000 grant
A program with such tiers requires employees to dedicate significant amounts of time in order to earn increased amounts. This is Starbucks’ way of ensuring that employees truly care about volunteering while making sure that there is enough money to go around to all company volunteers.
Akin to how people seek unique clothes, some dollars for doers programs stand out by simply being different.
Best Buy does not offer individual volunteer grants. Instead the company offers team grants which makes Best Buy’s program a little different and encourages team-building among its employees.
There are a number of rules surrounding this dollars for doers program:
- There is no minimum number of volunteer hours, but grants can only be earned when employees volunteer as a team.
- Teams must consist of no less than 5 employees.
- A maximum of $500 can be earned at an event, even if multiple teams volunteer.
- Team members must volunteer for a minimum of one hour each.
- A single nonprofit can earn up to $10,000 per year from Best Buy donations.
Best Buy’s program may require more reading than most to understand, but they encourage their employees to work in groups to better their communities. The detailed rules allow for the spacing out of gifts to ensure that Best Buy is helping out year round and aiding multiple groups and people while supporting varying causes and events.
Companies with dollars for doers programs understand that more employees will volunteer when they’re promised greater rewards, and nonprofits have a real incentive to get more people to volunteer. Of course, doing good for the world is at the heart of volunteerism, but people do more good for the world when they are able to donate money on top of lending a helping hand.
Nonprofits can use an array of strategies to figure out who works for companies that offer volunteer grants. The complete list of which companies offer volunteer grants includes both the above list and many additional employers. In fact over 40% of Fortune 500 companies provide grants when their employees volunteer on a regular basis with a nonprofit.
Nonprofits can better capitalize on all types of volunteer grants by performing prospect research to discover which donors work for companies that offer dollars for doers programs or by learning more about Double the Donation’s matching gift and volunteer grant service.
Finally, don’t forget to thank your volunteers who submit their dollars for doers grants. Studies show that an organization’s volunteers are likely to be larger donors than average and thanking volunteers or donors is one of the keys to fostering relationships and improving donor or volunteer retention.
Adam Weinger is the President of Double the Donation, the leading provider of matching gift and volunteer grant tools for nonprofits. You can connect with Adam on LinkedIn or via email.
Photo credit: www.stockmonkeys.com