Corporate Volunteer Grant Programs | The Basics
Common questions about companies which provide volunteer grants to nonprofits
What are volunteer grant programs?
Volunteer grant programs are corporate giving programs created to encourage volunteerism in communities where employees live and work. Through these programs, companies provide monetary grants to organizations where employees volunteer on a regular basis.
How are these volunteer grant programs structured?
Companies either provide a set monetary donation for every hour an employee volunteers or provide grants once employees reach certain thresholds.
- Carmax provides a $10 grant for every hour an employee volunteers up to $10,000 annually.
- 3M offers $250 grants for nonprofits once an employee volunteers for at least 20 hours in a year.
Did you know:
- The average volunteer grant is for $8-$15 per every hour volunteered by an eligible employee.
- Most schools and 501(c)(3) nonprofits are eligible
Your organization has already done the hardest part, recruiting volunteers willing to dedicate a significant amount of time to your organization. Make sure to ask them to take a few minutes to determine if their employer offers a volunteer grant program.
How many employers provide volunteer grants?
Volunteer grant programs are a fairly common program especially at medium to large companies. For instance, 40% of Fortune 500 companies offer volunteer grant programs. While not as high as the 65% of Fortune 500 companies with matching gift programs, they're still very prevalent.
All of the companies in the image on the right offer both matching gift and volunteer grant programs
Which companies offer best-in-class programs?
For this ranking, we combined information on both volunteer grant and matching gift programs.
That being said, it isn't too challenging to identify the traits that would make a company's volunteer grant program stand out. Programs quality can really be judged based on the minimum volunteer hours required, value per hour, and the maximum annual limits. A few companies with great volunteer grant programs include:
- Best Buy - $1,000 grants after 40 hours
- Verizon - $750 grants after 50 hours
- Soros Fund Management - $50 per hour
- Adobe - $125 for every 10 hours
What are the typical restrictions for organizations?
In general companies apply very few restrictions on the types of nonprofits that are eligible to receive volunteer grant programs. Companies typically state that any 501(c)(3) nonprofit or school is eligible.
Normally there are only a few restrictions such as not providing grants to political organizations or religious organizations unless they're focused on serving the broader community (ex. homeless shelters, food banks, etc.)
The rule that you should be most concerned with is the minimum number of hours. In most cases, companies only provide grants to organizations where employees volunteer on a regular basis. You can expect that majority of companies require at least 10 hours of volunteerism from a single employee in a calendar year before he or she is eligible to request a volunteer grant.
Why are volunteer grants programs underutilized by nonprofits?
Even for organizations who have a large number of individuals who volunteer on a regular basis, there are multiple barriers that make it tough for organizations to tap into volunteer grant dollars. The most common reason is that individual volunteers actually have no idea their company offers a program. The program is often buried in the employee benefit book that is given out once per a year.
Even if an employee has heard his or her company offers a program, there's oftentimes a gap in knowledge around the process for submitting a volunteer grant request. Fortunately, many companies now offer an electronic submission process or easy to use form. The key is to provide company specific instructions to volunteers to make it more likely they'll submit the grant requests.
Given these challenges, it's not a surprise that much of the available money goes untapped. If you're looking to increase revenue from volunteer grant programs, check out Double the Donation's service. We can help you raise more money from corporate employee matching gift and volunteer grant programs.
How can organizations increase fundraising from volunteer grant programs?
If your organization is lucky enough to have a large number of volunteers, make sure you're asking them to check if their employer offers a volunteer grant program.
Prompting a volunteer with company specific information is a great way to increase the likelihood they'll submit a volunteer grant request to their employer. Check out some of these marketing strategies.
If you've already done the hard work of organizing a passionate group of volunteers, make sure you're providing them with the tools they need to submit a grant request to their company. It only takes a few minutes and doesn't require them to open up their own wallets.