dollars for doers

What is Dollars for Doers and How Does It Work?

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Engage your employees to grow through volunteering

Dollars for Doers is a giving program designed to encourage employee volunteerism. It provides financial donations, or service grants, to nonprofits based on the number of volunteer hours performed by employees. Today, 56% of large companies offer Dollars for Doers programs with most providing between $10-$25 per hour volunteered,i and some offering up to $75 per hour. These programs are a great way to engage employees in volunteering which drives benefits such as a positive workplace culture, skill development, expanded impact and more.

Unfortunately, employees aren’t always aware of Dollars for Doers programs offered by their employers. And, even if employees are aware, they may not know where to find virtual volunteering opportunities. As a case in point, a recent VolunteerMatch survey found that 52% of respondents wanted to volunteer remotely but only 13% had actually participated in virtual volunteering opportunities.ii

Virtual Volunteering Toolkit 

How can you engage employees without in-person volunteering events? Your workforce is now hybrid, so your volunteer program needs to be as well. This toolkit will provide you with the insights, resources and templates you need to design a successful virtual volunteering program.

Download the toolkit ➔

virtual volunteering toolkit

What is Dollars for Doers?

Our toolkit can help you discover plenty of volunteer opportunities for your hybrid workforce. With that in mind, it’s important to understand how volunteerism incentives like Dollars for Doers work. Dollars for Doers is essentially a matching gift program whereby a company makes a donation based on employee volunteer hours multiplied by an hourly rate. These programs are sometimes referred to by other names such as:

  • Volunteer grants
  • Dollar for hour
  • Matching time
  • Volunteer matching
  • Grants for time
  • Matching gift per hour
  • Credit per hour
  • Service credit

There are different ways these programs can be structured, but here are a few frameworks for inspiration:

1. Matching gift per service hour (to the same nonprofit)

In this framework, for every hour volunteered, a company will match those hours at a specific rate to the organization with which the employee volunteered. For example, if an employee volunteers for 20 hours and you are matching at $10/hour, then you would make a $200 donation to the nonprofit the employee volunteered with. The volunteer hour match will be applied to the employee’s annual matching limit (inclusive of both donation and volunteer hour matching gifts). A few things to keep in mind include:

  • Will there be a volunteer service hour minimum? (e.g. 20 hours minimum before the grant is awarded)
  • Do you plan to have an overall matching budget cap in addition to the match limit per employee?
  • What organizations are eligible? Some companies restrict volunteering to designated 501(c)(3) organizations while others allow volunteering to a broader group of organizations – for example, volunteering with local governments for environmental clean-up projects.
  • How will employees secure approval for time off and track their volunteer time?

2. Credit grant per service hour (to any nonprofit)

For every hour volunteered, the company will match those hours at a specific rate, and the matching gift (credit grant) can be given to the nonprofit of the employee’s choice. It would be the same as the example above except that you would provide a $200 credit grant that the employee can redeem with any eligible nonprofit of their choice. If you are holding company-sponsored volunteer events, this is an excellent way to let employees know that you also support the causes they are passionate about.

3. Milestone grant for volunteer goal (can be restricted or open)

In this framework, you can set a threshold for volunteer hours that must be met before the employee (or team) is eligible for the grant – it can be applied to either of the above. For example, a minimum of 20 hours is required before an employee (or team) is eligible to receive the grant. Or, for every 20 hours volunteered, the employee becomes eligible for the next grant level.

Why employee volunteerism is important

As COVID-19 continues to be an obstacle for in-person team building events, encouraging your employees to volunteer is more important than ever before. Employees still need to connect with each other and the causes they care about. And nonprofits need help too! Sixty three percent say they are operating with reduced resources from before COVID-19.ii

Company-sponsored virtual volunteering opportunities, combined with incentives like Dollars for Doers, can lead to a happier, healthier and more engaged employees. Even better – you’ll be multiplying your employees’ impact. And that’s a benefit worth aiming for!

Download our Virtual Volunteering Toolkit for the insights, resources and templates you need to design your virtual volunteering program for a hybrid workforce.

You may also be interested in reading this Double the Donation article to see how other companies are designing their Dollars for Doers programs.

Julie Yamamoto

Julie Yamamoto

Julie is a Content Strategist at Bright Funds. She works closely with clients to deliver compelling content that inspires action. Her work has been featured in several enterprise and nonprofit digital channels, as well as GreenBiz and American Forests. She is a trained Climate Reality leader with a passion for environmental topics (technology for good, sustainable business, forests and carbon markets, climate change, conservation and biodiversity). In the future, she hopes to start a nonprofit focused on harnessing creativity to protect nature.

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