Are you and your organization doing all you can to do to get available funding from corporate sponsors or are you leaving money on the table? You could be losing out on much needed money you’re already eligible for because you and your volunteers don’t know about some of the programs offered by companies of all sizes where your volunteers work.
In this socially conscious age, more and more businesses are providing support for the good work being done by nonprofits like yours. What do the corporate sponsors get in return? They’re rewarded for these donations with an enhanced public image, greater employee loyalty, higher self-esteem and greater job satisfaction.
Volunteer grant programs represent a huge opportunity for smart nonprofits to deepen their relationships with their volunteers and with these generous companies. Sometimes called “Dollars for Doers” programs, volunteer grants are corporate giving programs created to encourage volunteerism in communities where employees live and work. These programs have a variety of names: “Good Hands” or “The Giving Campaign” by Allstate and Individual and Team VIP (Volunteer Involvement Programs) at ExxonMobil. These volunteer programs are a major opportunity with surprisingly low awareness, both among nonprofits and volunteers.
According to Libby Hikind, CEO of GrantWatch, “By making use of volunteer grant programs, nonprofits can benefit from the support of socially-minded businesses, while attracting a broader base of volunteers for future projects.” Approximately forty percent of Fortune 500 Companies provide grants to nonprofits where employees regularly volunteer. Companies such as New York Life, and ExxonMobil, Apple, Disney, Google, JP Morgan, Amgen and Dell are some of the top companies to offer volunteer grants.
Companies and organizations where your members and volunteers work might already have programs to donate to the charity of their choice through service hours. It’s estimated by Double the Donation, that over fifteen million individuals work for the over 20,000 companies that match their employee’s donations of time with money when the employees submit the necessary documentation. A large percentage of those employees are not aware that their donations of time and money would be matched by the companies they work for. It literally pays to find out if yours is one of them and submit the paperwork.
How it Works
Different companies have different eligibility requirements for employee volunteers at nonprofits.
For instance, ExxonMobil’s matching rate for volunteer hours is $500 for every 20 hours, (with a maximum of $2000). In 2015 alone, close to 10,000 ExxonMobil employees, retirees and their family members in the United States volunteered more than 435,000 hours of their personal time in 2015, in recognition of which ExxonMobil contributed more than $6.9 million to more than 3,400 non-profit organizations where they volunteered through their Education Matching Gifts Program, their Cultural Matching Gifts Program, Individual Volunteer Involvement Program, and Team Volunteer Involvement Program.
New York Life Volunteers for Good focuses on volunteering for causes related to their mission: educational and bereavement support-oriented nonprofits, though they will provide volunteer matches to other nonprofits as well. They have a dedicated site where employees, agents, retirees and eligible (accredited) educational institutions can register their matching gift requests electronically (nyl.yourcause.com) Their minimum for individual volunteer grants is 30 hours to one eligible charity. They’ll contribute $1,000.00 for 60 hours or more of community service. Individuals can submit matching donation requests up to six months from the donation date. In addition, they offer team grants for their employees and agents to volunteer collectively. When they volunteer collectively for 40 hours total, New York Life provides volunteer grants of between $500-$10,000. Individuals can donate monetarily or through volunteering to several institutions per year and will be matched up to $5,000. The maximum for gifts to a single institution from the foundation is capped at $50,000 a year. For additional information see https://newyorklifefoundation.org.
If you already have volunteers at your nonprofit, let them know that they can request a matching gift or volunteer grant through the human resources or community giving department at their company, or check on the company’s intranet or online to see if their employer already has a program in place. Companies will recommend charities they are already involved in, but they are often also open to give to the charity of the employee’s choice when presented with the information and proof of the hours volunteered. It’s normally a five-minute process which must be initiated by the donor/ volunteer. They just submit a match form provided by their employer or through an electronic submission process.
Nonprofits should reach out to local subsidiaries of large corporations and inquire if they have a volunteer program and ask to be included in the corporate volunteer program. The nonprofit leadership should advise their Board and staff of their inclusion in the volunteer program and how best to use these services.
Corporate volunteer matching grants are a great way to help your nonprofit increase revenue, boost engagement, improve community relationships, and affirm relationships with volunteers.
What else can you do?