Volunteer grant programs, also known as Dollars for Doers, are popular programs that companies use to encourage employees to donate their time to eligible nonprofit organizations.
Most often, an employee will volunteer his or her time at a nonprofit for a certain number of hours per year. Once a threshold has been reached, the business will donate a certain amount of money per volunteered hour to the nonprofit.
For instance, ExxonMobil will donate $500 to a nonprofit after an employee has volunteered for at least 20 hours.
Many companies have similar programs, and your nonprofit can take advantage of the generosity of these corporations by encouraging your existing volunteers to look into volunteer grants!
Here are the top four ways to increase volunteer grant funds.
Before delving into these tips, you may want to learn more about the basics of volunteer grants.
1. Raise Awareness
One of the biggest ways your nonprofit can benefit from volunteer grants is to let your volunteers know about them. Oftentimes, the people who are donating their time to your organization have no idea that they can make an even bigger impact by submitting volunteer grant requests.
Part of this awareness will also take place within your organization. Make sure that every member of your team has at least a basic understanding of what volunteer grants are and how they work. That way, when your team members and volunteers are working side by side, your team can better inform your volunteers about the grants.
2. Continue to Engage Volunteers
After volunteers have given you their time, make sure that you don’t just cast them aside. Volunteer retention is just as important as donor retention, and your nonprofit has to be able to keep volunteers coming back to help your nonprofit accomplish its mission.
Continued volunteer engagement can take many forms. You can:
Send them more information about your organization. This is an especially good way to encourage first-time volunteers to give their time in the future. You can also provide information about corporate volunteer grant programs to motivate them to check if their employer offers such a program.
Invite them to events as attendees, not as volunteers. If an individual regularly volunteers his or her time, send an invitation to one of your fundraising events. You might just make a new donor out of a volunteer!
Put the spotlight on your volunteers and volunteer grant programs. Let your donors and members of the community know exactly how your volunteers are helping your organization. Public recognition will not only encourage volunteers to donate their time in the future, but if you also include information about volunteer grant programs, you will spur volunteers who didn’t submit requests to action.
Keeping in touch with your volunteers in various ways after they donate their time will not only help your nonprofit benefit from additional volunteer time, but you can also receive corporate volunteer grants after reaching out to volunteers about these programs.
3. Reach Out to Corporations
A recent study by VolunteerHub found that 70% of nonprofits partner with corporations to gain more volunteers. If your nonprofit is part of the 30% that isn’t taking advantage of corporate partnerships to acquire more volunteers (and volunteer grants!) then get on board!
Most companies are seeking to expand their cultures of corporate social responsibility. Your nonprofit can help them accomplish this goal and benefit from more volunteers and the volunteer grants that come along with them.
Ask local businesses and corporations if they would be willing to partner with your organization. Try to go after companies that sell products and services that are similar in nature to the work that your nonprofit does. The closer you can align your mission to the company’s, the more likely it is that their employees will come flocking to your organization to volunteer.
4. Say Thank You!
You already thank your donors whenever they donate their money. Make sure you’re also thanking your volunteers and their employers for their time and volunteer grants.
Saying “thank you” can take many forms:
Handwritten letters or cards make the acknowledgement much more personal and genuine. While it may be difficult to write out cards to every single volunteer, you can identify your star volunteers and send them personalized notes. Additionally, you can send letters to the companies that have helped your organization through the use of their volunteer grant programs.
Public press releases that highlight the generosity of companies and their employees can be a great way to encourage other volunteers to look into their own employers’ volunteer grant programs. They also allow your nonprofit to call attention to any corporate partners that offer stellar volunteer grant programs.
Social media can be a less formal (but just as effective) way to thank your volunteers and their employers. If you have a large following on Facebook, Twitter, or any of the other popular social media sites out there, use that platform to praise your standout volunteers and the companies that they represent. The sharing capabilities of these sites will help ensure that your posts are seen by a sizable audience.
Regardless of how you do it, make sure that you’re thanking all of your volunteers. The people who dedicate their time to your organization are extremely valuable and deserve attention and recognition.
Additionally, when you thank your volunteers, you increase the chances that they’ll continue to give their time to your organization. This continued support can lead to more volunteer grants down the line.
Make a Bigger Impact Today
Your nonprofit is already benefiting from the generosity of your volunteers. Make sure that you’re taking advantage of the volunteer grant programs that their employers offer too!