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Does your organization support volunteering programs? Consider sponsoring this fundraising idea!

The Basics of Volunteer Grants

What are volunteer grants?

Volunteer grants are essentially donations that companies give to nonprofits on behalf of their employees. When an employee at a participating company volunteers, they can report their volunteer service and apply for a grant. If approved, the donation goes directly from the company to your nonprofit, and nothing has to come out of your volunteer’s pocket.

Here’s a rundown of how it works for nonprofits:

  1. You recruit volunteers as usual and ask them if their employers offer volunteer grants.
  2. If so, your volunteer logs their time and reports it to their employer.
  3. If the grant application meets their employer’s requirements, the company sends your nonprofit a donation!

It’s that simple. All your nonprofit has to do to take advantage of this fundraising opportunity is spread the word to volunteers.

How do nonprofits benefit from volunteer grants?

When you receive a volunteer grant, your nonprofit benefits from the volunteer’s donated time and the gift from their employer. 

Volunteer grants also benefit your volunteers, since they can double their gift to your nonprofit without making any extra room in their budget. This provides an additional incentive to volunteer as well.

Are there restrictions on volunteer grants?

Since each participating company creates their own volunteer grant program, there can be different restrictions for each company. These can vary from employer to employer:

  • How many hours an employee has to volunteer to qualify
  • What size donations the employer sends to nonprofits
  • How many times an employee can request a volunteer grant

Have your volunteers check their employers’ programs to make sure they’re following their company’s specific guidelines.

How to Educate Your Supporters About Volunteer Grants

To take advantage of this opportunity, let your supporters know about volunteer grants and how they can get involved by:

  • Asking your supporters to check if their employers offer volunteer grants using a volunteer grant database.
  • Highlighting volunteer grants in your newsletter or on social media when you receive them.
  • Adding information about volunteer grants to the volunteer page on your website.

Simply by spreading the word about this opportunity, your nonprofit can receive funds from many different companies and encourage more supporters to volunteer.