“Dollars for Doers.” It’s a terms we’re hearing more and more in our conversations about corporate volunteerism, but it’s also a term–and a concept–that is new to a lot of people. Because Dollars for Doers is among the most popular employee volunteer programs in America, it’s important that both nonprofits and corporations are familiar with it. This article explores the growing trend of Dollars for Doers and how your nonprofit or corporation can take advantage of it to promote goodwill in your community.

What Is Dollars for Doers?

Dollars for Doers programs–also called a Volunteer Grant, Dollar For Hour, and Grants for Time– are programs corporations use to encourage employee volunteerism. Over 60% of surveyed companies offer some sort of Dollars for Doers program. Essentially, the company provides grants to the nonprofits or charities based on their employees’ time spent volunteering at those nonprofits.  This program is used to both encourage employees to donate their time, and to express a company’s social responsibility to the public.

According to a 2016 report from the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP), Dollars for Doers is the “second most frequently offered” employee volunteer program for American businesses. This program is a popular way for companies to give back to their communities, and they frequently report high success rates with such programs.

How it Works

Typically, an employee must meet a minimum number of annual volunteer hours to be eligible for Dollars for Doers. The grant amount ranges company to company. For example, Capital One provides a $1 per volunteer hour grant, while Chevron provides $25 per hour. The average Dollar for Doer grant, however, is about $10-$15 per hour served. Often, employees are responsible for documenting and reporting their volunteer hours to their departments, which can lead to…

The Management Problem

Selfish Giving, a blog devoted to cause marketing and corporate volunteerism, interviewed Jennifer White, The Director of Development and Strategic Partnerships at Cradles to Crayons, about her experience with Dollars for Doers. In the article, she mentioned that one of the biggest hurdles in working with employees is getting them to log their volunteer hours with their company.

She said “If employees can log their hours online we get a better and faster response […] but if they have to print out a form and get it to another department in the company…well, you know what happens.”

She continued, “I’m surprised how few companies track employee volunteer hours. They just don’t keep track of this – but we do. It’s there for the asking.”

If you are considering your own corporate Dollars for Doers program, or are a nonprofit working with a corporation, you should begin by exploring an automated tracking system for your employee volunteerism. This way, you can engage your employees and improve your corporate reputation, without causing undue burden on the nonprofits you’re working with

How You Can Boost Success

Despite companies reporting high levels of success with such programs, participation is shockingly low. The CECP concluded that as little as 5% of employees participate in such programs.

In an article for Realized Worth, Kevin Espirito, the Senior Manager for Employee Engagement at Microsoft, shared a few ways that he’s been able to boost the success of his Dollars for Doers program.

He has:

  • Streamlined the application process
  • Started using a smartphone app to record volunteer hours
  • Reached out to nonprofits to help get employees to log their hours.
  • Strengthened his nonprofit partnerships to increase the reach of his
    employee volunteer program

This article provides some other in-depth tips for how to get the most out of your Dollar for Doers program.

In Conclusion

Dollars for Doers is an integral component of any employee volunteer program. But with low participation and other obstacles, you must make it easy for your employees if you want to be successful.

How have you found success with your own Dollars for Doers program? Share your thoughts with us!


Also published on Medium.