5 Ways Volunteer Grants Benefit Corporate Volunteer Programs
With 40% of Fortune 500 companies offering volunteer grant programs, volunteer grants are one of the most popular forms of corporate social responsibility (CSR). When employees dedicate their time to a nonprofit, companies with volunteer grant programs will contribute a donation to that nonprofit, depending on the number of hours volunteered or a predetermined grant amount.
While it’s clear that this type of initiative supports nonprofits with extra revenue and volunteer time, it may not be as evident how volunteer grants help the participating companies. However, those who manage corporate volunteer programs have a lot to gain from offering this type of CSR.
We’ll review five reasons volunteer grants can help take your corporate volunteer program to the next level, benefitting the nonprofits involved, your employees, and your business as a whole.
How do volunteer grants work?
Before we dive into the benefits of volunteer grants, it’s important to understand how the process of distributing them works. Double the Donation’s volunteer grant guide lists the following steps:
- An employee volunteers at a nonprofit.
- The individual checks and confirms their volunteer grant eligibility.
- The individual submits a volunteer grant request to their employer.
- The company reviews the request.
- If they approve the request, the company sends the resulting funds to the nonprofit.
To facilitate this process, many companies use CSR software that integrates with nonprofit corporate giving software. While employees can use nonprofit software to determine their eligibility and submit a request, companies can receive, review, and approve these requests through their CSR software.
1. Increased volunteer participation
Volunteer grants incentivize volunteers to participate in their employers’ corporate volunteer programs. When they know they can make an extra impact on their causes of choice, they’ll be more willing to volunteer their efforts.
To further increase participation, offer a variety of volunteer opportunities that are eligible for volunteer grants. Some of the most popular types of volunteering include:
- Direct service volunteering. Perhaps the most common type of volunteering, direct service involves volunteers working directly with nonprofit beneficiaries.
- Team volunteering. Organize a group of your employees to take on volunteer tasks as a team.
- Skills-based volunteering. Your employees can lend their skills and professional expertise to help nonprofits without room in their budgets to pay for these services.
- Mentorship. Some nonprofits seek volunteer mentors who can teach their beneficiaries life or professional skills.
- Employee internships. Larger companies may offer employee internships in which employees donate their time and expertise to a nonprofit while still earning their regular salaries.
Your company can demonstrate different types of volunteering and the subsequent power of volunteer grants by sharing volunteer stories on the CSR section of your website. You may also share these assets with your nonprofit partners so they can highlight their volunteers from your company.
2. Boosted employee morale
Many employees take pride in working for companies that support their charitable efforts and make the world a better place. Beyond providing personal fulfillment, working for a company with CSR initiatives like volunteer grants and corporate volunteer programs helps to:
- Create a better workplace culture. Volunteer grants encourage employees to work together outside the workplace, allowing them to forge stronger bonds in the workplace. These relationships can improve team cohesion and performance and contribute to a more enjoyable work environment.
- Improve employee retention. When employees feel that their work not only contributes to the company but also the greater good, they’re more likely to stay under their current employer. Therefore, offering volunteer grants can help companies retain top employees.
- Enhance employee performance. After volunteering, employees may be more engaged and empowered to work. Especially if they participate in skills-based volunteering, these opportunities may encourage employees to see their skill set in a new light and bring a new perspective to the workplace.
Additionally, when you promote volunteer grants and other CSR opportunities during the recruitment and hiring processes, you attract more purpose-driven applicants in the first place, allowing you to build a team that is excited and ready to make a difference.
3. Enhanced corporate image
Offering volunteer grants is a tangible way to show stakeholders such as customers, suppliers, and potential employees that you’re committed to CSR. It helps them form a positive association with your business, encouraging them to engage with your company.
In fact, 77% of customers want to purchase from companies committed to making the world a better place. When you promote your volunteer grant program and other relevant initiatives on social media, your newsletter, and your website, you can demonstrate your positive impact to socially conscious consumers.
Not only can CSR initiatives like volunteer grants bring in more sales and job applicants, but they also help you build long-term relationships with stakeholders built on mutual trust and commitment to improving society.
4. Strengthened nonprofit partnerships
Volunteer grants represent a double commitment to nonprofits. While you’re contributing monetary donations as you would in any other type of grant or nonprofit event sponsorship, you’re also providing charitable organizations with volunteer time from your employees.
This invaluable resource helps companies forge strong relationships with nonprofits. In return for their funds and time, many nonprofits are willing to promote their corporate partners and share the work they’re doing to support their local communities.
To further strengthen these partnerships, survey your employees to see which causes they care about, and reach out to the organizations they mention to form meaningful nonprofit relationships. You can also check reports produced by your CSR software to determine which nonprofits your employees volunteer with most often.
5. Greater positive societal impact
Overall, volunteer grants are another small step companies can take to reach their CSR goals and make a positive impact on the world around them. These grants help nonprofits fund their programs and gather the helping hands necessary to do anything from stocking a soup kitchen to playing with animals in a shelter to tutoring at-risk children.
With limited budgets and resources, nonprofits appreciate all the help companies can give them, and volunteer grants are a major source of support that requires little effort from companies but goes a long way.
When your company offers volunteer grants, you’re providing both money and volunteer time to organizations that need it. The resulting benefits for nonprofits, employees, and your business itself cannot be understated.
To thank your volunteer grant participants for their hard work and commitment to your company’s CSR initiatives, Fundraising Letters recommends sending thank-you notes that show your appreciation, demonstrate volunteers’ impact, and notify them of upcoming volunteer opportunities.
That way, you can show volunteer grant participants how vital they are to your company’s charitable efforts and encourage them to lend their support again in the future.
Author: Adam Weinger
Adam Weinger is the President of Double the Donation, the leading provider of tools to nonprofits to help them raise more money from corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs.
Double the Donation's robust solution, 360MatchPro, provides nonprofits with automated tools to identify match-eligible donors, drive matches to completion, and gain actionable insights. 360MatchPro integrates directly into donation forms, CRMs, social fundraising software, and other nonprofit technology solutions to capture employment information and follow up appropriately with donors about matching gifts.