What if your volunteer works for a company willing to match its employee's time with an additional financial donation?
Dollars for doers programs are nothing new. In this age of budget cuts and executives looking to trim anything that looks like an "extra" (including the volunteer program, unfortunately), it's well worth the effort spent in taking advantage of these types of programs. A quick google search will give you a wealth of information about companies that sponsor such programs, each with their own sets of rules. Imagine the value of your volunteer program doubling in the eyes of board members and executives when you can directly tie financial donations to your organization to the volunteers you have so carefully engaged!
I don't want to suggest that you should only engage volunteers who work for companies with these types of programs, but knowledge is power. Make it your business to know which companies offer matching funds, and look first at your existing volunteer workforce. Are you leaving dollars on the table? It's quite possible some volunteers aren't even aware this benefit is offered by their employers. Look next to the corporate groups you engage. Do you have groups of equal skill set approaching you for the same project? Knowing that one of the two groups works for a company with a matching gift program might tip the scales just a little bit, making your decision of who to assign just a little bit easier.
Be sure to track and regularly report on donations brought in through the engagement of volunteers. A simple Excel spreadsheet will not only help you communicate exactly which donations your volunteers have been responsible for securing, but it will also help you keep track of local companies that you should target in future volunteer recruitment activities. In our region, I'm continually finding more companies to add to my own list: Reynolds & Reynolds, Walmart, Honda, ITW, and more. If a company doesn't offer a distinct dollars for doers program, it's also possible that they still offer grant opportunities exclusively to organizations who engage employees as volunteers.
All volunteers bring value to an organization, but it would be short-sighted to ignore the opportunity for your volunteer program to make an even larger impact on your organization. After all, your program exists to further your agency's mission. By utilizing amazing volunteers and tapping into dollars for doers programs, you will demonstrate your ability to do more with the same limited resources. And that is just one more way to prove your program's value to your organization's decision-makers.
Do you know of other companies offering a dollars for doers program? How else are you leveraging corporate partnerships within your volunteer program?