Dollars for Doers Programs: A Guide to Employee-Driven Contributions for Nonprofits

Aug 29, 2023

Imagine a program that transforms every moment of employee volunteerism into an additional catalyst for impactful change. That’s the power of a “Dollars for Doers” initiative, which some companies might call volunteer or community service grants. Not only does it amplify the positive footprint of your company’s corporate social responsibility efforts, but it also ignites a virtuous cycle of employee engagement and community upliftment.

With Dollars for Doers, you’re not just recognizing volunteerism, you’re supercharging it. By converting every hour volunteered into monetary support, your employees are doubling down on turning goodwill into measurable impact.

As CSR leaders, you’ll witness the ripple effect firsthand: increased employee morale, stronger community relationships and a tangible demonstration of your company’s commitment to creating a better world. It’s more than just a program; it’s a dynamic expression of corporate values that has the potential to improve the lives of both employees and recipients. Let’s take a deeper look at this employer-sponsored but employee-driven program.

A “Dollars for Doers” (D4D) program in its simplest form is a corporate philanthropic initiative that encourages employees to engage in volunteerism by providing monetary donations to the nonprofit organizations where they volunteer their time. It’s part reward and part incentive by allowing the employee to donate their time to an organization, while the company acknowledges its employees’ dedication by donating cash to the same cause, therefore allowing the employee to theoretically “give twice.” It’s becoming increasingly popular among companies and CECP’s Giving in Numbers™: 2022 Edition tells us that 59% are offering this as part of their social impact strategy.

Dollars for Doers: What to Know


  • Provides employees with a way to direct company dollars to causes and organizations they support.
  • Recognizes and reinforces employees’ contributions of time and energy for community organizations.
  • Provides data for tracking volunteering involvement, which is helpful in developing new programs and communicating the program’s success.
  • Can be used to support specific company-sponsored activities or partners.


  • Requires the development, implementation and monitoring of specific company policies and procedures.
  • Depending on employer-defined guidelines, it can be difficult for employees to hit thresholds and take advantage of the program. In fact, though widely offered, it’s rumored to be one of the least utilized community engagement offerings due to high thresholds, restrictions, communication challenges and lack of supportive policies to enable its use.
  • Running the program may be costly and requires a strategy for determining qualifying organizations and activities.

The specifics of a Dollars for Doers program varies from one company to another, including factors like the donation rate, maximum contribution limits, eligible nonprofit organizations, eligible activities, and reporting mechanisms. Some companies tailor their programs to align with their focus areas and strategic partners while others allow Dollars for Doers to support the causes that employees care about personally.

Here’s a general overview of how it often works:

  1. Eligibility Requirements: Consider the types of organizations and activities that you want to make eligible for the program along with any restrictions on employee eligibility. Use this time to also determine the value of a volunteer hour and any miniums or thresholds.
  2. Budget: Determine how much money to set aside to fund the program by analyzing your current volunteer efforts, participation rate and the grant dollars you can allocate. This should also include the use of technology to support administration of the program.
  3. Build Awareness: Provide information on the program in recruitment efforts and in new hire onboarding. Communicate this opportunity to employees throughout the year.
  4. Volunteer Hours Tracking: Employees volunteer their time with eligible nonprofit organizations. They log their volunteer hours through the company’s designated system or online platform.
  5. Submission and Verification: Employees submit their volunteer hours to the company along with relevant documentation or verification from the nonprofit organizations they serve.
  6. Donation Distribution: Once the submitted hours are verified, the company calculates the total donation amount based on the accumulated volunteer hours. This amount is then donated to the respective nonprofit organizations. Turnaround time for the donation varies and could be processed at set times during the year.
  7. Recognition and Reporting: Employees may receive recognition for their volunteer efforts within the company, fostering a culture of service. The company might also report on the impact of the program by sharing the total number of volunteer hours contributed and the corresponding donations made.

A “Dollars for Doers” program serves multiple purposes. It promotes employee engagement, increases corporate social responsibility, strengthens ties between the company, the employee and the community, and provides much-needed support to nonprofit organizations. Additionally, it can enhance your company’s reputation and brand image, showcasing its commitment to social causes beyond its core business activities.

Katy Elder
Vice President of Corporate Insights, Points of Light

Spending 20 years in the corporate social responsibility sector, Katy mixes creativity and strategy with expertise in employee engagement and corporate citizenship to develop resources and learning opportunities that advance corporate social impact.