Dollars for Doers: What It Is and How It Works

Imagine a scenario where you don’t have to choose between volunteer work or donations, and instead you could do both. This isn’t just a feel-good story—it’s Dollars for Doers, a strategic approach that multiplies the impact of volunteer efforts, strengthens community ties, and boosts employee engagement. It’s a win-win-win situation where businesses, employees, and communities thrive together.

Dollars for Doers is a philanthropic program where a company donates a specific amount of money to a non-profit organization on behalf of its employees based on the number of volunteer hours those employees log. It’s one revolutionary way that companies and employees can work together to make a tangible difference in their communities. 

What is Dollars for Doers? 

Dollars for Doers a model that transforms volunteer programs into financial support, amplifying the impact of individual efforts. In essence, every hour an employee spends volunteering is matched by the company with a monetary donation or grant, often to the same cause or organization.

This program represents a commitment to corporate social responsibility that goes beyond financial contributions, to encourage employee participation in community service. Dollars for Doers is a symbiotic approach where the company’s total social impact grows in tandem with the volunteer work of its employees.

Benefits of Dollars for Doers

  1. Enhanced Community Impact: Dollars for Doers programs exponentially increase the support the community receives and build more transformative employee volunteering programs. Beyond the direct benefits of volunteering, the added financial contribution helps nonprofit organizations scale their operations and increase their reach.
  2. Increased Employee Engagement and Satisfaction: By recognizing and valuing the volunteer efforts of employees, these programs foster a sense of pride and fulfillment. Employees feel more engaged and connected to their company’s ethos and CSR initiatives.
  3. Nurturing Volunteering Culture: By financially matching the time employees spend volunteering (and providing volunteer time off), companies incentivize more staff to participate in community service. You want to foster a culture of volunteering within the organization, encouraging employees to put their skills to use in the community.
  4. Aligning Corporate Values with Action: Dollars for Doers programs are a tangible expression of a company’s values. They align corporate strategies with actionable social responsibility, illustrating a commitment to making a real difference in the community.
  5. Stronger Community Ties: These programs can strengthen the bond between a company and its community. They signal a long-term commitment to local causes and can lead to enduring partnerships with non-profit organizations.

How Dollars for Doers programs typically work

Dollars for Doers programs can take many forms, but here’s a breakdown of how they typically operate:

  1. Employees volunteer with non-profit organizations that resonate with their personal values or interests.
  2. Employees track their volunteer hours in internal systems, spreadsheets, or CSR software like Submittable.
  3. Companies establish a rate for converting volunteer hours into monetary donations. This rate might have a minimum threshold for the number of hours an employee must contribute before the company pays out funds, and a maximum amount the company is willing to donate.
  4. Companies verify and validate the volunteer hours.
  5. Companies make the matching gift per hour of volunteer service to the non-profits chosen by employees. 

Oftentimes, companies donate to the same nonprofits that employees volunteer for, but in Volunteer by Submittable, employees can choose to donate their Dollars for Doers funds to any non-profit they want. When employees have the choice and agency, it turns companies from donors to facilitators behind the scenes of employee-first change.

How to measure success of Dollars for Doers

It’s up to a company’s CSR practitioner to report on the impact of all their CSR initiatives, including Dollars for Doers, both to employees and stakeholders. This reporting can include metrics like:

  • Total number of volunteer hours/donations made
  • Total amount of donations contributed by Dollars for Doers
  • How many employees are reaching the minimum threshold set
  • How often do employees go above the minimum threshold
  • How many employees reach the maximum threshold of hours allowed
  • Average number of volunteer hours per employee
  • Number of organizations donated to

When employees can donate their dollars to any nonprofit, it’s important to track where those dollars end up, according to Submittable Product Marketer Madison Silver.

“Are most people donating the money back to where they volunteered, or are people donating it to other types of nonprofits?” says Silver. “Does funding follow the same causes? For example, if they volunteered for a youth-led event, are they then donating to another youth-led organization, or are they different causes? We want to see: do people’s volunteering and donations line up?”

By tracking these contributions, you’ll learn more about the causes that matter to employees, and be able to plan volunteer events that are better aligned with those causes. 

Embrace the multiplier effect

Dollars for Doers programs are more than just a corporate philanthropy initiative. They’re a testament to the power of collective action. These programs create a multiplier effect, aligning business resources with employee passion. They build a bridge between companies and the communities they serve, while mobilizing your workforce to amplify their total social impact.

Submittable’s corporate giving platform can help you put your Dollars for Doers program into action. With the right corporate volunteering software, admins have full customization over how many dollars to donate per hour, and what events qualify for the program. Meanwhile, employees have visibility into the exact dollar amount their volunteer work translates into, and the freedom to choose any nonprofit they want to donate to. 

It’s easy to make a difference with Submittable—one volunteer hour and one dollar at a time.

Hsing Tseng

Hsing is a content marketer and ex-journalist who writes about tech, DEI, and remote work. Beyond the screen, she enjoys building custom mechanical keyboards and playing with her dog. You can find more of her work at