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Custom Projects - FAQs

The following is a list of frequently asked questions to aid in your planning of a custom project with HandsOn Bay Area.


Getting started as a HandsOn Bay Area Corporate Partner


  • Is HandsOn Bay Area a nonprofit? Yes! HandsOn Bay Area is a 501c3 charity as defined by the Internal Revenue Service.


  • Why should we pay to have our employees volunteer? HandsOn Bay Area creates high-quality and unique volunteer experiences for each corporation that we partner with. Our staff will build your volunteer project from scratch by matching your company’s wants and needs with the most pressing needs of the community. We handle all the logistics, planning, and day-of management so that your employees can just show up at the volunteer project and get to work.


  • What is included in the cost?


  1. Management Fee - this fee covers all expenses associated with creating, organizing, and managing your volunteer event. This fee also covers any other deliverables defined during the creation of your contract. 
  2. Supply Budget - this amount is presented as an expense range based on what we estimate the costs will be for your volunteer project. Supply costs can vary based on the type of volunteer activity and can include the following:
  • Tools needed for the project (i.e. drills, shovels, ladders, etc.)
  • Consumable items needed (i.e. paint, tape, mulch, potting soil, etc.)
  • Water and snacks (typically granola bars, but snacks can also be customized)
  • Supply delivery (cost of transporting the tools and supplies to a project site)

The actual supply expense will be billed (less deposit) after the project has been completed. HandsOn Bay Area will never exceed the supply budget unless given written approval to do so.


  • How is the management fee configured? Pricing for our volunteer events is $110 per volunteer slot with a $3,500 minimum cost for groups with less than 25 volunteers.


  • What is a volunteer slot? As with any event, HandsOn Bay Area’s projects will be designed to accommodate the maximum number of volunteers specified by our clients. Of course, there may be fewer or there may be more volunteers on the day of the event. HandsOn Bay Area will bill based on the larger of the two, volunteer slots or actual volunteers. There is no reduction in price if fewer volunteers show up at the project than the number of slots the event was confirmed for.


  • Can we break out some of the individual services and costs from the management fee so we can pick and choose what we want? No. The management fee is a comprehensive fee for the creation of a project. We do not bill the cost of our planning and management services on a menu basis. This is done entirely to protect the quality of the volunteer experience.


  • Does HandsOn Bay Area offer a Volume Discount? Yes. Volume discounts potentially start at 250 or more volunteer slots (see above) per contract. This is not guaranteed and is dependent upon the time of year and our capacity. Volume discounts are not available on MLK Day or during our peak volunteer months of May, June, July, September, and October. 


  • Is there a cost to having HandsOn Bay Area arrange the buses or the food for a project? We will arrange for buses to and from a project and for food beyond snacks and water if requested. HandsOn Bay Area passes the actual costs on to our corporate partner but does not charge an additional fee beyond the management fee.


  • What if we want HandsOn Bay Area to do some other service for us? Can it be done and is there a charge? The following is a list of other services HandsOn Bay Area has been asked to supply in the past and the associated fee for these services:
  1. Volunteer Registration Management - HandsOn Bay Area can manage volunteer registration using our web-based signup tool. The minimum charge for this service will be $500. There will be an additional charge if there are modifications. Please ask for more information if this might be useful to your company.
  2. Grants management – HandsOn Bay Area can manage the placement of grants to nonprofits that have been selected as project sites – including collection of necessary paperwork (e.g. the 501c3 letter). The charge will be 10% of the total grant placement, up to a maximum of $5,000.
  3. Photography / Video - HandsOn Bay Area will take pictures (where allowed – some nonprofits restrict photography for the protection of their clients) and share those with you. However,  if you prefer a professional photographer or videographer, HandsOn Bay Area can arrange those services for you. The charge will be the cost of the photographer plus a 10% management fee. 
  4. T-shirts - HandsOn Bay Area will handle the creation and distribution of t-shirts. The charge will be the cost of production plus a 10% management fee.
  5. Others? Just ask us. We will do our best to make sure you get the service you need.


How HandsOn Bay Area works with Corporate Partners


  • Do we get a choice of project? Yes. HandsOn Bay Area will create a custom project based on your needs. We will present choices for you to select from.


  • What geographies does HandsOn work in?  HandsOn works directly in the nine Bay Area counties and in the Puget Sound area. As part of an affiliate network of 250+ like minded organizations across the globe, we can easily help you create a global solution for your teams. 


  • How do we begin the planning process? HandsOn Bay Area will draft a Letter of Agreement with your company for our services. When the LOA is signed by your company and us, we will assign an Account Manager from our Corporate Relations team who will assist with the planning process. Once an Account Manager is assigned, a kick-off meeting will be arranged so that planning can begin.


  • Can the volunteer project be created before the agreement letter is signed? Unfortunately, no. Projects are custom created based on matching your needs with that of a nonprofit, park, or school partner. In order to avoid disappointment and lost work for our partners, we will not proceed without a signed agreement. Once the agreement letter has been signed, we will identify the volunteer activities and the nonprofits where the activities will take place.


  • What can I expect of our Account Manager? Your Account Manager will: 
    • Conduct a kick-off meeting or call with you to note all of your preferences for your project and establish a timeline going forward.
    • Research community needs to determine several options for your event’s site and activities and present you with options.
    • Upon your selection of a site and activity, confirm and schedule the event with the agency.
    • Manage the planning of all details of the event, including monitoring the budget for the supplies required.
    • Assign a Project Leader from our staff to run the project on the day of your event.


  • What is the cancellation policy? After the agreement is signed and work has begun on developing a project, the 50% management fee deposit is not refundable. The remaining 50% of the management fee can be refunded (or not billed). Once a project has been developed, approved and scheduled, there are no refunds and the full management fee is charged. The cost of supplies is refundable until the supplies are purchased. You can reschedule a project up to two weeks prior to the date of the event. See more about the terms of rescheduling below:
    • The project must be rescheduled within one year
    • The project must take place at the originally scheduled agency / school and the goals of the project must remain the same.
    • If the agency / school needs to change the goals of the project for their own reasons, there may be additional charges for supplies and tools above the agreement amount to cover the changes.

Any cancellation less than two weeks prior to the event will require a payment for materials and services provided in anticipation of the project. The exception is for bad weather or health emergencies (such as COVID) or other unanticipated events that pose a hazard to the volunteers (please see the hazard contingency).


  • What is the hazard contingency? If the weather or other conditions (e.g. COVID or other natural disasters) presents a safety hazard or poses other serious problems making the work plan impossible, the project will be rescheduled to another day. If at all possible, hazard contingency projects will be found to accommodate the volunteers. 
    • Weather specifically - Based on conditions one week prior to the event, HandsOn Bay Area will recommend proceeding or rescheduling. You may reschedule at that point with no cost implications. If you decide to proceed, the full cost of the engagement will be charged even if the project can not proceed.


  • Will HandsOn Bay Area issue a press release? We are happy to issue a press release announcing our projects with partners. We will also support any effort to create media attention. We do not have a communications department so we will only participate if requested and will do so in a supporting role, not a lead role.


  • Can we combine our company waiver/release with HandsOn Bay Area so that there is just one waiver for the volunteers to sign? HandsOn Bay Area can combine waivers and we attempt to do so as much as possible. (Please see Appendix A for complete waiver language). Some partners will not allow for a combined waiver.


  • Will the volunteers be solicited? During the course of the project, opportunities for further volunteering will be presented by either HandsOn Bay Area or the agency partner we are working with. Volunteers will usually be asked to identify themselves if they want to be placed on a list to receive more information. HandsOn Bay Area will never request donations, however, our partners may ask for donations during a project.


  • What happens when the project is completed? We schedule a debrief meeting so that all feedback can be shared. We do this as a way of improving our service to you.


  • Will the volunteers be surveyed?HandsOn Bay Area often provides an evaluation form link in our post project communications that we prepare for volunteers. We can exclude the survey if requested. If you survey the volunteers on your own, we request that the results (that pertain to HandsOn Bay Area) be shared so that we can make sure we are always improving our process.


  • What if there is a small amount of money left over from an event? If there is less than $250 left over from an event, HandsOn Bay Area will consider that amount a donation to our programs. If the amount left over exceeds $250, you can - 1) receive a credit for future projects or 2) request a check for the amount or 3) Make it a tax deductible contribution to HandsOn Bay Area. Please note: if a creditor any amount  is unclaimed after 3 years (i.e. no response from our partner), it will be converted to a contribution to HandsOn Bay Area.


  • Does my credit ever expire? No, as long as your account stays active with HandsOn Bay Area, the funds will not expire. If the funds remain unused after 2 years, there may be an additional amount billed for using the slots if costs have increased. To keep your account active, you must respond to an occasional email from HandsOn letting us know you still want the credit. Please note: if a credit is unclaimed after 3 years (i.e. no response from our partner), it will be converted to a contribution to HandsOn Bay Area.


  • Are there companies that HandsOn does not partner with? HandsOn Bay Area believes strongly in the role companies can play to help solve our communities’ problems. While it is rare, there are cases in which HandsOn will not partner with an organization. Here are guidelines to be aware of:
    • HandsOn will not partner with any company that is known to discriminate against any group of people.
    • HandsOn will not partner with companies that derive profits off of products that cause death and destruction (e.g. tobacco, firearms, etc.).


How HandsOn works with nonprofit partners


  • What types of organizations does HandsOn work with and send volunteers to?
    • Any nonprofit 501(c)(3) with only some exceptions (see below). HandsOn does take into account the resources available to a nonprofit and will seek out organizations that have great need (food banks vs. well endowed private schools). 
      • Any public school
      • Parks or natural preserves
      • Job training programs


  • How does HandsOn Bay Area work with organizations? HandsOn mobilizes volunteers to address the areas of need in the community. The services provided to nonprofits, parks, hospitals, etc. are offered at no cost.


  • Can we provide the list of our nonprofit partners or grant recipients as potential project sites? Absolutely! Please keep in mind that nonprofits sometimes can not accommodate groups of volunteers. HandsOn will discuss all possibilities with the organization and report back if a project is possible.


  • Are there organizations that HandsOn will not work with? Yes. in a similar vein to our corporate partnerships, HandsOn will not work with organizations that discriminate against any group of people.  There can be no religious requirements and we must feel confident that a safe environment can be maintained for all.



  • What are examples of virtual projects?
    • Health and Wellness
      • Letter Writing
    • Career Readiness
      • Mock interviews, resume reviews, networking, and more!
    • Educational Support
      • Website, podcast, film reviews, and more!
    • And much more!
  • What are examples of In-person projects (both onsite and in the community)?
    • School Makeovers or Supportive Housing Makeovers:
      • Activities can include: light construction, gardening, painting, cleaning, etc.
    • Environmental projects:
      • Examples include: Park or Beach Cleanups, Wetland or Habitat Restoration, Urban Farming, etc. 
    • Food Security projects:
      • Examples include: food preparation, sorting, distribution, urban gardening, etc. 
    • Job Readiness projects:
      • Mock interviews, resume reviews, networking, entrepreneurial support, etc. 
    • Onsite projects:
      • STEM kit assembly
      • Hygiene kit assembly
      • Garden bed construction
      • Care Kit assembly
    • And much more!




  • Will we receive an invoice? Yes. HandsOn Bay Area will issue two invoices on a typical contract. A 50% deposit invoice on signing (for both management fee and supplies) and a final invoice once the project is complete and all final supply costs are known and entered into our accounting system (approximately 2-3 weeks post project).


  • Can we request a custom invoice schedule? Yes. We are happy to accommodate your needs for providing funding.
    • You can choose to pay on a schedule that makes sense for your financial calendar - please just let us know what your needs are.


  • Can we pay by credit card? Yes. All major credit cards are accepted. 


  • Is our payment to HandsOn Bay Area considered a charitable contribution? 100% of the funding for the management fee and supplies are considered contributions. However, the cost of additional HandsOn Bay Area services - arranging volunteer transportation, food, and photography - are not considered charitable contributions and cannot be deducted as such.


  • Can we pay HandsOn Bay Area with a grant from our donor directed charity funds? Yes. HandsOn Bay Area can accept grants / donations as a form of payment. 


  • Can HandsOn Bay Area provide a breakdown between goods and services provided and donations for tax reporting purposes? Yes. HandsOn Bay Area can provide a breakdown for the purposes of donation reporting.


  • To whom do I direct invoice questions to? Please send all invoice questions to


Other Questions


  • Are there any options if we do not have a budget for a custom project? Yes, below are some other options to consider:



  • What other programs does HandsOn Bay Area offer? There are lots of ways to get involved in making the Bay Area a better place. Below some of the other cool programs HandsOn Bay Area offers:
    • Extra Hands - Do you need help creating or growing your Corporate Social Responsibility program? Please ask how a HandsOn Bay Area employee temporarily assigned to your team can help staff your department.
    • Project in a Box - Do you want to engage a small team of employees at an office, conference event, or remotely? Project in a Box packages fun, creative ways to volunteer and serve a local nonprofit from wherever you work or live.
    • Digital Dialogues - Are you looking for ways to support your community in this unprecedented time of public health crisis, social justice movements, and political unrest? Digital Dialogues is a web series of facilitated discussions with volunteers, community leaders, and HandsOn Bay Area staff that centers the issue areas affecting our communities. Topics discussed so far have included:
      • Disability Justice
      • Hunger & Homelessness
      • Race Relations & Police Brutality
    • Projects on Demand - Need an easy way for teams to give back throughout the year? Please ask for information on creating an “On Demand” program, with a “bank” of funds which you can use incrementally.

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