Budget basics

Budgets can be simple or complex depending on your program needs. Here, you will learn about the basics that apply to all budgets. Follow along while viewing your budgets

What is a budget?

Budgets help you track and limit corporate spending. Each uses one currency. The transactions in a budget depend on the Budget type and if there is a Budget amount (corporate limit) or Per user amount (employee rewards limit). 

In some cases, budget Transaction Tags are used to specify if budgets are applicable to specific user groups.

There are many scenarios where it is helpful to keep track of your budget usage:

  • Monthly, to track annual usage and to track budgets before they are maxed.
  • Before and after all campaigns to ensure sufficient funding.
  • After you have requested the creation of a budget or edits to a budget to confirm the changes.
  • After your budgets have reset for the year to confirm the correct amounts.
  • Before an internal presentation, you can use the data export.

Let's explore how budgets work to control your finances!

Budget Types

Budget Type represents the main type of transactions in the budget. Other transaction types may apply based on different configurations. There are three types of budgets:

  1. All Budget:
    • Matching transactions
    • Volunteer rewards transactions
    • Other transactions may be included:
      • Corporate donations, My Funds seeding, My Rewards seeding, New Hire credit, Company gift cards, PAC matching
  2. Volunteering Budget:
    • Volunteer rewards transactions
    • Other transactions may be included:
      • Company gift cards, PAC matching
  3. Matching Budget:
    • Matching transactions

Different transaction types are included in each budget depending on your program's budget configuration. To confirm your budget setup, submit a support request. You can also access budget reports in Benevity Reporting to answer additional company spending questions.


Why do I need an All budget?

An All budget can be used in two ways: 

  1. To track and limit all spending including corporate transactions, matching and volunteer rewards in a single budget. Even if you're not currently using corporate funds for anything other than rewards, you may in the future. For example, you could contribute to disaster relief efforts or decide to offer gift cards to employees reaching a 5-year employment milestone.
  2. To offer an open program with blended rewards, where employees are rewarded for how they prefer to give back. For example, an employee could redeem all their rewards from volunteering or donation matching.

Why do I need a Matching or Volunteering budget?

If you do not offer the blended rewards program mentioned earlier, it is likely you'll have a Matching and Volunteering budget.

Matching and Volunteering budgets set spending limits for these reward types, either at a corporate level or for individual users.

Note: Throughout the year you can also offer special matching campaigns that do not draw down from your annual budgets. Use the Matching Campaign Usage stock report to find out if your campaign draws down from a budget. Learn more about special matching campaigns.

Budget Rules

Budget rules place transaction limits on a budget.

  • Budget amount is the total amount authorized for a budget.
  • Per user amount is the total budget amount an individual user has access to.

Why do I have a budget with a 0 amount?

If you have a budget with a 0 Budget amount, any transactions associated with the budget are prevented in the platform. Similarly, having a budget with a 0 Per user amount prevents users from redeeming rewards linked to that budget type. For example, a matching budget with a 0 Budget amount prevents donation matching for users in the budget currency.

Do employees see the per user amount?

Yes! When you set a per user amount on a budget, your employees can see their rewards allowance on their dashboard. Learn more about the dashboard budget display.

Standard budgets

Standard budgets are configured for the majority of our clients and follow best practices for easy budget management. They are typically set up for simple programs. 

Learn more about standard budgets. 

Custom budgets and Custom Tags 

Custom tags indicate if a budget applies to a specific employee group. If you have custom tags applied to your budgets, you have custom budgets.

These budgets are typically set up for more complex programs. Our team will partner with you during setup to understand your needs and recommend the best approach. Budgets can also be changed later through an enhancement for an extra cost.

To confirm if your budgets use custom tags, select Edit next to a budget and check if there is a Custom tags section. 

Learn more about custom budgets. 


We recommend keeping it simple!

With all the information and options employees face, straightforward and accessible programs work best. Complex programs can bring challenges that slow progress and reduce engagement.

If you are unfamiliar with your budgets, contact our support team to learn more.

Budget reports in Benevity Reporting

The below reports supplement information viewed in budgets. They are accessed through Benevity Reporting.

  1. Budget Usage
    Similar to the information viewed in Budgets.
  2. Budget Usage by Transaction
    A line-by-line breakdown of the transactions that are drawn down from each budget.
  3. Budget Usage by User
    The amount of budget that has been used from each budget line, per user.
  4. Matching Campaign Usage 
    This report shows Matching budget types and any additional matching campaigns that have been set up throughout the year. The "draws from budget" column indicates if the campaign transactions are associated with a budget. If they are not, the campaign is stand-alone and does not draw down from a budget.

Note that data will become available in the Budgets view around 2 hours after it is available in stock reporting. 

Related Resources

Understanding standard budgets

Understanding custom budgets

Viewing budgets in Spark

10-minute learning course: Managing Budgets in Spark

Managing budgets in Spark

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