Understanding standard budgets

Budgets can be standard or custom depending on your program's complexity. Here, you will learn about a standard budget setup for simple needs and considerations for managing your own budgets.


Coming soon! Understanding custom budgets

If you have custom budgets for complex needs, contact our support team to learn more about them.  Check if you have custom budgets by going to Manage Budgets and selecting Edit next to any of your budgets. If you’re unable to edit a budget, it's custom. Resources for custom budgets are coming soon!

What is a budget?

Budgets help you track and limit corporate spending for different parts of your program. Each budget 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). 

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:

  1. All Budget type transactions:
    • 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 (Primary) Budget type transactions:
    • Volunteer rewards transactions
    • Other transactions may be included:
      • Company gift cards, PAC matching
  3. Matching Budget type transactions:
    • 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.

Infographic for understanding how standard budgets work.

Why do I need an All budget?

It's important to have an All budget. Firstly, it tracks and limits corporate transactions, including matching and volunteer rewards. 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.

An All budget is also used for open programs 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.


If you have the default budget setup, it is likely your budgets in a given currency will be configured in one of the following ways:

1. Only an All budget.

Best practice for a blended rewards program:

  • Updates to the Budget amount on the All budget affects all corporate spending.
  • Updates to the Per user amount on the All budget affects the total of matching and volunteer rewards you wish to provide to employees.

2. Parent All budget.

     - Child Matching budget


     - Child Volunteering budget

In this situation, the All budget covers spending on matching and/or volunteering rewards, along with other transactions. The child budgets are set to establish specific limits for each type of reward.

Considerations for budget updates

When managing your budgets, it's important to understand the relationship between them.
The first thing to keep in mind is that you should avoid overriding the limits set for Matching or Volunteering budgets with the All budget limit. Why? Because if you reach the All budget limit first, the redemption of matching or volunteer rewards will come to a halt. In other words, you won't be able to distribute rewards to those who have earned them.

The following rules should be followed when updating amounts:

  • All Budget Amount (Corporate Limit) >= (Volunteering Budget Amount) + (Matching Budget Amount)
  • If you want to set limits specific to matching or volunteering rewards, you should only have a Per user amount in the Matching or Volunteering budgets, not the All budget.
  • Make sure that the Budget amount sufficiently covers the Per user amount for all employees who affect the budget and have accepted the terms of use.

Other Budgets

We can create custom budgets for complex needs. 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.

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.


Related Resources

Viewing budgets in Spark

10-minute learning course: Managing Budgets in Spark

Managing budgets in Spark

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