Six Types of Workplace Giving Programs Nonprofits In Your Community Rely On

According to Charity Navigator, workplace giving programs account for about $4.8 billion in employee giving each year. This number is expected to grow in the coming years as companies continue to realize the value workplace giving programs can have on employee engagement.

It’s well known that employees want to work for companies that care. In fact, Cone Research found that 79% of people prefer to work for a socially responsible company and 79% of employees think it’s important that their companies match their charitable giving.

Below, we’ve compiled a list of six of the more popular workplace giving programs offered by corporations.

Giving through Automatic Payroll Deductions:

For employees, donating using their company’s automatic payroll deduction program is one of the easiest ways to regularly give to nonprofits. Unfortunately the charitable options for employees may be limited to a predetermined list of eligible nonprofits that varies by company. The challenge for each nonprofit is figuring out how to be included on those lists of eligible nonprofits.

One example of such a program is EarthShare. Through EarthShare @ Work, an employee engagement & philanthropy program offered at hundreds of public and private sector workplaces across the country, the organization connects donors with environmental and conservation charities. For instance, the Georgia chapter of EarthShare provides funding to 70+ nonprofits in the state.

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Employee Matching Gifts:

Employee matching gift programs are workplace giving programs where companies will double or even triple donations made by employees to nonprofit organizations. With 65% of Fortune 500 companies and many smaller companies offering these programs, they represent an important source of funding for nonprofits.

For example, at Amgen, employees can request the company match up to $20,000 in donations each year.

Click for a list of top employers which double donations made by employees.

Disaster Relief Grants:

It’s a sad fact of life that natural disasters can strike at any time. Fortunately, many corporations are quick to provide grants and matching gifts to support the needs of the impacted area. These disaster relief grant programs typically are setup in one of three ways:

  • Straight grants from the company
  • Matching donations from employees
  • Matching donations from customers

Regardless of the grant making method, corporations are providing much needed funding to support those in the impacted regions.

Internal Employee Fundraising Campaigns:

Employee Fundraising Campaign

Many organizations, especially schools and hospitals, have instituted employee giving campaigns in which they ask staff members to make a monetary donation to the organization.

The benefits of an internal employee fundraising campaign extend far beyond the actual amount raised. Staff participation is important to outside funders. For instance, being able to say “100% of our hospital’s employees donated to this year’s annual campaign” is an extremely strong selling point when looking for additional support.

Keys to successfully implementing an internal employee giving campaign  include:

  1. Recruiting the right person to lead the campaign
  2. Making it easy to give
  3. Setting goals. For example, 100% participation and $100,000 donated
  4. Communicating and publicizing the campaign in multiple ways
  5. Thanking your employees

Employee Volunteer Grants:

Volunteer grants are workplace giving programs setup to encourage employees to volunteer in the communities where they live and work. Companies provide an incentive by offering grants to the nonprofits which employees actively volunteer at. These programs aren’t as prevalent as employee matching gift programs, but over 40% of Fortune 500 companies and many smaller companies offer some sort of volunteer grant program. While most companies provide substantially more funding from employee matching gift programs, volunteer grants can still be a valuable source of funding for nonprofits.

Annual Giving Campaigns:

While many companies recognize that employee engagement is positively impacted by offering an ongoing, year-round giving workplace giving strategy, there are still companies which focus a significant chunk of their charitable giving efforts on a seasonal annual giving campaign. Typically these occur in the October to November time frame and represent a once a year opportunity for your nonprofit to engage employees at these companies.

For instance, during Teradata’s open enrollment period for benefits, the company promotes Teradata’s Annual Employee Giving Campaign. During this campaign the company encourages employees to give back to nonprofit organizations of their choosing. The company will setup reoccurring payroll deductions and matches donations made by employees during this time period.

It’s important to note that while most companies with matching gift programs match donations made by employees at any time during the year, it’s fairly common to see companies only offer to setup charitable payroll deductions during a set time of the year.

Bottom Line: Most major companies offer one or more of the above workplace giving programs. If you’re a business owner, make you you capitalize on the opportunity to maximize employee engagement and satisfaction, and if you’re a nonprofit, make sure your organization is fully utilizing the workplace giving opportunities that are available.

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