Workplace giving programs are incredibly impactful forms of corporate philanthropy offered by thousands of businesses across the globe. These initiatives enable a company’s employees to have a direct say in their employers’ charitability—including the amount contributed overall and the specific organizations that receive funding—through their own giving efforts. As a result, donors love partaking in these efforts because they’re able to make an even more significant impact on a cause they already care about.
Unfortunately, these programs continue to be underutilized by qualifying nonprofits and their donors, as many employees remain unaware of how to navigate workplace giving effectively. As a nonprofit fundraiser, one of the best ways to increase donor participation and therefore drive additional corporate revenue to your cause is to guide your supporters through the process.
And what does that look like in action? Here are five specific ways you can help:
- Inform donors about workplace giving in the first place.
- Share company-specific workplace giving guidelines.
- Provide access to an intuitive workplace giving database.
- Follow up with personalized workplace giving reminders.
- Direct donors to their employers’ workplace giving forms.
Workplace giving initiatives offer generous and substantial benefits to both the companies on the giving end and the nonprofits on the receiving end of this funding source—not to mention the employee donors who participate.
In order to drive the greatest results, it’s important to simplify the procedure as much as possible. Let’s begin!
1. Inform donors about workplace giving in the first place.
In order to successfully navigate workplace giving as a donor, it helps to have a solid foundation of knowledge on the subject. For example, what is workplace giving? How does it work? Why do companies offer employee giving programs? Why should I participate in these programs?
There’s a huge knowledge gap between individuals who are eligible to participate in corporate giving programs and individuals who know that they’re eligible to participate in these programs. Unfortunately, many companies are not promoting these opportunities as much as we wish they were. As a result, more than 78% of matching-gift eligible individuals (or nearly 20.3 million people) have no idea whether their employer offers a company matching program.
And this is where your nonprofit team should come in. Empower your organization’s fundraisers to share valuable information about workplace giving and how individuals can get involved. Otherwise, you can’t expect high levels of donor participation if your audience has never been made aware.
So what can you do to help close the gap?
By far, two of the most popular forms of workplace giving programs are matching gifts and volunteer grants. As you begin to educate donors about the vast opportunities that might be available to them through their employers, we recommend focusing primarily, but not solely, on these two. And that can be through any communication channel of your choice!
For example, if you share a lot of valuable resources with your decently-sized social media following, be sure to create posts highlighting matching gift opportunities on your organization’s profiles. If you send a monthly electronic newsletter to your supporters, make sure to include a section on matching gifts—and how to participate!
2. Keep company-specific workplace giving guidelines in mind.
Before a donor can determine whether their contribution to your organization qualifies for workplace giving participation, they have to have access to their employer’s established guidelines. However, because companies are not always promoting these opportunities to their staff, it can sometimes be difficult for individuals to know where to locate the pertinent information.
That said, employee donors will likely require the following data points to identify giving program eligibility:
- Minimum and maximum matchable donation amounts
- Matching gift ratio
- Types of qualifying employee donors
- Types of qualifying nonprofit recipients
- Submission deadlines
Donors searching for this information might want to try their employer’s office policy handbook, provided benefits information, company website, or even reach out to an HR representative themselves. Some well-known corporations may even have their workplace giving policies available via a third-party resource, such as this online collection from Double the Donation.
However, it’s important to note that if the necessary information is too difficult to locate, donors are significantly more likely to drop their potential match altogether. With that in mind, we suggest assisting individuals by providing any program-specific data you can. And when you see a lot of donors being employed by the same businesses, it might be worth taking a deeper dive into their workplace giving initiatives for more information.
And as a nonprofit, these guidelines can be helpful for your team to keep in mind, too. For example, you won’t want to ask a donor to submit a match request if you know their initial gift falls below their employer’s minimum threshold. At the same time, you will want to prioritize high-value donors who work for companies with particularly high match ratios! Having easy access to company guidelines and eligibility criteria can help inform your communications and follow-up strategies.
3. Provide access to an intuitive workplace giving database.
Compiling and communicating all the above pieces of information to share with your donors can be extremely difficult on your own.
Luckily, there’s a software solution for that! A workplace giving database tool is able to provide data on thousands of companies’ giving programs and employee participation criteria. Within seconds, you and your donors will have all the information you need, all with just a quick search of the corporation’s name.
As you examine the benefits of a workplace giving database for your corporate fundraising efforts, remember that (like any software), not all solutions were made equal. Be sure to consider the following software functionality in your search:
- Simple set-up process
- Comprehensive coverage
- Data on multiple types of workplace giving
- Up-to-date program information
- Access to companies’ submission forms
- Empowering tech support
It can be difficult to navigate workplace giving without all the right details. That’s why a database that’s chockfull of matching gifts, volunteer grant information, and more can be such a helpful tool, both for the nonprofits and the donors!
4. Follow up with personalized workplace giving reminders.
Perhaps your donors are inspired by the idea of matching gifts while completing their donations. Unfortunately, their minds are drawn in many different directions upon submitting their gift. That’s to be expected, sometimes!
To ultimately secure those matches, you need to remind them of the opportunity afterward (or, in the case of donors who had not previously been exposed to matching gift information, inform them about the well-loved programs in the first place.
One of the easiest and most effective methods for re-engaging donors with matching gifts post-donation is strategically crafted follow-up emails. As you consider putting this idea into practice, here are four top tips to help bring about the best results:
- Send your first follow-up within 24 hours of receiving an individual’s donation to leverage the remaining giving momentum (but not too soon that the matching gift email is discarded as part of an automated donation receipt or gift acknowledgment). Studies show that sending matching gift reminder emails within 24 hours of a donation results in a 53% open rate—which is 2-3 times higher than the average figure for nonprofits!
- Share company-specific matching information for donors whose employment information you have access to (either from your CRM records or matching gift software). This should include as many of the following details as possible: minimum and maximum match amounts, match ratios, qualifying types of employees and nonprofits, submission deadlines, and links to matching gift request forms or online portals. For the simplest access to this information, the leading matching gift database provider Double the Donation reports coverage of 99.68% of match-eligible donors, providing submission forms for more than 71.2% of them!
- Encourage donors with unknown employers to determine their matching gift eligibility with your easily searchable database. All you need to do is include a link to your dedicated matching gift web page within your follow-up email. With an embedded search tool hosted by a top matching gift solution like Double the Donation, your software can even automatically track and record the companies donors enter in the provided search box for additional data points. Keep in mind that employing multiple approaches for identifying match-eligible donors typically results in 77% more identified match-eligible donations.
- Ask individuals to keep you in the loop throughout the matching process. Once a donor submits their matching gift request to their employer, you won’t have a way to track that potential match through its cycle until you are either contacted for verification or receive the gift match itself. That is, of course, unless you get donors to provide you with that information following their submission. To encourage individuals to do so, make it as easy as possible to share their status updates. For example, consider including a prominently placed email link donors can click to indicate they’ve requested their match. But if a donor determines their gift is not match-eligible, you should include an option for that button, too.
With well-written, strategically timed matching gift reminder emails, organizations tend to see great successes driving more matches to completion. This is especially true when a nonprofit provides as much detailed information as possible to aid donors as they navigate workplace giving.
5. Direct donors to their employers’ workplace giving forms.
We already mentioned the importance of a workplace giving database. This tool can provide donors with the above workplace giving guidelines that enable them to determine if their gift was match-eligible. Taking things a step further, however, top corporate giving software can even equip donors with the specific forms required by their employers.
Today, most companies utilize some type of digital submission process. That might be a simple online form, downloadable PDF, or CSR management portal hosted by their employer.
Even for companies whose processes remain entirely offline, the right corporate giving database can often provide the individual with instructions on how to secure the required form, who in the company to contact in regards to workplace giving programs, where to locate additional information, and other next steps.
When you provide individuals with this information, you ensure you guide them as far as you can bring them through the process. Once you (or your technology) have done a lot of the legwork, your donors are significantly more likely to go the rest of the way on their own—which means workplace giving funding for your cause!
Incorporating the above practices in your organization’s fundraising strategy is a great way to elevate corporate giving efforts and increase revenue from the source. To get started in the most effective way possible, we recommend investing in a top corporate giving software provider (such as Double the Donation).
Equipping your team with the right tools will make it significantly easier to guide donors and provision knowledge on how to navigate workplace giving successfully. Not to mention, help your team raise more through matching gifts, volunteer grants, and more.