Workplace giving is a favorite form of corporate philanthropy for the companies, employees, and nonprofits involved. These types of programs enable businesses to make the most of charitability and CSR (or corporate social responsibility) while encouraging team members to take an active role in their giving success.
If you’re looking to launch a workplace giving program at your company for the first time, this detailed resource is here to guide your way. Here, we’ll cover the five most essential steps required to launch an impactful workplace giving initiative.
These include the following tasks:
- Determine the types of giving program(s) you’d like to start.
- Decide whether you’ll manage your giving program in-house.
- If applicable, choose a corporate giving platform to utilize.
- Choose the ways employees can participate in your programs.
- Promote your workplace giving programs to employees.
Workplace giving differs from traditional corporate philanthropy in that individual employees drive the programs forward with their own participation. As a result, these employee giving initiatives see greater levels of team-wide engagement while simultaneously enabling charitable-minded companies to make a positive impact on the world around them.
Ready to dive in as we walk through the simplified process of kicking off a workplace giving program? Let’s begin.
1. Determine the types of giving program(s) you’d like to start.
Workplace giving is not a one-size-fits-all philanthropic opportunity. There are tons of ways for tons of businesses to get involved. The types of programs chosen should ultimately depend on what works best for each company and its employees. And remember, you’re not just limited to one program. In fact—the more, the merrier!
While the list of programs you can choose from are endless, we recommend incorporating one or more of these powerful workplace giving initiatives:
Companies that match employee gifts provide corporate donations in response to individual donations being made first. If you’re interested in developing a matching gift program, you’ll likely begin by setting matchable donation criteria. For many companies, this includes minimum and maximum donation amounts that will be matched, qualifying types of employees, qualifying types of nonprofit causes, submission deadlines, and more. Then, set the matching donation ratio at which you will meet employee gifts.
Like matching gifts, volunteer grants provide corporate contributions to charitable organizations that their employees support. Instead of matching individual donations, however, volunteer grants match hours volunteered with corresponding grant amounts. For example, if an employee volunteered for 10 hours at a local animal shelter, your company might provide the organization with a $100 donation. If a different team member volunteers for 50 hours at an elementary school, the company may grant the school $500.
Corporate volunteer programs offer another great way for businesses to encourage volunteerism with charitable missions while simultaneously driving company-wide engagement through team-building efforts. If your company is considering launching a corporate volunteerism initiative, we recommend looking for nonprofit causes in your community. Perhaps these organizations have existing volunteer opportunities you can look into or reach out to their teams to begin forging a volunteer partnership!
Automatic payroll deductions are one of the easiest ways for employees to support their favorite causes. All they have to do is set a certain percentage or dollar amount, which will be automatically deducted from their regular paychecks and donated to a nonprofit of their choice. From a corporate giving standpoint, the main drawback with employee paycheck deductions is that since the charitable contributions come from staff members’ paychecks, your company receives less of the CSR “props” for participating.
Employee donation stipends
For this type of workplace giving program, companies provide their employees with a certain dollar amount that can be donated to a charity of their choice. To start one of these programs, you’ll need to determine the logistics surrounding which employees are provided with giving stipends and when. For example, you might give each person a number of donation dollars each year or give out charitable “gift cards” to reward positive workplace behavior.
2. Decide whether you’ll manage your giving program in-house.
There are two main strategies for managing any workplace giving program, and these boil down to in-house or outsourced operations. Essentially, the management process will involve:
- Developing your employee giving initiatives
- Communicating with employees and answering questions
- Screening and approving nonprofit causes
- Disbursing funds to the causes you end up supporting
Owning the facilitation processes in-house will likely save your company some money but will certainly require a more hands-on approach to management. So if you have a tight philanthropy budget, to begin with, you might end up skewing toward internal management.
On the other hand, suppose company leadership is already drowning in tasks, and you already don’t have time to handle everything on your plate. In that case, your team may decide it would be best to seek a third-party corporate giving platform for assistance.
3. If applicable, choose a corporate giving platform to utilize.
If you decided previously that you’ll be managing your workplace giving initiative on your own, you can go ahead and skip to step #4. If you’re looking into the best third-party solution to outsource your CSR program, however, this section plays a key role in planning your launch.
Partnering with a corporate giving or CSR platform is a fantastic choice for companies seeking to streamline management and facilitation of their new or existing philanthropic programming. Here are a few things you may want to consider as you seek out the perfect platform:
Types of programs
There are a lot of corporate giving partners to choose from, and each provider offers a variety of giving programs within their wheelhouse. Make sure the giving platform you’re looking into offers the type of program (e.g., matching gifts, volunteer grants, etc.) you’d like to offer.
Ease of use
How easy to use is the CSR platform you’re looking at? Remember, you want both the front end (for your employees) and the back end (for company management) to be intuitively crafted with positive UX in mind. Make sure to get a demo for a closer look at the software and find out.
These CSR management solutions can be a huge help—but of course, you don’t want to drain your budget by investing in one that’s out of your price range. Luckily, there are a number of providers for any sized businesses and price points. You’ll just have to find the right one!
4. Choose the ways employees can participate in your programs.
Nowadays, the modern nonprofit offers its supporters as many ways to give to their cause as possible. (Hint: the easier it is to give, the more people will likely complete their donations—and the same concept can be applied to workplace giving participation!)
These methods typically include the following:
- Online donations through a nonprofit’s website
- Direct mail giving
- Text-to-give services
- Event donations
- Pledged gifts
- Peer-to-peer fundraising campaign participation
- In-person contributions
If you decide to utilize a CSR platform to manage your company’s workplace giving programs, you might see that many of these software solutions even offer their own online fundraising and donation processing services.
However, you don’t want to narrow down the ways employees are able to give to just one of the above donation channels. In order to provide an optimized employee giving experience, it’s of utmost importance to give employee participants a choice in the way they give. In fact, corporate giving studies report that over 96% of employees at companies with matching gift programs prefer that their company match donations made through any giving channel, rather than placing limitations on which donation methods are match-eligible.
5. Promote your new workplace giving program to employees.
This final task will take place after your programs’ foundation is in place. You should have decided on the types of employee giving initiatives to offer, chosen whether to invest in a CSR management solution (and gotten onboarded with the software, if so), and identified the ways in which your employees can participate.
Now, it’s time to communicate all of the above information to your staff! We recommend that you:
- Highlight new programs across internal, company-wide communications (via email, in meetings, etc.).
- Include an overview of available giving programs in your employee handbook.
- Clarify who at the company is the go-to person for corporate giving program management and thus is available to answer any additional questions.
- Promote workplace giving to new employees during the hiring and onboarding processes.
This step is critical, especially because the vast majority of people employed by companies with workplace giving programs are never made aware of the opportunities. And if your employees are never informed about your new philanthropic initiatives, they won’t be able to participate, and your company will not receive the maximum advantages offered by corporate giving.
But when employees are made aware of workplace giving program availability, they’ll be more likely to take part, and your company will begin reaping the benefits in no time.
Now that you understand the basic process involved with kicking off a workplace giving program for your business, it’s time to hit the ground running. One of the first and most vital steps has to do with making some essential decisions.
And when you’re ready to launch, keep in mind that your employees play a hugely significant role in the success of your philanthropic initiatives. Make sure the workplace giving program you build is one that your team members will be willing and eager to participate in. Good luck!