This guide explore the benefits or employee giving program for corporations.

Why Companies Should Have Employee Giving Programs

Businesses that give back to their communities receive a number of benefits in return. From improved reputations to higher employee retention, corporate philanthropy is only increasing in importance in the for-profit sector and for good reason. 

Corporate giving takes many forms, and one method in particular allows businesses to make an impact and engage employees at the same time: employee giving programs. Workplace-based giving initiatives provide employees with the opportunity to make a difference with their own two hands.

In this post, we will discuss the benefits of employee giving programs and provide examples of companies that have successfully implemented such programs. Specifically, we’ll explore:

Whether you want to update your current employee giving strategy or launch an entirely new program, this guide will provide answers to what makes employee giving so effective.

New technology has made matching gifts one of the most exciting employee giving programs. Learn more.

What are the benefits of employee giving programs?

Employee giving programs provide numerous benefits for both employees and the companies that implement them. Some of the key advantages of these programs include:

Improved Employee Engagement and Morale

Employees who can support causes they care about through their workplace are more likely to be engaged and motivated in their jobs. After all, they know their hard work is helping to support a good cause. 

Studies have shown that employees who are engaged in their work are more productive, have higher job satisfaction, and are less likely to leave their jobs. In addition, employees who can give back to their communities through their workplace are more likely to have a positive attitude and feel a sense of purpose in their work. Let’s look at some specific statistics:

The image depicts several statistics related to corporate giving, listed below.

Companies with employee giving programs are also more likely to attract and retain top talent. Many job seekers today are looking for companies that align with their values and support charitable causes, and having an employee giving program can be a key differentiator in the job market.

Boosted Reputation

Companies that practice corporate social responsibility (CSR) are generally looked upon favorably by consumers and employees alike. As discussed, employees want to work for employers they know are making a positive impact in the world, and consumers also want their hard-earned dollars to support businesses making a positive impact. 

All types of corporate philanthropy can lead to a positive reputation boost. For example, sponsorships, match grants, and in-kind donations can all help worthy causes. However, employee giving programs specifically give employees more control over which organizations receive funding, increasing their stake in the business’s CSR practices. 

In addition to making financial contributions, employee giving programs can also provide opportunities for employees to volunteer their time and skills to support charitable organizations. This is why some law firms require lawyers to work a certain amount of pro-bono hours each year. 

Although, take care in whether employees are invited to participate in employee giving or are forced to. While optional programs are likely to see less participation, required ones can lead to resentment from employees, especially if they have limited say in which causes they can give to. 

For an example of how to offer freedom of choice in an employee giving program, many companies offer matching donations or volunteer grants. Within these programs, the company matches its employees’ gifts or donates based on the hours its employees spend volunteering. The employees decide which organizations they want to support, and their employer follows suit by giving to the causes they’ve signaled they care about. 

Tax benefits

CSR programs allow businesses to do good in the world. Of course, businesses are also fundamentally for-profit organizations, and saving a bit of extra money due to their philanthropic actions is often a major motivator behind giving programs. 

Here’s a rundown of how employee giving programs provide tax benefits for both companies and their employees:

  • For companies, workplace giving programs can be a tax-deductible expense, reducing tax liability. In addition, many companies offer matching donations or volunteer grants as part of their employee giving programs, and these contributions can also be tax-deductible.
  • For employees, individuals who make charitable contributions through payroll deductions or donate as part of a matching gift program can claim these deductions on their tax returns. In-kind donations employees make by volunteering their professional services can also sometimes be claimed as a deduction. Work with employees to help them estimate the value of their in-kind donations and make accurate statements on their taxes. 

As part of your business’s corporate giving strategy, keep careful records of your donations. Request donation receipts from your nonprofit partners if they are not already providing them, and ensure the details of sponsorships and other partnership arrangements are written down and confirmed by both your business and the nonprofits you work with.

Types of Corporate Giving Programs

Corporate giving takes many forms, some of which include employee involvement. Most businesses that are serious about CSR will have a mix of philanthropic programs to meet their communities’ needs and be responsible corporate citizens

Let’s take a look first at corporate giving programs that have an element of employee giving:

The image depicts the types of corporate giving programs, listed below.
  • Matching gift programs allow employees to give more to the causes they care about. In a matching gift program, an employee donates to a nonprofit of their choice. Then, they submit a matching gift request to their employer reporting the donation. If the application is approved, the employer makes an equal contribution to the nonprofit. At a few exceptional companies, they’ll even donate double or triple the employee’s initial gift. 
  • Volunteer grant programs allow employees to lend their time to the causes they care about and contribute financially through their employer. Essentially, employees volunteer and then report their hours and any other necessary details, like the nonprofit’s tax ID, to their employer. The business then makes a donation either on a per-hour basis or after a certain hours threshold has been reached. 
  • Payroll deductions are the most convenient type of employee giving. Employees agree to be part of an automatic deduction program and have a portion of all future paychecks donated to a nonprofit unless they later ask to opt out of the program. 
  • Grant stipends differ from matching gifts and payroll deductions by providing employees with the money to donate instead of asking them to reach into their wallets. Businesses provide funds specifically to be donated, and employees then give them to a cause of their choice. 

These programs engage employees and let them have an active say in what causes are supported. Of course, there are many other worthwhile corporate giving opportunities unrelated to employees that a company might pursue. These include: 

  • Corporate foundations are charitable organizations that are established, managed, and funded by companies. Essentially, these foundations are nonprofit organizations with corporate backing. Some provide grants to nonprofits, while others plan and launch their own mission-based initiatives. As an example, The Ben & Jerry’s Foundation is managed by Ben & Jerry’s and awards grants to advocacy groups.
  • Charity brand lines are a form of sponsorship wherein a company works with a nonprofit to develop a specific product or service and pledges to donate a portion of sales proceeds to the nonprofit. Shop-for-a-cause programs like this focus simultaneously on helping nonprofits and driving sales since socially conscious consumers are more likely to buy a product if they know it supports a good cause. 
  • Sponsorships involve companies providing support to nonprofit events, programs, or initiatives. This support can be financial gifts, in-kind donations, or marketing assistance. Sponsorships can also be one-time deals or ongoing partnerships based on the agreement between the nonprofit and the corporation. 
  • Impact investments are a process wherein companies invest in nonprofits or socially responsible for-profit organizations. The investment funds provide support for the organizations to get their programs off the ground, and the company generates a financial return.

Last, there’s one type of corporate giving program that fits in the middle of this venn diagram: 

  • In-kind donations can involve employees or be entirely managed by the company. For example, mission-driven businesses that provide software nonprofits use often have free or discounted subscription options for nonprofits. This form of corporate philanthropy does not involve employee giving at all. However, in-kind donations also include professional services, like consulting, accounting, photography, graphic design, and coding all rely on volunteers, which will be the business’s employees. 

Which type of corporate giving is right for your company? The answer depends on numerous factors, such as employee interest, which nonprofits are interested in working with your business, and what resources you have available to spend on philanthropy. 

However, if we had to pick a favorite, we would single out matching gifts as the best type of employee giving program. 

An In-Depth Look at Employee Matching Gifts

With over 26 million individuals working for companies that offer matching gift programs, employee matching gifts have the capacity to make a major impact. For your program, determine what causes you want to support through matching gifts, which of your employees are eligible, and how much you intend to give. 

For instance, one company might make only full-time employees eligible for matching gifts, but they may pledge to match all gifts at a 1:1 ratio with an annual cap of $10,000. In contrast, another company might open up its matching gift program to part-time and retired employees but enforce a narrower range of gifts between $50 to $2,500 and exempt donations to educational and religious institutions. 

However you decide to organize your matching gift program, you can access benefits like:

  • Flexibility. Depending on their employer’s restrictions, matching gift programs allow employees to decide which causes they want to give to, when they make their donations, and how much they give. While placing limits on your program can channel employees to support specific causes, keep in mind that as restrictions go up, participation goes down. 
  • Potential for automation. Matching gift technology is advancing fast, and businesses using CSR software with matching gift auto-submission technology can enable their employees to complete their matching gift requests in seconds. All they need to do is turn on the feature, and employees will get the option to have their request automated when they give to nonprofits with matching gift software.  
  • Easy management. Once you kick off your matching gift program, it essentially runs itself. Businesses just need to regularly take two actions. They need to approve matching gift requests and routinely promote the program to remind employees to participate. 

Interested in what matching gift programs look like in action? Here’s how matching gift programs have played out at a few companies whose names you might recognize: 

  • Microsoft. Microsoft’s employee giving program, known as the Microsoft Employee Giving Program, encourages participation by having a donation minimum of just $1. Both full and part-time employees can participate, and almost every type of nonprofit organization is eligible for a matching gift. 
  • Coca-Cola. Most employers have a 1:1 matching gift rate, but Coca-Cola wants to make its employees’ donations go even further with a 2:1 rate, effectively tripling donations. 
  • Johnson & Johnson. Both current and former employees at Johnson & Johnson can increase their donations. Current full and part-time employees receive a 2:1 matching rate, while retirees still get a standard 1:1 ratio. 

Overall, employee matching gift programs can provide numerous benefits for companies and their employees. By offering such a program as part of their employee giving programs, companies can increase the impact of their employees’ charitable giving and enhance their reputation as socially responsible organizations.

Do even more with matching gifts by leveraging auto-submission technology.

How to Implement an Employee Giving Program

The first step in implementing any CSR program is deciding that now is the right time. You have the resources, a philanthropic mission, and you’re pretty sure that your employees will be happy to participate. Now you just need to plan your implementation. 

While details vary depending on your program of choice, here are the five steps most companies will take to launch their new employee giving program:

The image depicts the steps companies take to implement an employee giving program, written out below.
  1. Identify the causes that are most important to your employees. As the name implies, your employees drive your employee giving program, so make sure it’s focused on causes they want to support. Conduct a survey or hold focus groups to find out what causes are most important to your employees. If opinions are divided, consider a program like matching gifts allowing each employee to make their own giving decisions. 
  2. Offer a range of giving options. There’s no need to limit yourself to just one type of employee giving. For instance, many companies that offer matching gift programs also support volunteer grants. Refer to the causes and types of activities employees indicated interest in from your initial survey.
  3. Invest in the right CSR software. Choose a CSR platform with the tools you need to run your program. Most CSR software comes equipped with features to record employee volunteer hours, manage matching gifts, and provide employees with information about donating through your company. However, different vendors focus on different aspects of CSR, so be sure to research platforms and request demos before making any final purchasing decisions. 
  4. Provide clear and concise information. To ensure that your employees understand your employee giving program and how to participate, provide clear and concise information about your new program. This includes providing guidelines on eligible charities, making donations, and claiming tax deductions. Make these resources easily accessible, such as adding them to your employee handbook. 
  5. Promote the program to your employees. Some employee giving programs, like payroll deductions, require minimal active participation from employees. Others, like matching gifts, are entirely at employees’ discretion. Make sure employees know about your giving program by providing regular reminders and updates whenever you make a major difference for a nonprofit. 

By following these steps, you can design and implement an employee giving program that engages your employees and supports the causes that they care about. This can help your company positively impact your community and enhance your reputation as a socially responsible organization.

Additional Employee Giving Resources

Employee giving programs provide numerous benefits for both employees and the companies that implement them. These programs can increase employee engagement and morale, help companies meet their CSR goals, enhance their reputations, and provide tax savings for both the company and its employees.

Of course, the CSR world is vast, and this overview is just one perspective. To learn more about employee giving before launching your own program, read a few of our favorite resources: 

Create a better matching gifts process for employees. Discover if your CSR software has auto-submission functionality. Contact Double the Donation.
This glossary entry will cover the basics of nonprofit donor relations.

An Overview of Donor Relations – Nonprofit Catalog

Donors power your nonprofit’s work. Without them, you could never deliver your mission to your beneficiaries. And yet some nonprofits make the mistake of viewing their donors as blank checks instead of people. This can be detrimental to your nonprofit’s efforts to fundraise and grow its community.

That’s why focusing on donor relations is so critical for nonprofits—strengthened donor relationships empower you to accomplish your goals and connect with other people who are passionate about your cause and can offer sustained support for your work.

What Is Donor Relations?

Donor relations consists of all the efforts that a nonprofit organization puts into building relationships with its donors and making them feel seen and valued as people.

Your efforts to cultivate lasting relationships with your donors should begin when you first connect with them, whether through prospecting or the donors’ own moves to get involved with your organization. Then, you can continue to build those relationships so that they last.

Donor Relations vs. Donor Stewardship

Often when talking about donor relations, you’ll hear the term “donor stewardship” come up. This makes sense since the two go hand in hand. But there are important differences to note:

  • Donor relations: This relates to how you treat donors and how they perceive your organization.
  • Donor stewardship: Donor stewardship is a form of donor relations that is more specifically employed to express gratitude for gifts and maintain and grow relationships with donors with the goal of them continuing to give in the future.

In other words, donor relations focuses on donors themselves, while its subset, donor stewardship, focuses on donors’ gifts. Both are a critical part of a sustainable and successful fundraising strategy.

Why Should Nonprofits Focus on Donor Relations?

Focusing on donor relations requires an investment of your nonprofit’s time and resources. But doing so can pay dividends as you experience the following benefits:

  • Increased giving and involvement: Better donor relations leads to higher donor retention rates, which can result in more donations over time, as well as other forms of involvement like volunteering, event attendance, and board service.
  • More information about your organization’s community and its needs: The better you get to know your donors, the better you’ll understand your organization’s community and what it needs from you to assist you in delivering your mission.
  • Stronger reputation for your organization: When you treat your donors well, word gets around, strengthening your image as an organization that cares about people and making positive change in the world.

In addition to these benefits, focusing on donor relations just makes logical and financial sense. Some nonprofits are misguided in thinking that skipping crucial opportunities to boost donor relations is the easy way out. In reality, constantly having to acquire new donors and supporters can be more costly and difficult than investing in your relationships with those who are already contributing to your cause.

6 Tips for Strengthening Donor Relationships

Now that you know the basics of donor relations, you’re likely ready to start strengthening the relationships you have with your donors. Here are six tips for doing so:

This is a list of tips for strengthening donor relationships.
  1. Lay a solid foundation by conducting thorough prospect research. Prospect research empowers you to learn about your donors before they actually become donors. Through this process, you learn as much as you can about potential donors’ capacity to give and their affinity for your cause, which can guide you in the relationship-building process.
  2. Get to know your donors. Prospect research won’t be able to tell you everything about your donors. You’ll need to regularly meet with your donors, having an open mind and listening ear, to really get to know them as people.
  3. Work with a nonprofit consultant to fine-tune your strategy. Sometimes it can be helpful to work with an outside expert to fine-tune your approach to fundraising and donor relations. Consider working with a nonprofit consultant who can take an objective look at your current approach and help you implement sustainable improvements.
  4. Communicate often. Just like any relationship in life, staying in touch will be a crucial part of remaining connected to your donors. Reach out often, whether you’re making regular phone calls or chatting over coffee.
  5. Invite donors to further their involvement in your cause. Donating isn’t the only value donors can give to your cause. Let them know about opportunities to volunteer, attend events, or even serve on your board. Better yet, keep an eye out for opportunities that align with their values and interests so that they’ll be more inclined to jump in.
  6. Genuinely thank your donors. Any time a donor gives, whether they’re contributing time, money, or feedback, make sure to thank them. A small thank-you can go a long way in helping you maintain and strengthen donor relationships.

Donor relations is a critical focus area for nonprofits who want to pursue sustained success and future growth. Run with these tips to strengthen your relationships with your donors!

Additional Resources

Nonprofit Catalog – Read up on more nonprofit essentials by exploring our Nonprofit Catalog.

Creating a Capital Campaign Plan: Complete Guide & Template – Donor relations gets a little more complicated with large-scale capital campaigns. Learn how to set yourself up for success by exploring this guide.

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising: Your Nonprofit’s Guide — Peer-to-peer fundraising gives donors the unique opportunity to fundraise on your behalf. Check out how it works!

In this catalog entry, you'll learn all about fundraising campaign websites.

Fundraising Campaign Websites – Nonprofit Catalog

Once your nonprofit has put in all the effort to plan a fundraising campaign, you should spread the word to generate support. A fundraising campaign website is one of the most effective tools in your marketing strategy for catching supporters’ interest and empowering them to give. Let’s explore the basics of campaign websites!

What Is A Fundraising Campaign Website?

A fundraising campaign website hosts all the information your supporters need to get involved with your nonprofit’s campaigns. This website will help you promote your campaign, spread awareness about your cause, and get your supporters involved, whether they’re donating, volunteering, or sharing your organization’s message.

Campaign web pages can be created on your main website, or you can create a separate microsite for each large campaign. Microsites are separate from the main website, with a different URL, so they allow you to really feature the campaign and its related details. Depending on the size of your organization and its campaigns, as well as what you know about your supporters and how they engage with your cause online, this could be a great option for you.

What Are The Elements of a Campaign Website?

For your website to be an effective tool, it will need to include certain elements that create a positive user experience for your supporters. Here are some essentials to include:

This image shows all th elements of a campaign website.
  • An Explanation of Your Mission and Campaign: Every fundraising campaign you run should be closely tied to your organization’s larger mission and purpose. Provide a short explanation of what your organization is all about and how your campaign fits into the context of your cause so that supporters know what they’re contributing to.
  • Your Organization’s Branding: Whether you designed it deliberately or not, your nonprofit has its own unique brand that includes everything from your logo and color scheme to your guiding values. Incorporating your brand on your website can make this marketing tool more consistent with the rest of your organization’s operations and help you look more professional and legitimate.
  • A Donation Form: A well-designed donation form is a crucial part of your fundraising campaign website. After all, this is the tool your supporters will use to act on their passion for your cause and donate to your organization. Keep your form short and simple, with only a few questions that capture essential information (payment details, contact information, etc.). To further optimize your form, offer supporters suggested giving amounts, the option to enroll in your recurring giving program, and the chance to check their matching gift eligibility.
  • A Volunteer Sign-Up Form: Similar to a donation form, a volunteer sign-up form empowers supporters to take action in the name of your cause by donating their time and talents. Again, keep the form short but ask for information that will allow you to pair each individual volunteer with a role that suits their age, abilities, and interests as much as possible. If necessary, ensure you include training or waiver information, too.
  • A Fundraising Thermometer: Your supporters will want to know how close your organization is to meeting its campaign goals, so make sure to include a fundraising thermometer on your website. Feature your thermometer in a prominent place on the site, and update it regularly to encourage your supporters to keep giving until it fills up!
  • Social Media Sharing Icons: Your supporters can serve as ambassadors for your cause and your campaigns by sharing your fundraising campaign website with their personal networks. Make it easy for them to do so by including social media sharing icons in the header or footer of your web pages so they can easily click through to their favorite platforms and share about you!

These elements can all work together to make your campaign website a powerful marketing asset. Depending on the nature of your campaign, you may want to include other features like an event registration form, an advocacy campaign explainer, or an online merchandise store.

4 Fundraising Website Design Best Practices

Including the elements discussed above in your fundraising website will allow you to set up a site that pulls your supporters in. Here are some design best practices to implement to take your site to new heights:

  1. Hone the user experience by prioritizing smooth navigation, writing digestible content, and including high-quality images across the site.
  2. Ensure your website is accessible for people of all abilities by following Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
  3. Optimize your site for mobile so that everything resizes properly and no one has to pinch and zoom to understand your content or use your tools.
  4. Work with a nonprofit website design agency to take the look and feel of your site to the next level!

A well-designed fundraising campaign website that contains all the right elements and information can help your nonprofit succeed in its next fundraising endeavor. Use these tips to get started building your fundraising website today!

Additional Resources

Nonprofit Catalog – Read up on more nonprofit essentials by exploring our Nonprofit Catalog.

Nonprofit Website Builders: The 11+ Best Providers – To make an amazing campaign website, you’ll need the help of a robust website builder. Here are some recommendations.

SEO for Nonprofits: A Complete Guide [+ Optimization Tips] – Search engine optimization (SEO) can help people find your website and campaign pages. Learn how to tap into the power of SEO by reading this guide!