5 Best Workplace Giving Programs to Engage Employees

There are many ways that for-profit businesses can support charitable causes through various forms of corporate philanthropy. Common examples include grantmaking, in-kind donations, and company-wide days of service. And we certainly don’t want to forget about workplace giving! Workplace giving initiatives differ from typical corporate philanthropy efforts in that individual employees take the driver’s seat, as opposed to the corporations themselves.

Unfortunately, many organizations fail to utilize workplace giving to its highest potential, meaning billions of available dollars are left on the table each year. 

In this guide, we’ll discuss a few of our favorite kinds of workplace giving programs, how they are uniquely positioned to engage employees, and how corporate social responsibility (CSR) software can help scale your efforts. These include: 

  1. Matching gifts.
  2. Dollars for Doers (D4D).
  3. Charitable Spending Accounts (CSAs). 
  4. Payroll deductions.
  5. Seasonal giving campaigns.

Beyond doing good and supporting your nonprofit partners, workplace giving programs are proven to have multiple benefits for your business. From driving employee engagement and boosting retention to offering name recognition and supporting brand loyalty, there’s no shortage of reasons why you should invest! 

Ready to learn more about our five favorite types of programs? Let’s dive in!


1. Matching Gifts

Matching gifts (also known as employer, company, or corporate gift matching) is one of the most common examples of workplace giving programs across the thousands of charitable-minded businesses that participate. Here’s how it works:

  1. The matching gift journey begins when an individual donor makes a monetary contribution to a nonprofit of their choice. This contribution can be made directly to the nonprofit’s fundraising page or through a corporate giving platform. Before, during, or after the donation process, donors are encouraged to research whether their employer offers a matching gift program (and, if so, whether their gift would be eligible).

  2. Upon determining that their employer does match nonprofit donations, the individual donor submits an online matching application to the company. This match request likely includes basic details about the nonprofit receiving the donation (such as contact information and the employer identification number) as well as a copy of the initial donation receipt.

  3. The company then reviews the request, ensures the gift falls within its eligibility guidelines, verifies the initial donation made with the organization, and submits its matching gift. Then⁠—voilà⁠—two donations in one! 

As an employee, check to see if your company leverages a CSR software (like CyberGrants!) If so, you can use the software to easily search for eligible nonprofits, check if a match is offered, and track your impact through a personalized profile. 

As an employer, implementing CSR software can reduce your administrative burden by automating matching gift approvals and routing payments. Matching gift programs are also a great way to double the impact of your employees’ efforts, demonstrate you acknowledge and appreciate their generosity, and show that you care about causes that your employees are passionate about.


2. Dollars for Doers (D4D) 

Similar to matching gifts, Dollars for Doers programs offer a workplace giving opportunity in which companies increase the value of their employees' support. Rather than doubling monetary donations, though, Dollars for Doers provide funding to organizations their employees volunteer at regularly.

Wondering how you can implement this kind of initiative at your organization? A Dollars for Doers program generally follows six steps: 

  1. An employee gives back to a nonprofit or cause of their choosing. 
  2. Afterward, the employee logs their “actions” within their employee giving portal. 
  3. Next, the employee submits a request for a Dollars for Doers grant. 
  4. Once the action and nonprofit have been verified, the employer makes a donation to the select nonprofit.
  5. Then, the employer can calculate the total “impact” based on the action and the match amount. 
  6. Finally, the employer can share impact numbers internally and publicly and encourage employees to share on social channels. 

As an employer, listen to your workforce and figure out where they’re allocating their time and energy. Do they align themselves with current events? Respond to disasters or crises? Give back to community-based organizations? Once you’ve identified those causes, you’ve got the perfect opportunity to implement a Dollars for Doers program and show your employees you care about causes that matter to them. 

Next, it's time to define your guiding principles with the following questions: 

  • Is there a minimum number of volunteer hours required to be eligible for a Dollars for Doers grant? 
  • What are the grant amounts per volunteer hour or per threshold passed? 
  • Can action-based giving like donating blood or receiving a booster shot be considered?
  • Which employees are eligible (e.g., full-time vs. part-time)?

Once you’ve outlined the causes you’ll support (e.g., health and human services, arts and culture, disaster relief, etc.) and developed eligibility guidelines, it's time to implement the program and market the opportunity to your workforce. This is where a CSR solution comes in handy! When you partner with a CSR software provider, you can highlight featured programs on your dashboard to spread awareness and ensure information is easily accessible to participants. Your employees can also share photos from their volunteer events to inspire others to get involved. 


3. Charitable Spending Accounts 

When it comes to employee giving, matching programs and Dollars for Doers are tried and true. But while many employees are able to take advantage of this benefit, not everyone can make a monetary donation or use personal time to give back. As a result, employers have begun to embrace more accessible and flexible ways to engage employees. For many, the easiest way to offer more equitable programming is through a charitable spending account. 

Charitable spending accounts are a unique form of workplace giving in which eligible employees receive a particular dollar amount each year, which can be donated to a nonprofit organization of their choice. Your company can select the budget ($25, $50, $100, etc.) and the time frame (per month or year), but the rest is up to your employees! They can make a donation where and when they want, creating a sense of immediacy. 

And when these programs are hosted and managed using CSR software, you remove the need to request a match, and donations are recorded immediately, making it easy to give. The efficiency and simplicity of these programs can help to build a more confident, robust, and recurring donor base at your company.


4. Payroll Deductions

The following two program types vary from the examples mentioned above because the employee, rather than the company, is the one who provides the funding.

With payroll deductions, employees are given the opportunity to withhold a predetermined dollar amount from each paycheck they receive. This amount is then routed  to a nonprofit that the employee has selected from a list of company-approved organizations.

For employees, this makes giving a no-brainer! Once they set up the paycheck deduction, the rest happens automatically, offering them an easy and tax-effective way to make a monetary donation. For nonprofits, payroll donations enable reliable and regular donations, which gives them an idea of how to plan ahead with their budget. Recurring donations also provide increased stability during fundraising ebbs and flows.


5. Seasonal Giving Campaigns

Another way companies choose to support charitable organizations is through seasonal giving campaigns. Many organizations host seasonal giving campaigns during the months of October through December (otherwise known as the “giving season”) and align employee giving programs with well-known days like Giving Tuesday.

But don’t limit yourself to just one season! There are dozens of holidays and awareness months throughout the year that your organization can celebrate through a workplace giving campaign. Not sure how to get started? Here’s some inspiration from a CyberGrants customer

In 2021, one large retailer hosted an online matching program on MLK Day for their U.S. brick-and-mortar locations, brand associates, customers, and the general public. Together, their associates and customers raised more than $6.5 million through the giving program.

When asked why they hosted this program, they gave two responses: “Our associates and customers are very passionate about supporting local nonprofits and national organizations that help address causes important to them. Additionally, we wanted to support the generosity of our associates and our customers, especially at a time when so many organizations needed additional resources due to COVID-19.”

Not only did this retailer scale its impact, but it also created brand awareness and engagement beyond what they expected. 

Consider aligning your next corporate giving campaign with upcoming events like Earth Day, Pride Month, or National Nonprofit Day. This is a great way to engage your workforce in point-in-time giving and encourage a year-round approach to philanthropy. 


Scale Your Programs With CSR Software

Corporate philanthropy initiatives are an excellent way to reap business benefits like employee engagement and brand loyalty while supporting nonprofits that deliver meaningful services to individuals and communities in need. Unfortunately, while the programs listed in this article are great on paper, program implementation, management, and reporting are often easier said than done. That’s why leading businesses partner with a CSR software provider to alleviate the administrative burden and streamline and simplify their processes.

See how CyberGrants can help by scheduling a free demo today!

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