Creating a successful employee giving program – A 2021 Guide

Stéphanie Grawehr September 13, 2021

What is an employee giving program? Types of employee giving Benefits of employee giving Examples of employee giving programs Implementing a successful employee giving program Employee giving program FAQs

Creating an employee giving program can be a great way for your employees to feel proud of the business they work for. Some of the top companies have a workplace giving program—anything from delivering support for nonprofits to engaging with the local community.

As an employer, you are leading by example. In this article, you’ll get a better understanding of what this type of program is and how you can bring this new program into your organization effectively.

What is an employee giving program?

Employee giving programs (or corporate philanthropy programs) are an opportunity for companies to help engage their employees in small acts of kindness that can contribute to major change and impact.

A workplace giving program can be anything from making tax-deductible donations to charities of their choice to utilizing funds made available by the business for volunteer grants.

What are the 6 types of employee giving?

So what types of workplace giving are incorporated into a workplace giving program? Below are five examples of corporate giving that you can offer to your employees.

1. Employee donation matching

Many within the company’s workforce might want to make employee donations towards a worthy cause. With employee donation matching, the employer matches the cash donations that the employee is contributing.

By an employer providing a matching gift, it creates a larger impact for those nonprofit organizations or recipients of the donation.

If using Alaya, the donations can be made through automatic payroll deductions. Employees can set these donations up in a few clicks and leave them running as long as they wish. 

There’s usually a cap on the amount the business will match per employee. Ultimately, the nonprofit or charity receives 2x/3x/4x as many donations through this type of corporate giving. This initiative helps donations, little or large, go that much further. It assures employees that no matter what they’re giving, they’re making a difference. 

2. Gifting or in-kind donations

Charitable giving doesn’t need to be just about donating money. In fact, there are some charitable organizations out there that would benefit further from material possessions such as clothing, food, and medical supplies.

Other employees that might not have the money to do donation matching can help this way. It’s important never to assume that everyone can give money when donating. For some, it might not be possible.

Encourage employees to give gifts or in-kind donations—it all helps towards the charity or nonprofit organizations of your choice.

3. Employee do-good grants

Employees can participate in other areas of workplace giving programs, like being recognized for employee grants.

Employee grants can be ways in which your company rewards or supports its employees as donors. Instead of the employee receiving a financial reward, they can allocate it to a nonprofit. In this case, employees don’t apply for the grant, but their hard work is recognized and they’re rewarded with it. 

They don’t need to be volunteering for a particular non-profit for this grant, they just need to be promoting volunteerism within the workplace and contributing to events and campaigns where they can—be it with their time, in-kind donations, or something else.

It’s a great way for employees to share their success and still make an impact with their work—even if they’re not in a position to donate cash or gifts themselves. It also encourages employees to do good in the workplace more regularly. 

4. Employee volunteer grants

Employee volunteer grants are something that your employees need to apply for. There are two types of employee volunteer grants:

5. Grants for volunteering expenses

An employee applies for a grant to help support any volunteer opportunities that they wish to participate in.

Many companies will offer costs for travel, on-site meals, and any other general costs related to volunteer grant programs.

6. Dollars for doers

Employees will receive a financial grant depending on the number of hours they’ve committed to their chosen cause—whether a nonprofit or the local community.

Volunteers are always welcome with eligible nonprofits that need an extra hand or two. It’s also a great way to provide volunteers that want to do it independently because they don’t have the timetable to line up with group organized activities.

What are the benefits of employee giving?

Well, where to begin?

The benefits aren’t only great for your company as donors, they’re also great for your employees and the community they serve. If you want to start an employee giving scheme, here are some benefits worth knowing to help you win buy-in from key stakeholders.

Increase in employee engagement

Employee giving initiatives can enable your employees to go the extra mile with the donation or services they provide.

It can also help employee engagement when they know they have an employer who expresses their culture through corporate social responsibility.

Trust in businesses grows after the pandemic
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Businesses and leaders need to build trust with their employees if they hope to increase engagement. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, businesses are now the most trusted institution, and 86% of employees expect CEOs to speak and act on societal issues. 

Employee giving programs showcase your business’s efforts and fulfill that ever-growing employer-employee relationship.

Employer branding

Corporate philanthropy is one that often bodes well for businesses, especially when it comes to branding.

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Fundraising and providing resources for employees to make an impact with nonprofit companies and other charitable causes is impressionable. It’s always useful to spend some time working on your brand image.

Aligning your company’s values with your employees can do great things for your business and how people view you as employers within your niche.

Investment potential

Many customers are looking for companies leading and providing change for the good of society and the world in general.

By supporting nonprofits, fundraising, and actively engaging in corporate giving, there’s an ROI in the form of new customers and investment opportunities. Larry Fink of BlackRock (one of the most influential investors globally—BlackRock manages over $6 trillion in investments) affirmed this when he said: “Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose.” 

This investment potential can be beneficial from an employee perspective too. Whether it’s a matching gift or providing a volunteer grant, it all contributes to their presence within the business. 

3 examples of top employee giving programs

There have been many examples of successful corporate giving programs. Take inspiration from these corporate giving providers when creating your own program.

  1. Google’s Matching Gifts Program

Google has a fantastic employee matching program in place where they’ll match up to $10,000 1:1 for every employee! Eligibility covers full-time, part-time employees, as well as board members. 

Google’s employee matching policy covers donations for most non-profits, including educational institutions, health and human services, arts, cultural, civic, community, and environmental organizations. 

Plus, the slate is wiped clean each calendar year. So, if someone wants to make another donation another year, that’s matched too. 

  1. ADM’s Dollars for Doers program

In 2020, alongside various other employee giving initiatives, ADM’s Dollars for Doers program helped provide COVID-related emergency support to over 10 million people, helped over 6 million students, and donate over 389 million meals across the globe. 

ADM Cares aligns with the company’s business strategies and sustainability objectives while helping global vulnerable communities and providing employees with a greater purpose.  

  1. Bank of America’s gift matching program

Bank of America’s commitment to building a business giving through monetary gifts and volunteering is apparent. 

They help their employees to contribute and conduct fundraising initiatives for the causes they care about—then they double their impact with donation matching.

They’ve provided more than $25 million in matching gift contributions and were honored in 2018 for being one of the Best Workplaces for Giving Back by Fortune.

Implementing a successful employee giving program

So, how do you go about implementing a program for your business? Never fear; we’ve got you covered with a step-by-step guide below.

  1. Start with funding

Firstly, you’re going to want to create the foundations for these programs, which means setting a budget. Think about your company’s values and how much you’re willing and able to allocate to this part of the business.

Speak to board members where appropriate and ensure everyone in senior leadership is happy to be on board and participating actively themselves. You may need to work at getting company buy-in.

  1. Recruit those who are interested

There are plenty of employee volunteers willing to get stuck in, and other employees may simply want to make matching gifts each month. Approach your employees and generate interest in the programs you’re offering. 

Spending time to find the right individuals can help lead to more success for your company program. These individuals can later help you campaign the initiative and act as volunteer ambassadors within their respective departments.

  1. Create a plan

Next comes the plan for your program. A defined timeline is important, and certain campaigns may be more effectively done in a shorter time or conducted over a long period. Keep in mind the time of year you’re launching your giving program as well, don’t let it get lost in seasonal hype. 

Get your employees to give within your respective timeline to maximize your efforts and success of the fundraising or volunteer opportunities you’re providing. If you make an impact fast, your campaign will pick up traction and only snowball into great things. 

  1. Launch your corporate giving program

When it comes to the launch phase, be sure to have clear objectives set and that you’ve involved the right individuals and teams.

Having a network of local champions can be helpful to ensure your program is aligned to the culture around you and that your teams are aware of what’s going on. That way, your employees can support the program in the right way, and it will save you time answering questions!

If you have a digital platform for your program, then you may want to customize it to fit your needs as an organization. 

Plan any launch activities ahead of time so that you can launch your program with a real bang.

These activities can include:

  • Workshops to introduce the program to those involved and those interested in contributing further down the line
  • Video teasers to get your employees and ambassadors excited about what’s to come
  • A company-wide newsletter or announcement
  • Company-wide donations and material collections to kickstart it all

A platform for employee giving

Companies like yours can benefit from using a tool like Alaya when it comes to programs like this. It can help you choose from various employee giving options that bring purpose and provide employees with more resources to make an impact.

Our corporate giving software and corporate giving platform can help with your efforts towards helping the community and meeting corporate social responsibility goals.

Need a little more convincing? Why not get a demo so that our experts can show you the ropes? Alaya is a great tool that will help build the corporate culture you desire.

Employee Giving FAQs

What is a corporate giving program?

It’s an initiative that encourages workers to give back to their community and nonprofit organizations they care about. These corporate giving programs are doing wonders to support those in need. 

How to incentivize employees to donate?

Some tips to incentivize employees to donate are: Providing rewards based on engagement with initiatives, highlighting the benefits of getting involved, and setting and sharing goals catered to world issues.

How do you ask an employee for donations?

Find causes that employees care about and make donating as easy as possible, like automatic pay deductions. Rewards are a great way to incentivize employees to donate.
Reiterate the benefits of helping those less fortunate, and employees will likely be more inclined to donate.

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