Did you know that, despite $2-3 billion dollars being donated through corporate matching gift programs each year, more than $4-7 billion in available match revenue goes unclaimed?
Matching gifts are just one example of a workplace giving program, which itself is a smaller subcategory of corporate philanthropy as a whole. Workplace giving programs are a mutually beneficial form of giving that involves nonprofits and their donors as well as for-profit businesses and their employees. Yet as a nonprofit fundraiser, there’s likely more you can do to use these giving programs to your most significant advantage.
In this quick guide, we’ll answer the following key questions that will lead you in the right direction (i.e., toward effectively utilizing workplace giving initiatives):
- What is workplace giving?
- Why is workplace giving important to nonprofits?
- How can we market workplace giving opportunities to donors?
Ready to learn more about workplace giving, its benefits, and how to get your donors involved? Let’s begin.
What is workplace giving?
As previously stated, workplace giving (also referred to as employee giving) is a unique form of corporate philanthropy. One of the most significant identifying characteristics of workplace giving is the central position that individual employees play in utilizing these giving programs.
Although the types of workplace giving initiatives are endless, check out a few of the most common programs:
- Corporate matching gifts
- Volunteer grants
- Group volunteerism
- Employee giving grants
- Payroll deductions
- Annual giving campaigns
Each of the above workplace giving programs is a powerful corporate giving opportunity in which a company’s employees play a significant role. Without employee participation, none of these workplace giving initiatives would be possible.
Why is workplace giving important to nonprofits?
Workplace giving initiatives positively impact each party involved—including employee donors, companies they work for, nonprofits receiving the funds, and constituents benefitting from the nonprofits’ services.
Here are a few key reasons why these employee giving programs matter to nonprofits in particular:
- Additional fundraising revenue
- Increased donor opportunities for heightened supporter engagement
- Strengthened corporate partnerships
- Reallocated resources toward mission tasks
But remember, without your donors playing a role in their employers’ available workplace giving opportunities, your organization will not be able to reap the benefits of those corporate philanthropy initiatives.
How can we market workplace giving opportunities to donors?
Many companies offer generous and impactful workplace giving opportunities. Unfortunately, these initiatives are often significantly underutilized—in part due to a lack of promotion on the companies’ end.
Therefore, nonprofits everywhere are looking to market corporate giving programs on their own. If you’re interested in upping your own organization’s efforts, we’ll explore a few tried and tested best promotional strategies below!
1. Educate donors about workplace giving in general.
Millions of people qualify to participate in their employers’ giving initiatives, yet the vast majority of these individuals are uninformed about the programs themselves, let alone their eligibility. The first step to overcome this challenge is prioritizing donor education as a whole.
Consider these best practices for informing your entire audience about workplace giving:
- Incorporate workplace giving resources across your nonprofit website, including on your “ways to give” page, a dedicated corporate giving/company matching page, the navigation menu, and more.
- Share information on workplace giving and matching gifts through your organization’s social media channels—e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.
- Highlight workplace giving directly within your online donation experience by mentioning matching gifts in your online donation form and gift confirmation screen.
The more your nonprofit’s supporters are exposed to the concepts behind workplace giving, the more familiar they’ll feel with the idea, and the more likely they will participate upon determining their eligibility.
2. Follow up with donors who are likely eligible to participate.
After donors give (or volunteer, etc.), you still have an opportunity to encourage their participation in qualifying workplace giving programs. One of the best ways to do so is with post-engagement follow-up emails.
As you send your follow-up messages, consider these tips and steps for optimizing your communication results:
- Address the supporter by name.
- Thank the individual for their initial contribution of time or funds.
- Share company-specific workplace giving information with the supporter (e.g., matching gift minimums and maximums, volunteer grant thresholds, qualifying nonprofits, etc.).
- Direct the supporter toward their company’s workplace giving submission process, ideally with direct links to online portals or forms.
- Encourage the supporter to take the next steps required in their company’s workplace giving process.
- Ask the supporter to keep your organization in the loop through the request process by indicating when they’ve completed their end of the submission.
And if that seems like an involved communication process, your organization can easily automate donor and volunteer follow-ups with top corporate giving software. This will save more of your team’s time that can be reallocated toward other critical fundraising and mission tasks.
At the same time, you can also ensure each potential matching donor is followed up with the right messages at the right time without having to worry about prospects slipping through the cracks.
3. Communicate the significant mission impact of workplace giving.
Most donors are motivated to give based on the impact they see their dollars making on a cause they care about. The same concepts can be applied when you’re looking to drive workplace participation. By highlighting increased mission impact, you can encourage more volunteers and donors to play their part in their employers’ giving programs.
One great way to do so is by leveraging your previously collected workplace giving data.
Picture this: Your organization had collected $15,000 in matching gift funds the year before. You calculated that your match revenue alone resulted in meals for more than 3,000 families. By communicating that real, tangible impact to your prospective matching gift donors, you can highlight the significant advantages that workplace giving participation has had on your mission in the past.
Or on a more personal level, you can also drive matching gifts by communicating the increased mission impact that a particular donor’s corporate match could bring.
For example, say a match-eligible donor made a gift of $500 toward your organization. To encourage them to pursue a match, you can explain exactly what turning that donation into one of $1,000 value can do—such as save 100 more puppies, feed 500 more kids, or whatever that money would translate to in terms of your particular cause.
Workplace giving has the ability to bring a nonprofit’s fundraising and donor engagement strategies up several levels. But to benefit from these programs at their highest potential, employee donors must be willing and eager to partake.
So, keep the spotlight on your donors—highlight companies’ available programs, encourage supporters to participate, and be sure to thank individuals for doing so. Good luck!