4 Ideas for Nonprofit Workspace Giving Programs

By: Edmund Fosu-Laryea CPA

Barbacane Thornton & Company

An increasingly common thread among workers in nonprofit and for-profit companies is their desire to participate in community service. In general, staffers of the 21st century are inclined to give. According to Classy, an online fundraising software creator,

  • 63% of young GenXers and Millennials prefer to work for companies that support social causes, and
  • 54% of employees who take pride in their organization’s contribution to society feel engaged in their position.

The warm glow of giving shines exceptionally bright amongst millennials. According to a Deloitte study, 70% of millennials strongly favor companies committed to the community. The same study reported that 55% of millennial workers felt proud to work for companies that frequently volunteer. With millennials making up the largest segment in the workforce, these statistics should influence your decision to implement a workplace giving program, especially in the nonprofit sector.

It is tempting to see nonprofit work as inherently charitable. However, the truth is, nonprofit organizations are the most qualified to model effective workplace giving programs. And their workers? They are naturally eager as beavers in most cases.

Workplace giving firm, YourCause recently released its annual report, Industry Review: Employee Engagement and Corporate Social Responsibility. The findings highlight a few robust strategies to help organizations reach high levels of employee participation while offering professional development benefits. The following four trends are quickly becoming best practices because of their proven effectiveness.

  1. Mix and Match Opportunities

Offering a combination of giving opportunities yields a higher rate of participation. Consider creating a menu of options from the ideas below:

  • Volunteer Time Off (VTO)
  • Pro Bono Service / In-kind donations
  • Automatic Payroll Deductions (offer a variety of options)
  • Matching Gift Programs
  • Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Challenges
  • Events (charity sporting events/fundraisers/networking events)
  • Seasonal or Holiday Campaigns (Giving Tuesday/Martin Luther King Day)
  • Disaster Relief Partnerships
  1. Year-Long Campaigns

According to YourCause, calendar-year giving programs result in more dollars donated per employee. Perhaps it is because people appreciate having control over their decisions to give. By running a year-long campaign, you can tap givers that need to align giving with their budgets. You may also appeal to those who value their free agency.  As you plan your year-long campaign, take a cue from short-term campaign strategies to boost engagement. Keep the campaign front and center by increasing communications, providing regular updates throughout the year, and hosting semi-annual or quarterly events.

  1. Make it Easy, Make it Plastic

Cash is king, but plastic is elastic. When organizations offer employees the flexibility of giving via credit card, they often see higher levels of giving. Organizations that go a step further to cover credit card processing fees see even higher levels of engagement. The pièce de résistance in plastic giving, however, are “cause cards,” a unique offering from CSR platforms like YourCause. Card programs vary; however, they are always a type of giving grant. In other words, the organization provides funds on the cards for its employee to designate to the charity of their choice. The company can allocate cards for employee rewards or campaign participation. Ultimately, “cause cards” incentivize volunteer participation and provide a unique tax credit for the organization.

 Don’t Forget Your Retirees

According to the YourCause report, retirees contributed almost 4.5 times more dollars and logged nearly eight times as many volunteer hours than full-time employees. Don’t neglect to reach out to your retirees when running a campaign. This untapped segment is a secret weapon for a few reasons. First, retirees generally have the bandwidth to show up. Second, giving is usually written into their retirement plan. Third, our mature counterparts see the value of service in a way we can’t, partially due to their broader perspective. When they return to support a campaign, their participation is nothing short of inspirational.

Nonprofit organizations are missing a huge opportunity when it comes to leveraging the benefits of workplace giving programs. It is time to start looking at the ways workplace giving and volunteer programs can enhance employee engagement and satisfaction, and boost your nonprofit’s brand and effectiveness. If you’d like to read the YourCause report, visit https://solutions.yourcause.com.