Complete Guide to Donor-Advised Funds

Donor-advised funds (DAFs) are a type of charitable giving vehicle that allow individuals, families, and organizations to make a charitable contribution, receive an immediate tax deduction, and then recommend grants to charitable organizations over time. 

DAFs have grown in popularity in recent years as a way for donors to simplify their charitable giving and make a greater impact.

While DAFs were previously only available to the wealthy, Groundswell makes the benefits of a donor-advised fund accessible to everyone.

In this article, we provide a complete guide to donor-advised funds, including how they work, their benefits and drawbacks, and how to set one up.

How Do Donor-Advised Funds Work?

When a donor makes a contribution to a DAF, the funds are invested and managed by a sponsoring organization.

The donor receives an immediate tax deduction for the contribution, and can then recommend grants to charitable organizations at any time. The sponsoring organization is responsible for managing the DAF and distributing the grants as directed by the donor.

One of the main benefits of DAFs is that they allow donors to make a charitable contribution and receive an immediate tax deduction, even if they are not ready to decide which charities to support.

This can be especially useful for donors who want to make a charitable gift but are not sure which organizations to support, or for donors who want to spread their charitable giving out over time.

Learn the difference between a private foundation and a donor-advised fund

Benefits of Donor-Advised Funds

There are several benefits to using a DAF for charitable giving, including:

Simplicity: DAFs are a simple way to make charitable contributions, as donors can make a single contribution to the DAF and then recommend grants to multiple charities over time.

Immediate Tax Deduction: Donors can receive an immediate tax deduction for their contribution to a DAF, even if they are not ready to recommend grants to charitable organizations.

Professional Management: DAFs are managed by a sponsoring organization, which means that donors do not have to worry about managing the investment of the funds or distributing the grants.

Flexibility: Donors can recommend grants to any IRS-qualified charitable organization, and can change the organizations they support at any time.

Anonymity: Donors can remain anonymous when making a contribution to a DAF or recommending a grant, if they choose.

How to set up a donor-advised fund

Setting up a donor-advised fund (DAF) is a simple process that can typically be done online in a few easy steps:

Choose a sponsoring organization: There are many different organizations that sponsor DAFs, including community foundations, financial institutions, and charitable organizations. It is important to choose a reputable organization that aligns with the donor’s charitable goals.

Groundswell is a flexible choice for small to enterprise-sized businesses looking to provide a charitable giving platform for its employees.

Learn to open a DAF account with Groundswell.

Make a contribution: The donor can make a contribution to the DAF using cash, securities, or other assets. The donor will receive an immediate tax deduction for the contribution.

Recommend grants: The donor can recommend grants to charitable organizations at any time, either online or by contacting the sponsoring organization.

Monitor the DAF: The donor can monitor the activity of their DAF and recommend additional grants as desired.

Donor-Advised Fund Tax Deduction Information

One of the main benefits of donor-advised funds (DAFs) is that they allow donors to receive an immediate tax deduction for their charitable contributions. The tax deduction for DAFs is generally the same as it would be for a charitable contribution made directly to a charitable organization.

To be eligible for a tax deduction, the donor must itemize their deductions on their tax return and the contribution must be made to a qualified charitable organization. Contributions to a DAF are tax-deductible in the year that they are made, even if the donor does not recommend any grants from the DAF until a later year.

It is important for donors to keep in mind that there are limits on the amount of charitable contributions that can be deducted each year. 

Limits for charitable contributions that can be deducted for tax year 2022

The limits on the amount of charitable contributions that can be deducted for tax year 2022 depend on the type of organization to which the donation is made and the taxpayer’s filing status.

For tax year 2022, the limits are:

For donations made to public charities and certain private foundations, the limit is generally 60% of the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income (AGI).

For donations of appreciated capital gain property made to public charities and certain private foundations, the limit is generally 30% of AGI.

For donations made to certain private foundations and veterans organizations, the limit is generally 30% of AGI.

For donations of appreciated capital gain property made to certain private foundations, the limit is generally 20% of AGI.

It’s always recommended to check with a tax professional or the IRS to confirm the limits that apply to your specific situation.

It is also important for donors to retain documentation of their contributions to a DAF, as they may be required to provide proof of their charitable contributions in the event of an audit.

A software like Groundswell keeps track of all the important information you need come tax time.

Donor-Advised Funds Distribution Rules

The distribution rules for donor-advised funds vary depending on the specific terms of the fund and the sponsoring organization. In general, however, the following rules apply:

  • Donors must make an irrevocable contribution to the fund in order to participate. This means that the donor cannot change their mind and take the money back after making the contribution.
  • Donors can recommend how their contributions are invested and how the earnings are distributed to charitable organizations, but the sponsoring organization ultimately has the discretion to approve or deny the recommendations.
  • Donors cannot receive any personal benefit from the fund, such as the use of donated assets for personal purposes or the receipt of goods or services in exchange for their contribution.
  • Distributions from donor-advised funds must be used for charitable purposes. This means that the funds must be used to benefit a charitable organization or to support a charitable program.
  • Donors must follow all applicable federal and state laws, including laws related to self-dealing and excess benefit transactions.
  • Sponsoring organizations may have additional rules and requirements for donor-advised funds, such as minimum contribution amounts or distribution frequencies. It is important for donors to understand and comply with these rules in order to maintain the tax-advantaged status of their contributions.

How Groundswell Uses the DAF to enable corporate giving programs.

Groundswell is a cooperation giving platform revolutionizing access to DAFs.

Groundswell accounts are powered by donor-advised funds. Groundswell’s DAF infrastructure gives companies and its employees a better, smoother experience when compared with traditional workplace giving programs.

With Groundswell, companies can deposit gifts directly into their employees’ accounts.

Groundswell’s infrastructure also enables privacy and security for employees and employers. Since charitable giving can be deeply personal, adding a level of privacy aids in fostering a corporate culture of generosity and giving.

Learn more about setting up a corporate giving program and DAF with Groundswell.

7 Trending Corporate Social Responsibility Programs People Leaders Should Know in 2023

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a business framework that promises a sustainable outcome for the society it operates in. Businesses that align with CSR best practices operate in an economically, socially, and environmentally conscious way. 

Generally, those practices can include reducing carbon emissions, supporting diversity and inclusion, and engaging in fair labor practices, as well as contributing to local communities and charitable organizations who are making a difference in the world.

The goal of any business that aligns with CSR best practices is to balance the interests of the company with those of the society and environment as a whole.

In recent years, there has been a large growth in the popularity of the number of companies that operate in a socially responsible manner. From this growing trend emerged a handful of programs that resonated especially well with both leaders and employees.

Here are 7 trending corporate social responsibility programs for 2023 that modern companies should consider:

1. Workplace giving and corporate matching programs

Enabling a workplace giving program is the easiest, most time-effective way to launch a campaign that aligns with corporate social responsibility best practices.

A good workplace giving program decentralizes corporate philanthropy and empowers employees to support the causes that mean the most to them, leading to a much more diverse and equitable workplace.

Building a workplace culture around giving often starts with a workplace giving program, making this a popular option for corporations who want to inject strong values into their company workforce.

Learn more about a workplace giving program

2. Support Causes through Local Partnership

Companies can partner with a nonprofit aligned with broader CSR goals as a way of making a social impact in their local community. As companies grow, their impact on local nonprofits gets larger.

Some companies, like Patagonia, start their own nonprofit to tackle the issues that directly affect their business.

Partnering with local causes is a great way to outsource the duties that come with social responsibility. One downside with partnering with local organizations is the limitations on the causes it supports and the diversity that comes with not only acknowledging but also supporting employee interests.

3. Food Drives and Donation Campaigns

Clothing drives, food drives, and other donation campaigns are amazing opportunities for employees to make an impact in someone’s life directly by giving those less fortunate the things they need to survive.

Food drives are perfect campaigns during the seasons people are in most need of aid, such as during winter.

While the popularity of these campaigns often goes up during holiday seasons, food drives and donation campaigns can be held at any time throughout the year.

4. Recycling

Just like with Apple Inc.’s recycling campaign that we mentioned earlier, companies that find a way to recycle and repurpose used materials often serve the secondary purpose of aligning themselves with a great corporate social responsibility program.

Recycling campaigns and programs not only help the environment, it can help a business’s bottom line, too.

5. Environmental

Programs that focus on preserving earth’s natural resources are excellent options for building a CSR campaign around. That’s because environmental issues affect everyone.

Companies making an effort to defend nature are making earth a better place for future generations to do business.

6. Social Impact

Causes that include fighting homelessness, offering aid to the less fortunate, or making an impact in the local community all fall under “social impact.”

These initiatives focus on helping people in one way or another, whether that’s by providing support through longer-term programs around education, job readiness, mentorship, etc, for people in need of immediate aid or assistance, through food banks, shelteres, and medical clinics.

7. Volunteer Programs

Volunteer programs are a great way to improve employee morale while providing a public service. 

Volunteer programs have historically seen much more participation rates when compared to other CSR programs.

The WSJ reports “targeted do-good efforts such as volunteering attracts nearly triple the participation rate compared to activities without such incentives.”

Read why corporate donating is often the better choice instead of volunteering.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a way to become more socially responsible as a company, consider one of these seven trending corporate social responsibility programs options.

Groundswell is an affordable workplace giving program built for the modern business. We give organizations the infrastructure and tools to make it easy to empower employees to support the causes they care about during moments that matter most.

Subscribe to our newsletter and reach out to our team to learn more about Groundswell.io.

Spotlight: Polaris Project

The Polaris Project is a nonprofit organization that works to combat human trafficking and modern-day slavery.

They operate both domestically and internationally, and their efforts include preventing trafficking, protecting victims, and pursuing traffickers through a variety of means such as public awareness campaigns, policy advocacy, and direct services for victims.

The organization was founded in 2002, and is based in Washington, D.C. They are known for their National Human Trafficking Hotline which provides a 24-hour toll-free hotline for victims of human trafficking and the public to report tips and receive services.

Combat human trafficking and modern day slavery

The Polaris Project has accomplished a number of things in its efforts to combat human trafficking and modern-day slavery:

  • Operating the National Human Trafficking Hotline, which has received over 500,000 calls and identified over 25,000 potential human trafficking cases since 2007.
  • Developing and implementing the “BeFree” textline, which allows victims of human trafficking to reach out for help discreetly.
  • Advocating for stronger state and federal laws to combat human trafficking, and assisting in the drafting and passage of several pieces of legislation.
  • Providing direct services to victims of human trafficking through their U.S.-based trafficking shelters and community-based services.
  • Creating and maintaining the Human Trafficking Knowledge Portal, an online resource center for anti-trafficking professionals and the general public.

Polaris Project has been recognized for their work on human trafficking and has received several awards and honors over the years, including the State Department’s Hero Acting to End Modern-Day Slavery award, and the Presidential Award for Extraordinary Efforts to Combat Trafficking in Persons from the White House.

Donate to Polaris Project on Groundswell.

6 Strategies on How to Engage Remote Employees

A mere 6% of Americans worked mostly from home in 2019. By 2021, that number had tripled according to the American Community Survey. Depending on who’s talking, that’s good news, right?

On the one hand, employees reported higher productivity, increased morale, and better communication. 

But then there is the reality. Once the honeymoon period is over, how do you engage remote employees to keep them happily employed in your company? Beyond that, how can your company continue to reap the benefits that accrue from a productive remote workforce?

Pew Research reported in 2022 that when the pandemic was over 60% of workers in jobs that can be done remotely say that they would prefer to work from home all or most of the time. On the plus side, they are enjoying a greater work-life balance and feel more capable of getting the job done. Then there’s the 40% who don’t want to work from home, and even for those who do, there are downsides.

The Inherent Risk in the Remote Model

Harvard Business Review reports that while businesses have seized the opportunity to broaden their talent pool and increase their flexibility, there are social risks that companies can’t afford to ignore. 

Among them are increased levels of loneliness, and isolation. Burnout is no small issue, either. Yes, work-from-home employees have greater control over when they work. However, this can be a double-edged sword with today’s always-on technologies. 

In fact, remote employees find themselves working longer and harder without the rewards that come from office camaraderie and over-the-cubicle chats with co-workers. They don’t even have a decompression time afforded by a commute.

When workers feel overworked, this can lead to disengagement. It’s the last thing you want for any employee, but it’s even more detrimental for remote workers since, without that face-to-face contact, it can go undetected. There are fewer opportunities to pick up on the visual cues that employees offer when you ask “how’s it going?” Indeed, remote workers may not feel the same sense of loyalty as they would if they worked in the office. 

Yet, remote work isn’t going to go away. Today, the challenge is how to engage remote employees and keep them productive for the long haul.

Strategies on How to Engage Remote Employees

All employees, whether they are office-based, hybrid, or remote, can benefit from well-designed retention strategies. 

Check out our top 10 here. In addition, your remote workforce may need additional strategies to address issues that, although perhaps not unique to them, impact them more. 

Here are six strategies to ensure that your remote employees stick around.

1. Enforce Sustainable Work Habits

The highly touted increase in productivity was a hallmark of remote work during the pandemic. But this could actually be a warning sign that employees are on the fast track toward burnout. 

A Microsoft survey indicates that in the year following the start of Covid-19, meeting times have increased by 148%, emails by 40.6 billion, and the number of people working on collaborative documents by 66%. 

Sure, some of this frenetic activity has to do with remote work, but “doing stuff” does not always equal greater output. In fact, it could be a sign of inefficiency. At the very least, it’s what happens as workers try to do more to prove their worth by being always on and always available. It may take some creativity, but companies can and should respect and enforce breaks and sensible work habits. GitLab, for example, uses virtual coffee breaks which allow employees to chat together on a video call.  

2. Provide Opportunities to Network

When workers are remote, they may miss out on opportunities to network across the company. Those chance meetings and hallway encounters no longer happen. Consequently, networks are getting smaller and the move toward dismantling silos that we saw in the previous decade is all but disappearing.

Some employees will seek networking opportunities beyond the workplace by joining LinkedIn or alma mater groups, pursuing community and volunteer activities, or even spending time in co-working spaces. Still, it’s important for companies to provide remote teams with more opportunities within the organization to keep them engaged. The company can do this through virtual affinity groups, classes, cross-functional teams, and coordinated volunteer activities in the community. 

3. Make the Physical Office Space More Enticing

Most remote workers need to come into the office from time to time, particularly if they work a hybrid schedule. The office should be an inviting space with plenty of areas for collaboration.

It’s good to include comfortable rest areas and accommodate nursing moms, exercise, power naps, and more. Every office is different, of course, and not every company has expansive facilities, but a facilities planner can help optimize the space and make it a welcoming place.

4. Supercharge Your Onboarding Processes

A lackluster onboarding experience gets remote employees off to a shaky start. In addition to equipment and software, onboarding employees need support using the technology effectively, finding the right resourcing, accessing documents, and understanding the quirks of the culture. 

Don’t assume that just because you have a Gen Z employee, you can plug them into the platform and walk away. While they may fully understand the technology and be fully functional when it comes to performing the job, they may also need the human connection that is missing from a Zoom meeting. 

Find ways to facilitate the establishment of personal relationships in person.

5. Keep the Virtual Doors Wide Open

There are plenty of creative ways to collaborate and work together via technology. Every encounter shouldn’t necessarily be about work. Plan virtual coffee breaks, happy hours, games, birthday celebrations, or even non-work-related classes. 

It’s not just about peer-to-peer contact. Remote employees need to feel included by their managers. This is particularly important when their managers aren’t physically available. 

In-office employees can always talk to their manager even if it’s just a five-minute chat in the hallway. These chance encounters are important because they afford employees and managers an opportunity to connect and air concerns. Make an open-door policy a deliberate and demonstrated part of your communication strategy.

6. Get Interested in Your Employees

It takes very little time and energy to get to know more about other employees. What are their passions? What do they do in their time off? What do they value? What causes do they support? 

When employees know that you’re interested in who they are as people, they feel more engaged and committed to you and to the mission of the company. 

One way to open up a value-based dialogue with employees is by providing a corporate giving platform like Groundswell. 

Groundswell makes it easy for your company to embrace the causes that are important to them. The platform provides a tax-advantaged personal giving account to employees. Your company can contribute matching funds or even sponsor employee volunteers. It establishes charitable giving as an employee benefit, attracting and retaining values-driven talent with a perk that matters. 

To learn more, contact Groundswell.

Nonprofit Organizations Supporting National Mentoring Month

January is National Mentoring Month, a nationally recognized time to spread awareness about the importance of mentoring, and highlight the positive impact it has on people’s lives.

It was established in 2002 by the Harvard School of Public Health and MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, with the support of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Justice.

In addition to raising awareness, this month is also a time to help inspire and motivate people to become mentors, especially for younger generations. And it is a time to create or support existing mentorship programs at companies and other organizations.

There are numerous nonprofits that have programs to encourage mentorship for people of all ages, including those who are underprivileged or at risk. Consider supporting one of these amazing organizations working to provide critical mentorship to those who need it most.

List of Nonprofits for National Mentoring Month

Hidden Genius Project

The Hidden Genius Project is a nonprofit organization based in Oakland, California that aims to empower young men of color through technology, leadership, and entrepreneurship. The organization was founded in 2012 and offers a variety of programs and services, including a technology bootcamp, a leadership development program, and an entrepreneurship incubator.

The goal of the Hidden Genius Project is to help young men of color develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the tech industry and become leaders in their communities.

Women’s Mentoring Network

Women’s Mentoring Network is an organization serving Fairfield County, Connecticut. Their mission is to provide career, educational and personal resources that lead to the economic empowerment of low-income women and their families.

100 Black Men Of America Inc.

100 Black Men of America, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that works to improve the quality of life for African Americans and other underserved communities through programs in education, health and wellness, economic empowerment, and leadership development.

The organization was founded in New York City in 1963 and has chapters in cities throughout the United States.

Some of the programs and initiatives offered by 100 Black Men of America, Inc. include mentorship and leadership development for youth, health screenings and wellness education, financial literacy and economic empowerment workshops, and college preparation and scholarship programs. The organization also advocates for policies and initiatives that promote equity and opportunity for African Americans and other underserved communities. I hope this information is helpful. Let me know if you have any other questions.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) is a non-profit organization that provides one-to-one mentorship programs for children and youth facing adversity. The organization was founded in 1904 and has a network of affiliates located in all 50 states.

BBBSA’s mentorship programs are designed to help young people develop positive relationships, improve their academic and social skills, and achieve their full potential. The organization matches young people, or “Littles,” with adult volunteers, or “Bigs,” based on shared interests and goals. Littles and Bigs participate in activities together, such as spending time outdoors, playing sports, or participating in community service projects.

BBBSA’s programs are designed to be flexible and adaptable to the needs and schedules of Littles and Bigs. The organization offers a variety of mentorship programs to meet the needs of different age groups and populations, including programs for children, teenagers, and young adults.

BBBSA’s mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. I hope this information is helpful. Let me know if you have any other questions.

Anthropos Arts

Anthropos Arts is a nonprofit organization founded to address a need in Austin for high-quality music education for low-income students. Their mission is to connect low-income youth with professional musicians, cultivating confidence, integrity and life-skills through musical instruction and mentorship.

Since inception, Anthropos Arts has provided over 18,000 music lessons, over 100 incredible workshops in Title 1 schools with world- class and Grammy- winning artists, over 150 public student performances and collaborations with world-renowned artists.

HER Resiliency Center

HER Resiliency Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving vulnerable young women ages 18 to 25, regardless of race, class and background, with the support, skills and resources they need to make educated decisions in their life.

The organization works to combat isolation, domestic violence, substance use, homelessness, and sexual exploitation.

Foundation For Choice

Foundation for Choice is a nonprofit organization that promotes choice in education and advocates for policies that give families more control over their children’s education. 

The organization supports a variety of educational options, including traditional public schools, charter schools, private schools, and homeschooling. It believes that all families should have the right to choose the best educational option for their children, and that competition among schools can drive improvements in education. 

Foundation for Choice works to educate the public about the benefits of school choice and to advocate for policies that increase the availability of educational options for families.

GEMS

Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS) is a non-profit organization that provides support to young women and girls who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking. 

GEMS was founded in 1998 by Rachel Lloyd, a survivor of commercial sexual exploitation, with the goal of helping young women and girls escape the cycle of violence, exploitation, and trauma that they have experienced. The organization provides a range of services to its clients, including crisis intervention, counseling, education and vocational training, and legal and advocacy support. 

GEMS also works to raise awareness about the issue of commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking and to advocate for policy and legislative change at the local, state, and national level.

Summer Search

Summer Search is a nonprofit organization that helps low-income high school students develop the skills and confidence they need to succeed in college and beyond. The organization provides students with mentorship, leadership development, and experiential learning opportunities through summer programs and ongoing support throughout high school and college. 

Summer Search helps students discover their passions and potential, and empowers them to make a positive impact in their communities.

Minds Matter Southern California

Minds Matter is a national organization that provides academic enrichment and support to high-achieving, low-income students in order to help them get into college. 

Minds Matter Southern California is a chapter of the national organization, and it serves students in the Southern California region. The organization provides students with a variety of resources, including tutoring, test preparation, and college admissions counseling, to help them succeed in school and prepare for college. It also provides students with the opportunity to participate in college visits, cultural events, and other activities designed to broaden their horizons and help them succeed in the future.

Scholar Match

ScholarMatch is a nonprofit organization that helps students from low-income families find and apply for college scholarships. It was founded in 2010 by Kofi Andoh, a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. 

The organization’s mission is to make college more accessible and affordable for students who might not otherwise have the opportunity to pursue higher education. 

ScholarMatch provides a variety of services to its users, including assistance with finding and applying for scholarships, mentorship, and college readiness resources. It works with high schools, colleges, and community-based organizations to identify talented students who could benefit from its services and to provide them with the support they need to succeed in college and beyond.

Learn more about corporate giving with Groundswell.

Nonprofit Organizations Supporting Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a federal holiday that commemorates the life and legacy of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. 

It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, near the time of King’s birthday on January 15th. 

The holiday was established to honor King’s work in the civil rights movement, which included leading the historic Montgomery bus boycott and delivering his famous “I Have a Dream” speech during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a time to reflect on the progress that has been made in the fight for racial equality and to continue working towards a more just and equitable society. It is also a time to honor the contributions of all those who have worked towards creating a more inclusive and diverse world.

Dr. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, and assassinated on April 4, 1968. 

His legacy continues today, not just through a national holiday but importantly through the work of these nonprofits and countless others that continue to fight for racial equality and justice in America.

List of Nonprofits for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

The King Center

The King Center is a non-profit organization founded by Coretta Scott King in 1968 to perpetuate the legacy and ideals of her husband, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. 

The organization is located in Atlanta, Georgia, and its mission is to promote a more just and peaceful world through nonviolence and education. The King Center is home to the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site and several other landmarks, including the Tomb of Martin Luther King Jr., Freedom Hall, and the King Library and Archives. 

The organization also hosts educational programs and events, such as the Annual King Holiday Observance and Parade, to teach about the Civil Rights Movement and the work of Martin Luther King Jr.

Facing History And Ourselves Inc.

Facing History and Ourselves is a nonprofit organization that provides educational resources and professional development to teachers, students, and community members around the world. It was founded in 1976 and is based in Brookline, Massachusetts. The organization works to engage students in learning about history, particularly the Holocaust, and to encourage them to think critically about issues of racism, prejudice, and social responsibility. Facing History and Ourselves offers a range of resources and programs, including teacher professional development workshops, classroom materials, online courses, and student programs. Its mission is to help people of all ages develop the knowledge, skills, and values they need to be responsible and engaged members of their communities.

NAACP Legal Defense And Educational Fund

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) is a nonprofit organization that works to advance civil rights and racial justice through litigation, advocacy, and education. It was founded in 1940 as the legal arm of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and it has a long history of fighting for the rights of African Americans and other marginalized communities. 

LDF has played a key role in many of the most significant civil rights cases in the United States, including Brown v. Board of Education, which struck down segregation in public schools, and the recent case of Fisher v. University of Texas, which upheld the use of affirmative action in higher education. In addition to its work in the courts, LDF also engages in legislative and policy advocacy, and it runs educational programs to promote civil rights and racial justice.

National Civil Rights Museum

The National Civil Rights Museum is a complex of museums and historic buildings in Memphis, Tennessee, that document the history of the civil rights movement in the United States. The museum is built around the former Lorraine Motel, where civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968. 

The museum is dedicated to preserving the legacy of the civil rights movement and exploring the ongoing struggle for racial equality in the United States. It features exhibits on the history of slavery, segregation, and the civil rights movement, as well as a memorial to Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders. The museum also hosts events, lectures, and educational programs to promote understanding and dialogue about issues of race and civil rights.

Southern Poverty Law Center Inc.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is a nonprofit organization that is based in the United States. It was founded in 1971 by Morris Dees and Joseph J. Levin Jr. The organization is known for its work in monitoring and combating hate groups and other extremist organizations. 

It also promotes civil rights and social justice through legal action, education, and public policy initiatives. The SPLC is based in Montgomery, Alabama and has a number of offices located throughout the United States.

STRIVE

STRIVE is a nonprofit organization and national leader in helping those facing the biggest societal barriers to employment obtain the training and support they need to build careers.

Their flagship program, Career Path, helps students with learning occupational skills and earn certifications that aid in earning employment.

National Black Women’s Justice Institute

The National Black Women’s Justice Institute (NBWJI) is a research and policy organization that focuses on the unique experiences and needs of Black women and girls in the justice system. NBWJI works to eliminate racial and gender disparities in the criminal justice system and promote justice, equity, and healing for Black women and girls. 

Some of the issues that NBWJI focuses on include police violence, mass incarceration, and reproductive justice. The organization conducts research, provides technical assistance and training, and advocates for policy changes at the local, state, and national levels.

Equal Justice Initiative

Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1989 by Bryan Stevenson, a lawyer and social justice advocate. EJI is based in Montgomery, Alabama and works to challenge racial and economic injustice, particularly in the criminal justice system. EJI provides legal representation to people who have been wrongly convicted, unfairly sentenced, or abused in state and federal prisons. 

The organization also works to end mass incarceration, the death penalty, and excessive punishment in the United States. EJI has played a key role in advocating for reforms to the criminal justice system and in raising awareness about the issues it addresses.

Learn more about corporate giving with Groundswell.

Nonprofit Organizations Supporting National Poverty in America Awareness Month

National Poverty in America Awareness Month is observed each January, which aims to recognize the severe conditions of poverty that many live in.

Nearly 40 million Americans are living in poverty, which manifests in different ways, from hunger and malnutrition to limited access to education, healthcare, and unstable housing.

The economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic pushed many Americans into poverty, and many families are having difficulty recovering, especially with the current levels of inflation and volatility in the economy. Many charities that support those in or on the brink of poverty are themselves struggling to keep up with demand, alongside rising prices for food and other basic services.

Explore these nonprofits on the frontlines of the fight to stamp out poverty and consider supporting their important work.

List of Nonprofit for National Poverty in America Awareness Month

Miriam’s Kitchen

Miriam’s Kitchen is a non-profit organization located in Washington D.C. that works to end chronic homelessness by providing meals, case management, and other supportive services to homeless individuals in the community. The organization was founded in 1983 and is named after Miriam’s daughter, who struggled with homelessness and addiction. 

The organization operates a dining room that provides breakfast and lunch to homeless individuals every day, as well as a variety of other programs, including employment training, housing assistance, and healthcare services. In addition to its direct services, Miriam’s Kitchen also advocates for policies and initiatives that aim to end homelessness and improve the lives of those experiencing it.

Compassion & Choices

Compassion & Choices is a national nonprofit organization in the United States that works to improve care and expand choice at the end of life. It was founded in 1987 as the Hemlock Society, and its mission is to provide information and support to people with terminal illness, their families, and caregivers. 

The organization advocates for the legal recognition of medical aid in dying as an end-of-life option for mentally capable, terminally ill adults. It also provides services such as counseling and referrals to people who are considering medical aid in dying or other end-of-life options. Compassion & Choices works to educate the public and policymakers about end-of-life issues and to promote public policy that respects the rights and dignity of dying individuals.

Partnership to End Homelessness

The Partnership to End Homelessness is a non-profit organization that works to address homelessness in New York City. It was founded in 1987 with the goal of helping homeless individuals and families move out of shelters and into permanent housing. 

The organization provides a range of services, including case management, job training, and education programs, as well as temporary housing and assistance with finding permanent housing. The Partnership for the Homeless also works to advocate for policies and programs that address the root causes of homelessness and to raise awareness about homelessness in the community.

Mobilize Love

Mobilize Love is a nonprofit who believes everyone should have access to basic human services and after-school programs.

The organization deploys a fleet of outreach trucks, each designed to serve the community in different ways. Among their fleet includes a Laundry Truck, Stage Truck, Food Truck, and Stories Truck.

Roca Inc.

Roca Inc. is a nonprofit aiming to reduce urban violence by helping the youth work through hardships and become contributing members of society. Their team is diligent in aiding people in their most critical stages of life between 17-24.

Their intervention model promises to reach hard-to-reach individuals by continuing to show up for them even after setbacks and relapses.

Horizons For Homeless Children Inc.

Horizons for Homeless Children is a non-profit organization based in Massachusetts that works to improve the lives of homeless children and their families. The organization provides early education and play programs to homeless children, as well as professional development and support to the educators who work with these children. 

In addition to its education programs, Horizons for Homeless Children also provides resources and support to homeless families to help them secure stable housing and achieve long-term stability. The organization works with homeless shelters, transitional housing programs, and other organizations serving homeless families in Massachusetts to reach as many children and families as possible. Is there anything specific you would like to know about this organization?

Bayview Senior Services

Bayview Senior Services is a non-profit organization that provides a range of services to seniors in the Bayview neighborhood of San Francisco, California. These services include meals, transportation, social and recreational activities, and health and wellness programs. 

Bayview Senior Services also provides assistance with housing, finances, and other daily living needs, and works to connect seniors with resources and support to help them maintain their independence and quality of life. The organization serves seniors of all income levels and backgrounds, and is committed to meeting the diverse needs of the seniors in the community.

Central Arizona Shelter Services

Central Arizona Shelter Services (CASS) is a non-profit organization that provides emergency shelter, food, and other services to homeless individuals and families in Maricopa County, Arizona. The organization was founded in 1984 with the goal of providing a safe and dignified place for people who are experiencing homelessness to sleep, eat, and receive basic services. 

CASS operates several shelters in the Phoenix area, including the Men’s Shelter, the Women’s Shelter, the Family Shelter, and the Multi-Service Center. In addition to providing emergency shelter, CASS also offers a range of services designed to help people transition out of homelessness, such as case management, job training, and access to healthcare.

Bread For The City Inc.

Bread for the City is a non-profit organization that provides assistance to low-income individuals and families in Washington, D.C., including food, clothing, medical care, and legal and social services. The organization was founded in 1974 and has since grown to include three neighborhood centers in the city that offer these services to community members. 

In addition to providing immediate assistance to those in need, Bread for the City also advocates for systemic change to address the root causes of poverty and inequality.

The Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis

Catholic Charities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis is a non-profit social services organization that serves the Twin Cities area of Minnesota. The organization provides a variety of services to people in need, including assistance with housing, food, and clothing, as well as counseling and support for individuals and families.

Catholic Charities also runs a number of programs specifically designed to help refugees and immigrants, such as language classes and job training. The organization’s mission is to serve the community and promote social justice, and it is guided by the values of compassion, dignity, and respect for all people.

Filling in the Blanks

Filling in the Blanks is a nonprofit fighting childhood hunger. They provide children in need with nutritious meals on weekends. They use the help of volunteers to distribute food directly into the hands of hungry children.

The organization serves pre-schools, elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, camps, after school programs, and partner agencies. Filling in the Blanks was founded by mothers and community activists Shawnee Knight and Tina Kramer. They’ve delivered over one million meals.

Nonprofit Organizations Supporting National Slavery & Human Trafficking Prevention Month

National Slavery & Human Trafficking Prevention Month is dedicated to raising awareness about different, often hidden, forms of human trafficking and modern day slavery. 

It is important to raise awareness and educate communities so that people are equipped to notice potential trafficking situations and report them to local law enforcement. 

Human trafficking and modern day slavery are largely hidden. This social issue involves the exploitation of people for labor or services, often through coercion or manipulation. 

During the month of January, learn about these issues and support the organizations that are working to prevent human trafficking and modern day slavery through education and awareness, and protecting survivors through safe response.

List of Nonprofits for National Slavery and Human Trafficking Preventing Month

Polaris Project

The Polaris Project is a non-profit organization that works to combat and prevent human trafficking, particularly in the United States. It was founded in 2002 and has since grown to become a leading organization in the fight against human trafficking.

The organization operates a national human trafficking hotline and provides support and services to survivors of human trafficking, including crisis intervention, legal assistance, and long-term support. It also works to raise awareness about human trafficking and to advocate for stronger laws and policies to address the issue. The Polaris Project is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and has offices in several other cities around the country.

Verite

Verité is a nonprofit organization that works to promote fair, safe, and legal working conditions in the global supply chain. The organization conducts research, provides training and technical assistance, and works with companies, governments, and other stakeholders to address issues such as forced labor, child labor, and worker exploitation. Verité was founded in 1999 and is headquartered in Massachusetts, USA.

It works in a variety of sectors including agriculture, manufacturing, mining, and construction, and operates in more than 25 countries around the world.

Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking

The Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST) is a nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles, California that works to combat human trafficking and modern slavery. CAST was founded in 1998 and has since then provided direct services to survivors of human trafficking, advocated for stronger laws and policies to address trafficking, and worked to raise awareness about this issue.

CAST provides a range of services to survivors of human trafficking, including legal assistance, housing, mental health counseling, and education and job training. The organization also works to educate the public about human trafficking and advocate for stronger laws and policies to address this issue. CAST has been involved in a number of successful campaigns to pass anti-trafficking laws and increase funding for services for survivors.

In addition to its work in the United States, CAST also supports anti-trafficking efforts around the world through partnerships with other organizations and coalitions. The organization is committed to working with survivors to end modern slavery and build a world where all people can live with dignity and freedom.

United Against Human Trafficking

United Against Human Trafficking (UAHT) is a non-profit organization that works to combat human trafficking and modern slavery. The organization was founded in response to the growing global problem of human trafficking, which affects millions of people around the world.

UAHT works to raise awareness about human trafficking, provide support to victims and survivors, and advocate for stronger laws and policies to prevent and combat this crime. UAHT also partners with other organizations, both in the United States and internationally, to coordinate efforts and maximize the impact of their work. If you would like more information about UAHT or human trafficking, I would be happy to help.

Free the Slaves

Free the Slaves is a nonprofit organization that works to end modern slavery and human trafficking. It was founded in 2000 by Kevin Bales and others with the goal of eradicating slavery worldwide. The organization works to rescue and protect people who are enslaved, and to help them rebuild their lives after they are freed.

It also works to prevent slavery from happening in the first place by raising awareness about the issue and advocating for policies that will help to combat it. Free the Slaves partners with local organizations and communities to implement its programs, and works with governments, businesses, and other stakeholders to address the root causes of slavery and human trafficking.

The Human Trafficking Legal Center

The Human Trafficking Legal Center is a nonprofit for survivors of human trafficking. The organization aims to fight for survivors in court through strategic civil litigation. This provides a strong tool to hold traffickers accountable.

Nonprofits in Support of Ukraine

The Ukraine humanitarian crisis refers to the ongoing conflict and suffering in Ukraine, which has led to widespread displacement and need for assistance. 

The conflict has caused significant loss of life and displacement, with over 1.4 million people being forced to flee their homes. The crisis has also had a severe impact on the economy, with many people struggling to access basic necessities such as food, shelter, and healthcare.

As winter weather deepens in Ukraine, and power outages from Russian attacks impact heat, electricity and other key infrastructure, nonprofits are working to help the millions of Ukrainians who continue to be affected by the conflict.

Whether those displaced within the country, those who have fled to neighboring countries like Poland, or those trying to stay in their homes, there continues to be a need for life-critical aid and protection services. 

Humanitarian nonprofits continue to work tirelessly to support affected populations all across Ukraine and in neighboring countries, and donations are still needed to help sustain this important humanitarian response.

List of vetted nonprofit organization supporting humanitarian efforts in Ukraine

Razom for Ukraine

Razom (meaning “together” in Ukrainian) is a non-profit organization that supports democratic values, human rights, and social justice in Ukraine. It was founded in 2013, in the aftermath of the Maidan Revolution, with the goal of promoting transparency and accountability in government, and supporting civil society in Ukraine. 

The organization works on a variety of issues, including promoting reforms to fight corruption, strengthening the rule of law, and defending human rights. It also supports projects that aim to improve the lives of ordinary Ukrainians, such as initiatives to promote clean energy, improve access to education, and support small businesses.

Direct Relief

Direct Relief is a humanitarian organization that provides assistance to people affected by natural disasters, poverty, and emergencies. The organization works to improve the health and lives of people in need by providing medical resources and aid, including medications, medical supplies, and health services. 

Direct Relief operates globally, with a focus on supporting underserved and vulnerable communities. The organization partners with a network of healthcare providers and organizations to deliver aid and support to people in need. Direct Relief is a nonprofit organization that relies on donations from individuals, foundations, and corporations to fund its programs and operations.

Save the Children

Save the Children is a nonprofit organization that works to improve the lives of children around the world. It was founded in the United Kingdom in 1919, and today it operates in more than 120 countries. The organization focuses on providing education, healthcare, and emergency aid to children in need. It also works to protect children from abuse, exploitation, and violence, and to advocate for their rights. 

Save the Children is funded by donations from individuals, foundations, and corporations, and it has been recognized for its transparency and effectiveness in using donations to make a positive impact on the lives of children.

Team Rubicon

Team Rubicon is a nonprofit organization that brings military veterans and medical professionals together to respond to disasters and emergencies. The organization was founded in 2010 by two military veterans, Jake Wood and William McNulty, who wanted to use the skills and experiences of veterans to help communities in need.

Team Rubicon deploys teams of volunteers to provide disaster relief services such as debris removal, search and rescue, and medical assistance. The organization has responded to a variety of disasters, including earthquakes, hurricanes, and wildfires, in countries all over the world.

In addition to disaster response, Team Rubicon also provides veterans with opportunities for ongoing training and development, as well as a sense of purpose and community. The organization has grown significantly since its founding and now has over 100,000 volunteers in its ranks.

Nova Ukraine

Nova Ukraine is a nonprofit organization giving humanitarian aid to the people of Ukraine. Their goal is to raise awareness about Ukraine in the United States and to support them during the time of hardship.

The organization envisions aiding Ukraine in its recovery from social and economic crises and to build a stronger country aligned with democratic values.

IRC

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is a global humanitarian aid, relief, and development nongovernmental organization. It was founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein to help refugees fleeing Nazi persecution. Today, the IRC provides assistance to people affected by conflict, natural disasters, and other emergencies. It operates in more than 40 countries around the world, delivering services such as health care, education, economic development, and protection to millions of people every year. 

The IRC also works to promote the rights of displaced and vulnerable people and to lobby for more effective policies to address the root causes of conflict and displacement. The organization is headquartered in New York City and is governed by a board of directors.

International Committee of the Red Cross

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is a humanitarian organization based in Geneva, Switzerland. It was founded in 1863 by Henry Dunant, a Swiss businessman, and is the oldest and most respected organization of its kind. 

The ICRC’s mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence and to provide them with assistance. It does this through a variety of means, including providing medical care and supplies, promoting international humanitarian law, and working to protect and assist prisoners of war, refugees, and other displaced persons. The ICRC is an independent, neutral organization, and it operates in countries around the world, often in conflict zones or other areas of crisis.

Revived Soldiers of Ukraine

Revived Soldiers of Ukraine is a nonprofit focused on providing aid to the people of Ukraine in support of their fundamental human rights.

The organization coordinates rehabilitation services for Ukrainian army soldiers. Their work has saved the lives of many soldiers, giving them the resources to return to their family after having suffered injuries from war. Some soldiers return with life-changing injuries, having made the ultimate sacrifice of putting their bodies on the line to defend their country.

International Medical Corps

International Medical Corps is a global humanitarian nonprofit organization that provides medical assistance and health care to those affected by war, natural disasters, and other emergencies. The organization was founded in 1984 in response to the Armenian earthquake, and it has since provided medical care and other services in over 50 countries worldwide. 

The International Medical Corps has a strong focus on training and building the capacity of local health care workers, and it works in close partnership with local organizations and governments to ensure that its efforts are sustainable and have a lasting impact. The organization’s work includes providing primary care and mental health services, conducting public health campaigns and disease outbreaks, and supporting the development of health systems and infrastructure. International Medical Corps is headquartered in Los Angeles, California, and is a registered 501(c)(3) organization.

World Central Kitchen Incorporated

World Central Kitchen (WCK) is a non-profit organization founded by chef José Andrés in 2010. It aims to provide meals to people affected by natural disasters, hunger, and poverty, as well as to promote the use of local and sustainable food systems. WCK has provided millions of meals to people in need in countries around the world, including the United States, Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, South America, and Asia. 

The organization works with local communities, partners, and volunteers to help communities recover from disasters and build resilience to future challenges. WCK also runs programs to address food insecurity and promote nutrition education, such as its “Plate of Nations” initiative, which brings together chefs and community leaders to celebrate local food cultures and promote healthy eating habits.

The Workplace Giving Handbook: Everything You Need to Know

Workplace giving programs offer employees an important benefit. 

It gives employees a way to support the causes they care about and trust that their support is actually doing good in the world. 

It’s not news that people are skeptical of corporate charity — it’s why words like pink-washing and greenwashing have entered the public vocabulary. Workplace giving programs offer a way to combat that skepticism and give employees a reason to feel good about the places where they work. 

But what exactly is workplace giving, and how do you set up an employee-powered giving program at your company?

What is Workplace Giving?

By definition, workplace giving is any kind of organized program that collects employee donations for charitable causes through payroll deductions and/or one-time donations. The company then disburses those donations to nonprofits. 

Over the years, the term has evolved to include volunteer giving programs, and other forms of employee giving programs. Today, these giving programs take many forms, including payroll deductions, donation match programs, and volunteer giving programs. 

Matching Gift Programs

Donation match programs are among the most popular types of workplace giving programs, offered at nearly 65% of Fortune 500 companies, and accounting for $2 billion to $3 billion in donations annually. 

The concept is simple in theory: an employee donates to a qualified nonprofit, and the company then makes a matching donation to the same nonprofit. 

In practice, matching gift programs can be cumbersome and difficult to manage. In fact, for every dollar donated through matching gift programs, more than $2 goes unclaimed.

Volunteer Programs

In addition to typical volunteer programs — serving dinners at a local shelter or reading to school kids, for example — many companies create or participate in volunteer fundraising events, such as walk-a-thons or charity 5k runs. 

Employees participate as a team, and the money raised is donated to the specific non-profit named. These campaigns can be great for team building and bonding, not to mention providing high-profile PR opportunities for the company.

Volunteer Grants

Many companies offer grants to organizations where their employees volunteer. This kind of program ensures that the company is helping to support genuine community organizations that their employees care about. They help deepen the ties between the company and the community and send the message to your employees that you care about the things that are important to them.

Volunteer Hours Matching

The third iteration of volunteer donation programs rewards your employees with extra cash they can donate to others based on hours that they spend volunteering with community organizations. 

Giving employees paid time off for volunteering can make it difficult for workers to keep up with their workload and make more work for nonprofits. Some companies have found ways to reimburse employees for the time they already spend working in their communities. 

One way is to deposit the equivalent of their salary for the hours spent into a Groundswell Personal Giving Account. From there, the employee can direct the donation to the cause they choose, effectively doubling their impact on the ground. 

Donations Through Payroll Deduction

Many companies offer employees the opportunity to make giving easy by enrolling in an automatic payroll deduction for a chosen charity. Payroll deductions allow employees to essentially budget their charitable contributions over the course of the year. 

However, the choice of charities to support is usually very narrow — often only one or two charities are chosen by the board. 

A growing number of CEOs are moving away from the top-down approach to corporate giving, and moving to a model that puts the choice in the hands of their employees.

What Is a Workplace Giving Campaign?

Workplace giving campaigns are typically annual events held by companies to encourage employee donations to a cause. 

They’re often held in the fall, to coordinate with the holiday season — and of course, the end of the tax year. They can, however, take place at any time. Their purpose is to publicize and raise awareness of any company-sponsored employee giving programs, and get more people involved in them.

Campaigns may also revolve around a specific need or event. These campaigns include disaster relief campaigns, or campaigns to support specific needs in the local community — supporting the unhoused, or providing funds for meals during a pandemic, for example.

How Does Workplace Giving Work?

The nuts and bolts of employee giving programs are rapidly evolving. Legacy workplace giving programs collected donations from employees, then combined them and funneled them to one or two charities chosen by the board of directors or the CEO. Historically, there are two major models for doing this.

Payroll Deduction

Programs that collect charitable donations through payroll deductions are the most common type of workplace giving programs, accounting for nearly 75% of all employee giving annually. Payroll deductions make charitable giving easy on employees — they fill out a payroll deduction form once, and HR/Payroll does the rest. It’s so easy, in fact, that when Google implemented a pilot payroll giving program, it increased the likelihood of donations to a promoted charity by 50% without reducing the average amount donated. 

In addition, each participating employee has a running record of their deductions on their pay stub, with both the current and the year-to-date donation recorded. That’s a big boon at tax time — their pay stub serves as proof of their donation, so they don’t have to scrounge around looking for acknowledgement letters from the nonprofits to which they donate.

Nonprofits also benefit from this type of workplace giving program in several ways: they get predictable, sustainable donations, and often get more donations. Just as important, a payroll deduction model reduces the amount of work that falls on their shoulders by transferring a lot of it to the company’s payroll department. Managing a workplace giving campaign is a complex undertaking involving multiple steps and responsibilities.

  • The company creates a campaign to engage and encourage employees to sign up for the giving program. This is no small undertaking — there are entire toolkits devoted to teaching employees and volunteers to run successful campaigns.
  • The employee fills out a pledge card, designating the amount of the donation and/or the amount to be deducted each pay period. If the company allows it, they may also choose one of several pre-approved nonprofits to receive their donation.
  • The payroll department — or the company’s payroll provider — sets up the recurring deduction for each employee. 
  • If the company also operates a matching donation program, HR processes all donations to set up the matching donation.
  • Each pay period, the payroll department deducts and deposits the funds from each employee into a central account, then sends the final donation amount to the paying agent, such as the United Way.
  • The paying agent distributes the funds to the designated organizations.

Donation Matching Programs

Donation match programs can also be time-consuming and difficult to navigate — so much so, that billions of dollars in matching funds go unclaimed every year. A typical donation match program works like this:

  • The company determines which organizations will qualify for a matching gift and makes the list of qualifying organizations available to employees, and creates rules to determine the amount of the match. There may be differing amounts depending on the employee’s position or other criteria. For example, all full-time employees may qualify for 100% matching, while managers qualify for 200% matching.
  • The employee makes a donation to the charity of their choice.
  • After determining that their chosen organization qualifies for a match, the employee fills out and submits a request to HR for their employer to match their donation.
  • HR processes the request and determines the match amount based on the rules.
  • The company sends a check for the matching amount to the qualifying organization. 

Emerging Trends in Workplace Giving

Since the early 2000s, there’s been a growing movement to allow employees more choices of donors. Many donation match programs, for example, will match employee donations to any 501(c)3 charity. New platforms are streamlining corporate and employee giving, reducing the amount of work and time that goes into managing workplace giving campaigns and employee giving programs in general. 

The newest trends in corporate giving include making charitable giving part of the employee’s benefits package and providing granular control and choice on when and where to donate their funds. 

Advances in technology provided new tools — yes, there’s an app for that — to help companies manage and deploy their corporate giving programs in ways that make sense for their workforces. As the workplace and trends in giving continue to evolve, employee giving programs will also evolve to keep pace and provide the most seamless, empowering giving experience.

Benefits of Workplace Giving Programs

Employee giving programs are not just good for the causes that get the donations. They provide important positives for employees, the company, and the community. These are a few of the most important.

  • Improved Employee Recruitment: 55% of employees — including 75% of Millennials — would choose to work for a socially responsible company, even if they got paid less. 
  • Increased Employee Engagement: Employees are more engaged at work when they feel their employer aligns with their values.
  • Increased Profitability: Companies with the most engaged workers are 21% more profitable.
  • Better Public Image: People think more positively about businesses that give back to the community.
  • Deeper Community Connections: A well-planned employee giving program helps the business connect and cement relationships with organizations in the community.
  • Increased Employee Loyalty: Employees are more likely to recommend businesses that support them and their interests.
  • Higher Retention Rates: Employees who take advantage of employee giving programs stay with the company 75% longer.

What Employees Care About

According to a recent Deloitte Workplace Giving survey, 37% of workers donated to charity through a workplace giving program, but — and this is a big but — when they looked at Millennial and Gen Z employees, that percentage skyrocketed to 58%. 

Younger workers, those destined for leadership positions of future companies, care deeply about doing good in the world, and they reflect it in their behavior. They donate because they are connected to a cause or charity, because they want to support their community, and because giving makes them feel good. 

When you make it easy for them to plant a tree, buy a kid a desk, or adopt sheltered puppies, your company is showing them that they respect and support the people that they are, not just the work that they do for your business.

Why Is Employee Giving Important?

In addition to the benefits to your employees and your business bottom line, employee giving also brings an immense benefit to the community. 

In 2021, workplace giving programs raised more than $5 billion, with about 50% of that coming from matching gift programs. Those donations went to

  • Education related causes: 29%
  • Health and wellness causes: 25%
  • Community and economic development causes: 15%

Employees who donated through workplace giving programs reported that they donated to

  • Hunger and homelessness relief: 47%
  • Education: 23%
  • Social and racial equity causes: 20%

The right workplace giving program empowers your employees to support the causes closest to their hearts, without judgment and with the confidence that their employer trusts them to put their money where it will matter the most.

How to Set Up a Workplace Giving Program

If this is your first time setting up a workplace giving program, there are some important steps to consider. You want a program that reflects your company’s mission and core philosophy, one that your employees will embrace and be proud to use. These are some key principles to keep in mind and some action steps to get you started.

Evaluate Your Company’s Corporate Social Responsibility Policy. If You Don’t Have One, This Is A Good Time To Brainstorm.

  • Create a vision for your CSR that balances your responsibilities to your shareholders/owners, your employees, the community, the planet, and any other stakeholders.
  • Evaluate your current activities in light of community service. Do you partner with local organizations? Host volunteer activities? Make donations to local charities? Any of these would fit under the umbrella of CSR.
  • Establish a corporate code of ethics detailing how your company will treat employees, customers, the environment, and competitors in all your dealings.
  • Get strategic with your giving program to ensure that it aligns with your company’s values and ethics.

Set a Budget for Your Giving Program.

  • The amount you budget for corporate giving should be no more than you can afford to give without affecting the cash flow you need to operate your business.
  • Many large companies earmark 1% – 5% of their pre-tax earnings for charitable giving. Small companies often donate 6% or more to charity.
  • Consider designating profits from one particular product for giving.
  • Use the Sabsevitz Ante-Up Formula — multiply last year’s pre-tax net income by 1.2% to come up with a donation budget.
  • Check out more suggestions for setting your budget in this blog post.

Set Up Guidelines for Your Program

  • Employees: will all employees be included in your benefits program? Will they all be level-funded, or will some positions qualify for a higher workplace giving benefit? 
  • Moments That Matter: Can you make donations more meaningful by tying deposit amounts to specific events in the lives for your employees? 
  • Decide which charities/causes your company will support. Will you restrict employee giving to designated nonprofits? How expansive will your list of eligible organizations be? 

Establish A Process For Collecting, Matching, And Donating Contributions. 

Publicize The Program.

The key to a successful workplace giving program is awareness. Your employees can’t use a benefit they don’t know about, and your company won’t reap the benefits if your customers and employees don’t know what you’re doing. These are a few suggestions for raising awareness of your new employee giving program.

  • List it as a benefit in your recruitment materials.
  • Provide an easy — and very visible — way to access your program’s front end on your employee website, Discord, or other communication software.
  • Highlight your program in the company newsletter.
  • Create and distribute flyers explaining the program, its benefits, and how to use it to your employees.
  • If you offer donation matches, make sure that local nonprofits are aware of it.
  • Partner with local nonprofits and community organizations when it makes sense.

Is Workplace Giving Tax Deductible?

The simple answer is yes, in most cases, workplace giving is tax deductible, and has been since 1935 when Congress passed a law allowing corporations to deduct up to 10% of their pretax income on their tax returns. That limit was raised to 25% to encourage more giving during the pandemic. 

Maximizing Tax Benefits for Workplace Giving

It’s important to understand how tax-deductible donations work in order to maximize the benefits of a workplace giving program. 

Some types of corporate giving offer more benefits than others. 

DAFs offer unique tax benefits, but until recently, they’ve been reserved for high-dollar donors. Briefly, a DAF allows your company to make a donation at the most advantageous time — before the end of the tax year, for example — and take the deduction immediately, and decide when and where that money should be donated to nonprofits. In addition, DAFs make it more efficient to donate non-cash assets, such as stock and real estate, to charity, without incurring an additional tax burden.

Workplace Giving with Groundswell

Groundswell’s innovative Philanthropy as a Service model democratizes workplace giving by setting up a Personal Giving Account — an individual DAF — for each employee, effectively putting the power of a DAF in the palm of their hand. 

The company can make donations into each Personal Giving Account as part of an overall corporate giving strategy, timing the donations to provide the most benefit. The employee then decides when and where to make donations to the causes that are most important to them. 

If you’re ready to increase the impact of your workplace giving programs, contact us to learn more about how Groundswell can empower you and your employees to do more good and make the changes they want to see in the world.