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Corporate Giving Program: The Complete Business Guide to Running Gifting and Matching Employee Benefits

Corporate giving programs are growing in popularity among thriving businesses and for many good reasons. 

For companies, corporate giving programs can improve their reputation and brand image, attract and retain employees, increase customer loyalty, boost sales, and reduce taxable income.

For communities, corporate giving programs address social and economic needs, improve the quality of life for those in the community, promote civic engagement, and build stronger bonds between community members.

In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about launching and running a corporate giving program, information from what a corporate giving program is to learning the different types of corporate giving programs and choosing the right one for your organization.

What is Corporate Giving?

Corporate giving is the act of a corporation or business promoting the welfare of others, generally through charitable donations of funds or time. It is a form of corporate social responsibility (CSR) that can benefit both the company and the community.

Corporate giving is a win-win for both companies and communities. It is a way for companies to make a positive impact on the world while also benefiting their own bottom line.

How do corporations commonly make charitable donations?

There are many different ways that corporations can give back. Some common forms of corporate giving include:

  • Cash donations: This is the most common form of corporate giving. Companies can donate money to nonprofit organizations that support causes they care about.
  • In-kind donations: Companies can donate products or services to nonprofits. For example, a company that makes food could donate food to a local food bank.
  • Employee volunteerism: Companies can encourage their employees to volunteer their time to nonprofits. This is a great way to get employees involved in their communities and to give back to the causes they care about.
  • Cause-related marketing: This is a type of marketing partnership between a company and a nonprofit. The company donates a portion of its profits to the nonprofit when customers purchase its products or services.
  • Matching gifts: Companies can match the charitable donations of their employees. This is a great way to encourage employees to give back and to double the impact of their donations.

What is a corporate giving account?

A corporate giving account is a type of donor-advised fund (DAF) that is specifically designed for businesses. DAFs are charitable giving accounts that allow donors to make tax-deductible contributions and then recommend grants to charitable organizations over time. Corporate giving accounts offer many of the same benefits as traditional DAFs, but they can also provide additional benefits for businesses, such as:

  • Tax benefits: Contributions to a corporate giving account are tax-deductible for the business, just like contributions to a traditional DAF.
  • Flexibility: Businesses can use their corporate giving account to support a wide range of charitable causes, both large and small.
  • Simplicity: Corporate giving accounts are relatively easy to set up and manage.
  • Professional management: Many corporate giving accounts are offered by third-party providers who can help businesses with the administrative details of giving.

If your business is looking for a way to make a charitable impact, a corporate giving account may be a good option.

Most common types of corporate giving programs

Gifting and Matching

Corporate gifting and matching programs are a way for companies to encourage their employees to give back to their communities. These programs can take many different forms, but they all have the same goal: to make it easier for employees to donate their time and money to causes they care about.

One type of corporate gifting program is a matching gift program. In a matching gift program, the company will match employee donations to certain charities, up to a certain amount. For example, a company might match employee donations to the United Way up to $500 per year. This is a great way for companies to double the impact of their employees’ donations.

Another type of corporate gifting program is a volunteer grant program. In a volunteer grant program, the company will give employees paid time off to volunteer for certain charities. This is a great way for employees to give back to their communities without having to sacrifice their work hours.

Corporate gifting and matching programs are a great way for companies to show their employees that they care about giving back. These programs can also help to attract and retain top talent, as employees are more likely to want to work for a company that shares their values.

Here are some of the benefits of corporate gifting and matching programs:

  • Employee engagement: Corporate gifting and matching programs can help to increase employee engagement by giving employees a way to give back to their communities.
  • Employee morale: Corporate gifting and matching programs can help to improve employee morale by showing employees that their company cares about giving back.
  • Company reputation: Corporate gifting and matching programs can help to improve a company’s reputation by showing that the company is committed to social responsibility.
  • Tax benefits: In some cases, corporate gifting and matching programs can provide tax benefits for the company.

If you are looking for a way to give back to your community and show your employees that you care, consider starting a corporate gifting or matching program.

Volunteer Grants

A volunteer grant is a monetary award given to a nonprofit organization by a corporation in recognition of volunteer work being done by a company’s employees. This practice is widespread in the United States. Corporate giving programs created to encourage volunteerism by a corporation’s employees by providing volunteer grants are called volunteer grant programs or Dollars for Doers programs.

Philanthropic organizations offer grants for individuals to volunteer with nonprofit organizations for an extended period of time. These are sometimes called volunteer grants but are normally referred to as fellowships. In these cases, a volunteer receives a stipend from a nonprofit to live and work within a community in need. Companies typically state that any 501(c)(3) nonprofit or school is eligible for their corporate volunteer grant scheme; most however require a minimum number of hours served.

Volunteer grants can be a great way for companies to encourage their employees to give back to their communities and to support the causes they care about. They can also be a great way for companies to build relationships with local nonprofits and to show their commitment to social responsibility.

If you are a nonprofit organization that is interested in applying for a volunteer grant, be sure to check with your local corporations to see if they offer such a program. You can also find a list of companies that offer volunteer grants online.

Other Types of Corporate Giving Programs

Fundraising Match

A fundraising match is a type of corporate giving program in which a company matches employee donations to a nonprofit organization. For example, if an employee donates $100 to a nonprofit, the company might match that donation with another $100, bringing the total donation to $200.

Fundraising matches are a great way for companies to encourage their employees to give back to their communities. They can also help to raise more money for nonprofits.

Community Grants

Community grants are financial awards given to nonprofit organizations or other community groups to support their work in the community. They can be used to fund a variety of projects, such as:

  • Programs that provide direct services to community members, such as food banks, homeless shelters, and after-school programs.
  • Projects that improve the community’s infrastructure, such as parks, libraries, and community centers.
  • Initiatives that promote social change, such as those that address poverty, hunger, or education inequality.

Dollars for Doers

Dollars for Doers is a type of corporate giving program in which a company provides monetary grants to nonprofits where its employees regularly volunteer.

Here are some of the benefits of Dollars for Doers programs for both companies and nonprofits:

  • Companies:
    • Increased employee engagement and morale
    • Improved company reputation
    • Tax benefits
  • Nonprofits:
    • Increased funding
    • Increased visibility
    • Increased volunteerism

Team Volunteer Grants

A team volunteer grant is a type of corporate giving program in which a company provides a monetary donation to a nonprofit organization when a group of employees volunteer together. These programs are designed to encourage team building, community service, and employee engagement.

There are many different types of team volunteer grants available, each with its own set of eligibility requirements and benefits. Some companies offer grants for any team of employees who volunteer together, while others require that teams meet certain criteria, such as a minimum number of volunteer hours or a specific type of service.

Volunteer Support Programs

Volunteer support programs are designed to help volunteers find, prepare for, and succeed in their volunteer roles. These programs can provide volunteers with a variety of resources, such as training, orientation, and support networks.

There are many different types of volunteer support programs available, each with its own focus and target audience. Some programs are designed for specific groups of volunteers, such as new volunteers, young volunteers, or volunteers with disabilities. Other programs are designed to provide support for specific types of volunteer work, such as disaster relief, environmental conservation, or social justice.

Annual Giving

Annual giving is a type of fundraising that focuses on raising money from individuals on an ongoing basis throughout the year. It is a critical component of a nonprofit’s fundraising strategy, as it can provide a steady stream of income to support the organization’s ongoing programs and services.

Annual Grant Stipends

An annual grant stipend is a type of grant that is awarded to individuals or organizations on an annual basis. These grants are typically used to support ongoing programs or activities, rather than one-time projects.

There are many different types of annual grant stipends available, each with its own eligibility requirements and benefits. Some grants are open to all applicants, while others are only available to specific groups of people, such as students, artists, or nonprofit organizations.

Internal Employee Fundraising

Internal employee fundraising is a type of fundraising that takes place within a company. It is a way for employees to come together and raise money for a cause that they care about.

There are many different ways to raise money through internal employee fundraising. Some common methods include:

  • Donation campaigns: Employees can donate money directly to the cause.
  • Matching gifts: Companies can match employee donations, which can double or triple the amount of money raised.
  • Volunteerism: Employees can volunteer their time to the cause.
  • Product sales: Employees can sell products or services to raise money for the cause.
  • Special events: Companies can host special events, such as bake sales or walk-a-thons, to raise money for the cause.

Employee Product Donation Programs (EPDP)

An Employee Product Donation Program (EPDP) is a corporate giving program that allows employees to donate company products to nonprofit organizations. EPDPs are a great way for companies to give back to their communities and to engage their employees in philanthropy.

There are many different ways that EPDPs can be structured. Some companies allow employees to donate any company product, while others only allow employees to donate specific products. Some companies also require employees to get approval from their manager before donating, while others do not.

How to start a corporate giving program for your company

Here are the steps on how to start a corporate giving program for your company:

  1. Set your goals. What do you want to achieve with your corporate giving program? Do you want to raise money for a specific cause, or do you want to encourage employee volunteerism? Once you know your goals, you can start to develop a plan.
  2. Choose a cause. What cause is important to your company and its employees? Once you’ve chosen a cause, you can start to research nonprofits that are working to address that issue.
  3. Develop a plan. How will you raise money or encourage employee volunteerism? What are your timeline and budget? Once you have a plan, you can start to put it into action.
  4. Promote your program. Let your employees know about your corporate giving program and how they can get involved. You can promote your program through company newsletters, social media, and other channels.
  5. Measure your results. How much money did you raise? How many employees volunteered? How did your program impact the cause you were supporting? By measuring your results, you can see how effective your program is and make adjustments as needed.

Here are some additional tips for starting a corporate giving program:

  • Get buy-in from senior leadership. It’s important to have the support of senior leadership in order to make your corporate giving program a success.
  • Involve employees. Employees are more likely to be engaged in a corporate giving program if they feel like they have a say in how it’s run.
  • Make it easy for employees to give. The easier it is for employees to give, the more likely they are to do so.
  • Track your results. It’s important to track your results so you can see how effective your corporate giving program is.

How does corporate giving affect employees?

Corporate giving can have a number of positive effects on employees, including:

  • Increased employee engagement: Employees who feel like their company is giving back to the community are more likely to be engaged in their work and to feel a sense of pride in their employer.
  • Improved morale: Employees who feel like their company is making a difference in the world are more likely to be happy and motivated at work.
  • Reduced turnover: Employees who feel like their company is committed to social responsibility are more likely to stay with their employer for the long term.
  • Increased productivity: Employees who feel like their work is meaningful are more likely to be productive and to go the extra mile.
  • Improved reputation: Companies that are known for their corporate giving programs are often seen as more reputable and trustworthy by customers, investors, and the general public.

In addition to these direct benefits, corporate giving can also have a number of indirect benefits for employees. For example, employees who are engaged in their work and who feel like they are making a difference in the world are more likely to be healthy and happy. They are also more likely to be involved in their communities and to be positive role models for their children.

Overall, corporate giving can be a win-win for both companies and employees. It can help companies to improve their bottom line, their reputation, and their employee morale. It can also help employees to feel good about their work and to make a difference in the world.

How companies can benefit more from their corporate giving?

Companies can benefit more from their corporate giving in a number of ways. Here are a few tips:

  1. Choose a cause that is aligned with your company’s values. When employees see that their company is giving back to causes that they care about, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated.
  2. Get employees involved. Employees are more likely to be supportive of a corporate giving program if they feel like they have a say in how it’s run. Consider allowing employees to vote on which causes the company supports, or to volunteer their time to local charities.
  3. Measure your results. It’s important to track the impact of your corporate giving program so you can see how it’s benefiting your company and the community. This will help you to justify your investment and to make improvements as needed.
  4. Get the word out. Let your customers, investors, and the general public know about your corporate giving program. This will help to improve your company’s reputation and attract new business.

By following these tips, you can make sure that your corporate giving program is both effective and beneficial for your company.

Complete Guide to Setting Up a Matching Gift Program for your Company

Are you a corporate leader interested in supporting your employees’ philanthropic efforts and making a positive impact in the community?

You may want to set up a corporate matching gift program for your company. A matching gift program is a charitable giving program where a company matches donations made by its employees to eligible nonprofit organizations.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to setting up a matching gift program for your company:

What is a corporate matching gift program?

A corporate matching gift program is designed to encourage employees to give to charity and support causes they care about, as well as to demonstrate the company’s commitment to philanthropy and social responsibility.

Gift matching programs are an effective way for companies to support and strengthen their employees’ charitable giving efforts. By matching donations, companies can amplify the impact of their employees’ charitable contributions and make a positive impact in their community. This can also help to boost employee engagement, morale, and retention, as employees are more likely to feel engaged and proud of their company when they see their employer supporting causes they care about.

Corporate matching gift program boundaries

The parameters of a corporate matching gift program can vary from company to company but typically include the types of nonprofit organizations eligible for matching gifts, the minimum and maximum donation amounts that will be matched, and any other eligibility requirements, such as full-time employee status or a minimum tenure requirement.

Some companies may also choose to support specific causes or organizations by limiting their matching gifts to certain types of nonprofits, such as those focused on education, health, or the environment. Other companies give employees the freedom to give to the causes they care about most, given that the nonprofit organization is vetted. The latter option lends to a more inclusive and diverse giving experience for employees.

To administer a corporate matching gift program, companies often work with a matching gift vendor like Groundswell who can help manage the administrative tasks associated with the program, such as verifying nonprofit eligibility, processing donations, and disbursing matching gifts.

Groundswell is a modern corporate matching gift provider, suitable for everyone from small businesses to enterprises.

Overall, corporate matching gift programs are a win-win for companies and their employees. Not only do they allow companies to demonstrate their commitment to philanthropy and social responsibility, but they also help to strengthen employee engagement, boost morale, and make a positive impact in their community.

How does corporate gift matching work?

Companies launch corporate gift matching programs to support their employees’ interests and make a social impact in their community.

Here’s how it typically works:

  1. Eligibility: The company first determines which charitable organizations are eligible for the gift matching program. These organizations are usually non-profits that are tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
  2. Employee donation: The employee makes a donation to one of the eligible charitable organizations.
  3. Employee request: The employee then submits a request to the company to have their donation matched. This request may be made online or through a paper form and may require the employee to provide proof of their donation.
  4. Company verification: The company verifies the employee’s donation and confirms that it is eligible for matching.
  5. Matching donation: Once the company has verified the donation, it will typically make a matching donation to the same charitable organization.
  6. Donation processing: The charitable organization receives both the employee’s donation and the company’s matching donation. The organization may provide a receipt for tax purposes to both the employee and the company.

How to set up a matching gift program

Step 1: Define the Parameters of Your Program

Before launching your matching gift program, you’ll need to define the parameters of your program. This includes determining the types of nonprofit organizations your company will match donations to, the minimum and maximum donation amounts that will be matched, and any other eligibility requirements, such as full-time employee status or a minimum tenure requirement.

Step 2: Choose a Matching Gift Vendor

Next, you’ll need to choose a matching gift vendor to administer your program. A matching gift vendor can help you manage the administrative tasks associated with a matching gift program, such as verifying nonprofit eligibility, processing donations, and disbursing matching gifts.

Groundswell is a matching gift vendor providing a modern solution built for the way people give today. Through the mobile app, employees can search for nonprofits and make donations directly through Groundswell.

Step 3: Communicate the Program to Your Employees

Once you have defined the parameters of your program and chosen a matching gift vendor, it’s time to communicate the program to your employees. This can be done through email announcements, company intranet postings, and other internal communication channels.

Be sure to provide clear instructions on how employees can participate in the program and how their donations will be matched.

Step 4: Launch the Program and Monitor the Results

After communicating the program to your employees, it’s time to launch the program! Be sure to monitor the results and track the impact of your matching gift program. You can do this by tracking the number of employees who participate in the program, the total amount of donations made, and the number of matching gifts disbursed.

By following these steps, you can set up a successful matching gift program for your company that supports your employees’ philanthropic efforts and makes a positive impact in your community. Happy giving!

More about Groundswell

Groundswell is a modern corporate matching gift provider, helping companies transform their company culture with matching gift programs.

Learn more about Groundswell, including pricing and deployment, by scheduling a demo with a company culture representative.

Read related articles:

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 acknowledgment 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.