List of Nonprofit Organizations in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is a beautiful, metropolitan city that’s as diverse as they come. LA has become the destination for many communities, including many nonprofit organizations dedicated to making a difference in their local and global communities. 

Here’s a growing list of nonprofit organizations in Los Angeles categorized by theme. Bookmark this page and check back as we add more nonprofits to this list.


Community and Youth

Inner City Arts: This organization provides arts education to underserved youth in the Skid Row neighborhood of Los Angeles.

LA Works: This organization connects volunteers with local schools and community organizations to support various community service projects.

LA Promise Fund: This organization works to improve education and life outcomes for young people in Los Angeles through a variety of programs and initiatives.

Los Angeles Youth Network: This organization provides housing, education, and other support services to homeless and at-risk youth in the Los Angeles area.

Partnership for LA Schools: This organization works to improve academic achievement and support the development of students in high-need schools in Los Angeles.


Heal the Bay: This organization works to protect and restore Santa Monica Bay and other southern California coastal waters. They focus on issues such as water quality, plastic pollution, and habitat protection.

The Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters: This group works to promote environmental policies and elect pro-environmental candidates to public office.

The Nature Conservancy of Los Angeles: This nonprofit works to protect and restore natural habitats in the Los Angeles region, with a focus on preserving biodiversity and promoting sustainable land use.

Los Angeles Waterkeeper: This organization works to protect and restore the quality of Los Angeles’ waterways and coastal waters through advocacy, education, and community engagement.

TreePeople: This group works to promote urban forestry and green infrastructure in the Los Angeles region, with a focus on increasing tree canopy cover, improving air and water quality, and enhancing the urban environment.


LA Promise Fund: This organization works to improve public education in Los Angeles by supporting school leadership and teacher development, providing resources for students and families, and advocating for policies that benefit students.

LA Education Partnership: This nonprofit works to close the achievement gap in Los Angeles by providing resources and support to schools in high-need areas.

Partnership for Los Angeles Schools: This organization partners with the Los Angeles Unified School District to improve academic achievement and create a positive school culture at a group of high-need schools in Los Angeles.

LA’s Best: This after-school program serves elementary school students in the Los Angeles Unified School District, providing them with academic enrichment and recreational activities.

LA Fund for Public Education: This organization supports public education in Los Angeles by providing grants to schools and teachers, advocating for policies that benefit students, and engaging community members in the education process.


The Animal Wellness Foundation: This nonprofit organization is based in Los Angeles and works to improve the lives of animals through a variety of programs and initiatives.

The Best Friends Animal Society: This national animal welfare organization has a chapter in Los Angeles that operates a pet adoption center and works to reduce the number of animals killed in shelters.

The Los Angeles County Animal Care Foundation: This nonprofit organization supports the work of the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control, through fundraising and public education efforts.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (SPCA LA): This nonprofit organization provides animal welfare services in the Los Angeles area, including pet adoption, spay and neuter services, and cruelty investigation and rescue.

The Wildlife Waystation: This nonprofit sanctuary in Los Angeles County provides rescue, rehabilitation, and permanent care for exotic and indigenous wildlife.


AltaMed Health Services Corporation: AltaMed is a community health center that provides a range of medical, dental, and mental health services to underserved populations in the Los Angeles area.

St. John’s Well Child and Family Center: This community health center offers primary care, dental care, and behavioral health services to patients of all ages.

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles: This pediatric hospital provides comprehensive medical care to children and adolescents, including specialized services such as cancer treatment, heart surgery, and trauma care.

The Los Angeles Free Clinic. This non-profit organization provides free medical, dental, and mental health services to uninsured and underserved individuals in the Los Angeles area.

The Venice Family Clinic: This community health center provides primary care, dental care, and mental health services to low-income and uninsured individuals in the Los Angeles area.

Social Justice

The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California: This group works to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA): This organization works to advance the human and civil rights of immigrants and refugees in Los Angeles.

Black Lives Matter Los Angeles: This group works to combat police brutality and racial profiling, and to advocate for the rights of black people in Los Angeles.

LAXart: This nonprofit organization works to promote social justice and equity through contemporary art exhibitions and public programming.


The Veterans Affairs (VA) Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System: This government-run organization provides healthcare and support services to military veterans in the Los Angeles area.

The American Legion: This nonprofit organization supports veterans and their families through a variety of programs, including assistance with healthcare, education, and employment.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW): This national organization provides support to military veterans and their families through a variety of programs and services, including financial assistance, healthcare, and education.

The Wounded Warrior Project: This nonprofit organization provides support to military veterans who have been wounded or injured during their service. This includes physical and mental health support, as well as assistance with employment and education.

The Los Angeles Veterans Collaborative: This coalition of organizations works together to support military veterans in the Los Angeles area through a variety of programs and services, including healthcare, housing, and education.

Disaster Relief

Team Rubicon: This nonprofit organization uses the skills and experiences of military veterans to respond to disasters and provide humanitarian aid. Since its inception, Team Rubicon has responded to numerous disasters including earthquakes, hurricanes, and wildfires, and has provided assistance to communities in need all over the world. The organization is known for its unique approach to disaster response, which combines the speed and agility of a military operation with the compassion and care of a humanitarian organization.

American Red Cross of Greater Los Angeles: This organization provides disaster relief services, including emergency shelter, food, and support for those affected by disasters in the Los Angeles area.

Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Foundation: This organization provides funding and support for the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s emergency medical services, which respond to disasters and other emergencies.

Salvation Army Los Angeles: This organization provides disaster relief services, including emergency shelter, food, and support to those affected by disasters in the Los Angeles area.

Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation: This organization provides support and funding for the Los Angeles Fire Department, which responds to disasters and other emergencies in the area.

LA Family Housing: This organization provides temporary housing and support services to individuals and families affected by homelessness, including those who have been displaced by disasters.


Los Angeles Mission: This organization provides services such as meals, shelter, and healthcare to people experiencing homelessness in LA.

Union Rescue Mission: This is another organization that provides services such as meals, shelter, and healthcare to people experiencing homelessness in LA.

LA Family Housing: This nonprofit provides affordable housing and support services to low-income individuals and families in LA.

St. Vincent de Paul of Los Angeles: This organization helps low-income individuals and families in LA by providing them with basic necessities such as food, clothing, and shelter.

The People Concern: This nonprofit organization provides a range of services to people experiencing homelessness in LA, including case management, housing assistance, and access to healthcare.

Arts & Culture

Los Angeles County Arts Commission: This nonprofit organization supports and promotes the arts in Los Angeles County, including visual and performing arts, literature, and film and media arts.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA): LACMA is a nonprofit art museum that features a wide range of artworks, including paintings, sculptures, and photographs.

The Music Center: This organization supports and presents performing arts in Los Angeles, including music, dance, and theater.

The Hammer Museum: The Hammer Museum is a nonprofit museum focused on contemporary art and ideas. It offers exhibitions, public programs, and a research library.

The J. Paul Getty Museum: The J. Paul Getty Museum is a nonprofit museum that features a wide range of artworks, including paintings, sculptures, and photographs. It is located in the Getty Center in Los Angeles.

How to Develop a Corporate Grant Strategy for Business Leaders

Developing a corporate grant strategy is an essential part of any organization’s philanthropy and social responsibility initiatives. A well-crafted grant strategy can help your organization achieve its mission, meet its impact goals, and build relationships with key stakeholders.

If you want to develop a corporate grant strategy, here’s how to do it. First, let’s talk more about what a corporate grant is and the types of corporate grants out there.

What is a Corporate Grant?

A corporate grant is a financial award given by a company or organization to an individual, group, or organization for a specific purpose, such as research or charitable purposes. Corporate grants can vary in size, scope, and purpose, and may be given in the form of cash, in-kind services, or other resources.

Types of Corporate Grants

Corporate grants are typically awarded to organizations or individuals who are able to demonstrate the potential to make a positive impact in their field. Common types of corporate grants include:

  • Community grants support projects or initiatives within a given community, often targeting a specific demographic group.
  • Project grants support specific projects or initiatives implemented by nonprofit organizations
  • Research grants support research into a particular field or topic
  • Scholarship grants support students pursuing higher education or other educational pursuits
  • Endowment grants support an organization’s long-term sustainability

Creating a Corporate Grant Strategy

Creating a corporate grant strategy can be a daunting task for corporations. It requires a lot of research, analysis, and coordination between multiple departments and stakeholders.

A corporate grant strategy should be tailored to the specific needs of the company and should include a plan for how the company will engage with potential grantees, how it will allocate funds, and how it will measure the impact of its investments.

With the right strategy in place, corporations can ensure that their grant-making efforts are effective and that their funding is making a meaningful difference.

1. Identify potential grantees

Start by researching organizations that meet the criteria of your corporate grant strategy – and align with the social and environmental impact goals for your company. It is important to look for organizations that have a strong mission, clear goals, and a track record of success.

Furthermore, consider the types of causes you want to support, the geographic areas you want to serve, and the populations you want to target.

2. Define your grant criteria:

Make sure to clearly define the criteria for your grants. This should include the amount of money you are willing to provide, the type of project you are interested in funding, and the timeline for when the grant funds should be used. Many corporate grants can be effective if given in a lump sum upfront, but other grants may be disbursed over time based on milestones.

Additionally, consider if you will require any reporting or accountability from the grantees to ensure that the grant money is being used effectively. 

3. Create a grant application:

Develop an application process for potential grantees to apply for your grants. This should include the necessary documents and information that they need to provide to be considered, including a detailed project proposal, budget, and timeline.

Make sure to set a deadline for when applications will be accepted to ensure that the process is organized and efficient.

4. Review applications

Carefully review each application to determine if it fits the criteria of your grant strategy.

Make sure to pay attention to the details of each application to ensure that the organization is a good fit for your corporate grant. Consider the organization’s track record, the impact of the proposed project, and the qualifications of the people who will be implementing the project.

5. Finalize the selection

Once you have identified the organizations that you want to provide grants to, finalize the selection and notify them of your decision.

Make sure to provide clear instructions on how the grant money should be used and the timeline for when it should be used.

6. Monitor and evaluate

Monitor the progress of the grantees and evaluate the impact of your grants on the organizations and communities you are trying to help.

Consider tracking metrics such as the number of people served, the amount of money raised, and broader outcomes in the communities where the grant money is being used.

7. Report your results

Keep track of your results and report them to your organization. This will help in understanding the impact of the grants and informing future grant strategies. Sharing the results internally can also provide employees with a sense of connection to the important causes that the company is supporting.

8. Adjust your strategy

As you continue to monitor and evaluate your grants, you may need to make changes to your strategy to ensure that it is effective.

Consider changes such as increasing or decreasing the amount of money provided, shifting the focus to different cause areas, or changing the types of organizations you are willing to fund.

9. Celebrate successes

Celebrate the successes of your grantees and the impact that your grants have had on the organizations and communities you are helping.

Share stories and success metrics with your team and your organization to showcase the impact of your corporate grant strategy. This can also be a time to jointly celebrate alongside the nonprofit partners who are recipients of the grants. 

Disbursement Options

As part of your corporate grant strategy, you’ll need to decide on how to disburse the grants to your recipients. Most commonly, companies start a foundation to hold and disburse funds to nonprofits.

Why use a corporate foundation?

A corporate foundation is a nonprofit organization that is funded by a for-profit corporation. It works in collaboration with the corporation to support charitable activities that are related to the company’s areas of interest. 

The foundation can provide grants to charitable organizations, as well as support employees’ volunteer work, and provide in-kind donations.

Often, opening a corporate foundation takes a great deal of administrative burden that companies don’t have the resources to support. A simpler and more affordable option is to use a Donor-Advised Fund

Can I use a Donor-Advised Fund as a corporate foundation?

Yes. A corporate donor-advised fund can act as a corporate foundation. A corporate DAF enables granting funds to causes – and by extension, nonprofits – the company supports. 

It works by providing donors with a tax-deductible donation to the fund, which they can then use to provide grants to their chosen charities over time. The donor is not required to make the grants immediately, and can instead choose when and how to distribute the funds. 

The DAF also provides donors with a way to streamline giving and manage charitable activities.

Open a DAF with Groundswell

Setting up a corporate grant strategy for business leaders is a great way to provide additional funding for projects and initiatives that may not have been possible without this extra source of funding. 

With careful planning and research, business leaders can create a grant strategy that best suits the needs of their company and organization, as well as their overall impact goals and objectives.

Groundswell provides corporate DAFs that deliver all the benefits of a corporate foundation without the administrative burden at a much lower cost. 

Book a free consultation and learn more about opening a DAF for distributing corporate grants.

22 Popular and Trending Corporate Giving Strategies for the Modern Business

Corporate giving strategies help modern businesses align with corporate social responsibility and ESG commitments. They also aid businesses in aligning their values with those of their employees.

A good corporate giving strategy will not only lead to a positive impact on social and environmental issues, but also results in increased brand recognition and reputation, as well as improved employee morale and engagement.

With the most recent business trends, employees and customers are avoiding corporations who ignore their societal impact and shifting towards doing business with  purpose-driven companies.

An effective corporate giving strategy serves as the bridge between a company and the people they serve.

There are many different corporate giving strategies that companies can adopt. Here are 22 examples of a corporate giving strategy that’s worked in the past:

22 Corporate Giving Strategies for Purpose-Driven Companies

Philanthropic Giving

In-kind donations: Companies may donate products or services, rather than money, to nonprofit organizations.

Corporate foundations: Many companies have their own foundations, which are separate nonprofit organizations that are funded by the company and can more flexibly engage in philanthropic work beyond what might be possible by the company itself.

Sponsorships: Companies may sponsor events, programs, or projects run by nonprofit organizations.

Direct donations: Companies may make direct financial donations to nonprofit organizations.

Social impact bonds: In this type of program, a company partners with a nonprofit organization to fund a specific project or program. The company provides the funding upfront, and the nonprofit repays the funds with interest if the project is successful.

Corporate Grants: Some companies make grants – through a Foundation, Donor Advised Fund, or other philanthropy-focused budgets –  to nonprofit organizations that align with their philanthropic goals.

Impact investing: Companies may make investments in organizations or projects (often known as social enterprises) that are expected to generate financial return alongside social or environmental impact.


Employee volunteer programs: Some companies have programs in place to encourage employees to volunteer their time to support nonprofit organizations.

Volunteer time off: Some companies allow employees to take paid time off to volunteer at a nonprofit organization of their choice.

Pro-bono services: Companies may offer pro bono services, such as legal or consulting services, to nonprofit organizations.

Sponsorship of educational programs: Companies may sponsor educational programs, such as scholarships or mentorship programs, run by nonprofit organizations – especially when there is an alignment with the company’s sector.

Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives: Many companies have CSR initiatives in place to address social and environmental issues. These initiatives may include a variety of giving strategies, such as direct donations, sponsorships, and employee volunteer programs.

Diverse and inclusive giving programs: Instead of restricting grants or donation to specific issues or cause areas, some companies have programs in place to support a wide range of causes and nonprofit organizations.

Employee donation-matching programs: In this type of program, the company matches donations made by employees to eligible nonprofit organizations.

Learn more about employee giving programs

Social enterprise: Some companies may operate social enterprises, which are businesses that are established to achieve a social or environmental mission, with profits being reinvested in the mission.

Employee gifting: Alongside a traditional donation-match program, many companies are implementing programs where employees are gifted funds to donate to the charity of their choice.

Corporate philanthropy consulting: Companies may work with philanthropy consultants to help them identify and prioritize giving opportunities.


Employee giving campaigns: Companies may run campaigns to encourage employees to donate to a specific cause or nonprofit organization, or in the wake of an important event such as a natural disaster.

Employee charitable giving committees: Some companies have committees made up of employees that help to identify charitable giving opportunities and make recommendations to management.

Community partnerships: Companies may form long-term partnerships with nonprofit organizations and other community groups to address specific needs in the local community.

Cause-related marketing: This involves partnering with a nonprofit organization to promote a product or service, with a portion of the proceeds going to the nonprofit.

Crowdfunding campaigns: Companies may use crowdfunding platforms to raise money for a specific cause or nonprofit organization.

These are examples of corporate giving strategies. Companies may adopt one or a combination of these strategies depending on their goals and resources.

Groundswell is an affordable workplace giving platform built for modern businesses. 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.

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. Choosing a reputable organization that aligns with the donor’s charitable goals is important.

Groundswell is a flexible choice for small to enterprise-sized businesses looking to provide a charitable giving platform for their 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 number of charitable contributions that can be deducted each year. 

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

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

For the 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.

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 corporate giving platform revolutionizing access to DAFs.

Donor-advised funds power Groundswell accounts. Groundswell’s DAF infrastructure gives companies and their 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.


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

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.

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.

8 Top Workplace Giving Trends and How to Use Them in 2023

The number of people who give to charity through their workplaces is spiking again, and for good reason. Workplace giving trends are on the rise.

According to Nonprofit Source, corporate giving in 2021 hit more than $20 billion — an 8% increase over 2019. A dive into the statistics behind that rise reveals some fascinating workplace giving trends that predict the future evolution of workplace giving.

5 Key Takeaways from 2022 Workplace Giving Statistics

For starters, the people doing the most giving may not be who you expect — and they’re giving to causes that reflect a growing awareness of today’s most pressing issues. Check out these five key takeaways from Deloitte’s 2021 Workplace Giving Survey.

  1. 37% of the professionals surveyed made donations through a workplace giving program.
  2. However, 58% of professionals between the ages of 18 and 34 donated through a workplace giving program.
  3. 37% want the opportunity to donate to specific programs and causes they care about.
  4. 57% support causes they’re personally connected to, and 40% donate because it makes them feel good.
  5. The top causes for workplace donations in 2021 were hunger and homelessness, education, social equality, and racial equity.

These trends suggest that employees — especially younger employees — are committed to making the world a better place, and are willing to put their dollars where their hearts are. 

They also reflect some larger workplace giving trends that can help guide companies looking to create more engagement in and impact from their workplace giving programs.

8 Workplace Giving Trends To Inspire You in 2023

From new technology to deepening partnerships with the community, workplace giving programs are rapidly evolving to be more inclusive, more personal, and more equitable. 

These are 8 key trends to watch — and adopt — in 2023.

1. Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

In 1984, a group of community advocates founded the WALK for the Homeless in Worcester, Massachusetts, to raise awareness and funding to support programs serving the unhoused population in the small city. Over the past 37 years, thousands of people, many of them walking as part of a workplace team, have raised millions of dollars for their cause. They were ahead of their time. 

In 2020, there were hundreds of peer-to-peer fundraising events across the country. The top 30 collectively raised more than $975 million for their respective causes. 

You may know the peer-to-peer fundraising model best as a walkathon, danceathon, or 5K run where people create personal donation pages to get their friends and family to donate to a cause. They’ve become very popular as corporate fundraising events because let’s face it, they’re lots of fun, and they’re a great way to build team spirit. Companies often field teams of employees who participate, often competing with rival companies to raise the most money for the chosen cause.

Pro Tip: Supporting an established peer-to-peer fundraising event gives you a jump start on the planning and execution. They often provide ready-made donation pages and toolkits to boost your success rate.

2. Challenge Fundraising

Remember the ice bucket challenge? For several weeks in 2014, social media networks were flooded with images of people dumping buckets of ice over themselves — often in the middle of a snowy landscape. The viral fundraising campaign raised millions of dollars and energized a new wave of research into ALS, commonly known as Lou Gherig’s Disease. 

While most challenge fundraisers don’t get quite that much traction, they can be a fun way to inspire others to join in giving to charity. 

Pro Tip: Partner with a company that has experience in running challenges, like, which creates challenges by connecting apps that your employees already use. If those don’t appeal, consider partnering with a local organization to create and run your own challenge fundraiser using software like the GiveWP blog add-on.

3. Measuring Social Impact — And Sharing!

Is your giving program really making a difference? Measuring social impact is one of the current buzz phrases in the corporate giving world

Donors — that’s you and your employees — understandably want to know if the money they donate is actually helping make positive change in the world around them. That means you have to develop a framework to actually measure the results of your corporate giving program. It can be as simple as generating a report of how many dollars were donated, but it can dive much deeper. How many meals did those donations provide? How many people earned a certificate in the class you sponsored? How many miles of beach were cleaned?

Pro Tip: It’s not enough just to collect data. The magic happens when you share it with your employees and they’re inspired by all that good. The ways to share data are nearly endless, from the time-honored temperature chart to graph donations to before and after photos of community cleanups or buildouts. And if the results aren’t quite as inspiring as you’d hoped, you can use them to start a discussion of how to do better next time.

4. Embracing New Ways to Give (Like the Groundswell App!)

If your workplace giving program has been mired in the stodgy depths of legacy corporate giving software, the newest advances in technology will shake up your worldview. 

The newest tech platforms make it easy for employees to make donations, submit requests for matching donations, and track their giving for end-of-year tax reporting. On the employer’s end, they provide seamless integration with donation-matching software and provide valuable insights into the causes that matter the most to their employees.

If you haven’t done it yet, take a look at the benefits of modernizing your workplace philanthropy flow. 

Pro Tip: Be bold and embrace change. Check out how Groundswell opens up a whole new way of giving for your employees through Personal Giving Accounts, allowing them to make donations when and where they want, without having to jump through a bunch of HR hoops.

5. Empowering Employee Choice

Today more than ever, employees want a voice in how the company donates to charity. They want to work for a business that shares the values they consider important. This is especially true among women and younger employees, as well as among employees who belong to (or know someone who belongs to) marginalized groups. 

Over the past 20 years, corporations have been recognizing this by giving employees more choices in donation match programs, offering volunteer grants to organizations where their employees volunteer, and forming employee working groups to identify causes and organizations to support. 

Pro Tip: Ask your employees what’s important to them — and listen carefully. Even better, actually, empower them to create corporate giving policies and programs.

6. Being Nimble in the Face of Current Events

You’ve heard the expression “may you live in interesting times.” The last few years have been the epitome of “interesting times,” and they’ve tested — and revealed the weaknesses — of traditional fundraising and corporate philanthropy models. 

It has meant that businesses have had to adapt their corporate giving to hot-button issues and emergent needs — being prepared to make statements and adjust their philanthropy guidelines to put their giving power behind their mission statements. 

For many organizations, this has meant reevaluating their corporate giving programs and building in more flexibility, both by providing more choice for their employees, and more discretion in spending for the organizations they support. 

Pro Tip: Use local current events and issues as springboards to launch special giving campaigns and events to engage your employees and connect them to the larger community. From clothing drives for families displaced in a fire to volunteer playground cleanups, events that respond to local needs are important drivers of employee engagement.

7. Stakeholder Philanthropy

One of the most powerful emerging trends is stakeholder philanthropy, the practice of inviting all stakeholders — employees, customers, consumers, the community, and partners — to the table when making decisions about charitable donations and corporate giving.

Corporate philanthropy is at its best when everyone involved reaps the benefits, but too often some of the stakeholders are left out of the decision-making. 

A corporate volunteering program may make good press for the company and provide a team-building experience for employees, but saddle a nonprofit with a lot of extra work. A CEO’s chosen charity may benefit from a tailored giving program but do little to engage most employees. 

Stakeholder philanthropy helps avoid those common pitfalls and increases the chance that your corporate giving programs will make a tangible impact on your employees and the causes they’re most passionate about.

Pro Tip: Poll employees for local organizations they support, and reach out to partner with those organizations to provide maximum impact.

8. Match Giving to Moments That Matter

Moments That Matter is more than a customer relations tool. When your company matches its giving policies to the moments that matter in an employee’s life, you’re letting them know that you see them, you get them, and you support them. 

Whether you increase your donation match to recognize a new child in the family or reward a department’s finished project with a little extra to donate to their Personal Giving Account, you are strengthening the relationship between them and the company, and increasing their satisfaction with work.

Pro Tip: Make moments that matter a key element of your employee benefits and workplace giving programs, and never forget that a personal touch makes a huge amount of difference. The gift will mean even more if it’s attached to a note — yes, a real, paper note — of congratulations or acknowledgment.

The Bottom Line

Workplace giving programs are rapidly evolving to meet the expectations and desires of today’s workforce. Employees want to work for companies that share and support their values. Offering a workplace giving program that meets their needs is one important way to send the message that you value them as whole people, not just as employees. Learn more about how Groundswell makes it easy for your company to set up and manage a corporate giving program that gives your employees the power to make a real impact on their communities.

8 Powerful Ways To Elevate Your Corporate Philanthropy Efforts

In today’s business world, corporate philanthropy is more than a buzzword. Engaged consumers want to do business with brands that give back — and they’re not the only ones. An effective, modern employee giving program is fast becoming a key benefit to attract and maintain top talent. Corporate giving isn’t a new concept, but it is one that’s evolved — and continues to evolve — over time. 

The Evolution of Corporate Philanthropy

In the early days, the owners of companies did good things out of a combination of noblesse oblige and enlightened self-interest. In most cases, they gave to charities that aligned with their interests and pet projects, which may or may not have had anything to do with the purpose of their business. Steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, for example, famously championed public libraries because he believed that the key to betterment was education. Henry Ford founded the Edison Institute (now the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village) to share his enthusiasm for American inventions and industry. And Lane Bryant, who founded the first company to sell maternity clothing for women to wear in public, offered free clothing to any woman who lost her wardrobe in a disaster, and donated generously to Jewish charities. 

It wasn’t until the middle of the 20th century, in the post-World War II era, that philanthropy became institutionalized. Large corporations, such as Ford, AT&T, Phillip Morris and Chase Manhattan Bank established foundations and corporate giving programs that were an integral part of their business. They were motivated by a sense of social responsibility, similar to the business magnates that came before them. The giving programs were often focused on the communities where they did business, and they often made grants with little consideration of publicity or benefit to the business.

In the 1980s, corporate philanthropy underwent a seismic shift with the rise of strategic philanthropy, which ties corporate giving to the strategic marketing and business goals of a company. It’s the genesis of the popular phrase “doing well by doing good,” which suggests that businesses can benefit their bottom line by giving back to the community in public ways. Corporate philanthropy, done “right” could boost brand recognition, generate goodwill and assure customer loyalty. Many companies aligned themselves with well-known public charities, such as the United Way, and created giving programs for employees within their companies. 

Strategic Philanthropy

Strategic philanthropy also took on another meaning with the rise of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Rather than thinking solely of how a corporate giving strategy could benefit the company, corporate boards began thinking strategically about how to tackle big societal problems, like climate change, poverty and social inequalities. While the goals are commendable, the approach had significant shortcomings. As Katherine Fulton notes in an article on the Center for Effective Philanthropy’s website, making strategy is not the same as making change. 

One of the major shortcomings of the typical top-down giving program lies in the question: Who decides what we fund and based on what knowledge? Fulton suggests that the people making those decisions are often those furthest removed from the problem, and thus, least aware of what’s actually needed to effect change in a community. It also often means that a company is funding charities that are not aligned with the charities and causes that are important to its employees.

A second shortcoming — often directly related to the first — is friction. While Fulton focuses on the meticulous record-keeping and inflexibility that grantmakers often require, the same need for documentation and paperwork can also hamper much simpler corporate giving programs, such as programs that match employee donations. Not surprisingly, the harder you make it for employees to access a donation matching program, the fewer employees will take advantage of it.

Modernizing Corporate Philanthropy

Technology has brought some significant changes to the workplace, to society and to philanthropy. Social media, for example, makes it much easier to publicize initiatives, crowdsource solutions and connect with consumers and other stakeholders.  

On the employee side, modern HR technology takes much of the record-keeping burden off the HR department while providing employees with more transparency in managing their own benefits. This extends to businesses who want a better way to provide an employee corporate giving benefit. A modern workplace giving portal makes it easier for employees to engage in charitable giving by removing friction while providing the company with the ability to track trends in corporate giving and evaluate the effectiveness of their corporate philanthropy. By empowering employees to make donations when they want and to whom they want while providing them with particular tax benefits, a corporation can increase employee engagement and retention, improve company morale and attract top talent.

8 Ways To Take Your Corporate Philanthropy to the Next Level

Deciding to engage in charitable giving as a business is always the right move. Whether you’re trying to upgrade an existing program or start fresh with a new community giving policy, these tips go beyond common “best practices” to help you create an effective, engaging program that’s truly next level.

1. Make It Personal

Include all of your employees in the decision-making process when choosing charities to support. Better yet, let each of them decide which charities and causes are most important to them. Employees will be more engaged in your philanthropic efforts when they’re giving to causes that mean a lot to them personally.

2. Support Volunteerism

Giving money is only one way to give back to the community. Volunteering with community organizations offers far-reaching benefits for your employees and your company. Companies that have volunteer days build deeper connections with the community and foster a team spirit among employees. You can support volunteerism in different ways:

  • Give paid time off for volunteering in the community.
  • Donate a specific dollar amount to a donation matching fund for each volunteer hour worked.
  • Have team-building volunteer opportunities, like building a playground or painting classrooms in a school. 

3. Make It Easier for Employees To Give

If you already use a donation matching program, upgrade it to make it easier for your employees to access it. If you don’t, consider starting one. According to Double the Donation, 84% of employees say they’re more likely to give to charity if their company offers a donation matching program.  

4. Give Them More Reason To Give

Donor-advised funds (DAFs) offer key tax benefits for donors but have traditionally been reserved for those who have tax accountants. The Groundswell platform allows you to extend those tax benefits to your employees, giving them even more incentive to participate.

5. Shine a Light on Giving

The best programs will fail if no one knows about them. Make updates on corporate giving goals and strategies part of your regular internal communications. Highlight volunteers who give back. Be transparent about corporate giving goals and report back to employees on your progress to them. Create a giving corner in your employee newsletter and highlight all the ways that employees can engage in giving back. 

6. Put Your Employees in Charge

In addition to making it easier for your employees to make individual donations to the causes they support, get them on the team for decisions about company-wide efforts. No one knows the community better than they do. Not only will you be giving them a bigger role in your company, you’ll also know that your business is doing work that’s truly needed in the community.

7. Celebrate Your Team Publicly

Use those social media accounts to highlight team members who are giving back to the community. Share photos of volunteer days or host fundraising appeals. The publicity will burnish your business reputation in the community and the public recognition will make your employees feel valued and appreciated.

8. Take Advantage of Analytics

A key benefit of the Groundswell app is the ability to set funding goals and track progress toward them. Track key metrics to analyze and adjust your corporate giving strategy, and communicate your progress to help employees recognize their role in the bigger corporate picture.

Elevate Your Corporate Philanthropy

Corporate philanthropy is an essential part of any business strategy today. By investing in modern technology and innovative giving strategies, you can increase employee engagement, improve community relations and improve your bottom line. For more information on how Groundswell can work with you to create a customized corporate philanthropy program, get in touch with us today.

The Ultimate Guide to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) with Step-By-Step Instructions

Consumers want to do business with companies who practice corporate social responsibility – and for good reason.

Companies that have a good CSR program have a long-term view on doing business and understand their impact on society. These companies know their business has a ripple effect, so they focus on how they can do the most good without sacrificing profits.

Companies that take the time to design and implement a thoughtful, intentional CSR strategy are often rewarded with loyal customers, a strong, talented workforce, and a positive public image. 

In other words, consumers want to buy from businesses that are making a lasting positive social impact and employees want to work for those same companies doing good in the world.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) helps create a framework for greater corporate purpose, and promises a better future with sustainable business operations.

In this Ultimate Corporate Social Responsibility Guide, we define corporate social responsibility and explain how to align and leverage CSR best practices for your company. We also give you tips on how you can make your company socially responsible and how to make the case for including CSR programs to your executive team.

What is Corporate Social Responsibility?

Corporate social responsibility is the integration of societal and environmental concerns into the strategy and operations of a business. 

It consists of initiatives and policies founded on the principle that companies should play a positive role in the community and be accountable for the impacts they have on society as a whole, alongside making profits. 

Corporations accomplish this by ensuring existing business practices are responsible and sustainable, and that corporate philanthropy supports causes that are meaningful and aligned to their core business.

With a commitment to implement a strong CSR strategy, companies have an opportunity to determine where and how their business intersects with communities. They can support solutions to a range of social problems like poverty, hunger, and disease. 

For example, the food company Campbell’s saw an opportunity to align its core business with the challenges surrounding access to healthy and nutritious food. In response, they implemented a 10-year program to improve food access in Camden, New Jersey.

Companies also have a responsibility to protect the environment, maintain a safe, inclusive workplace for employees, and even consider how a portion of profits could support social and environmental initiatives, such as programs that provide clean water to those in need, or help maintain and increase access to free public parks in underserved communities.

Companies that operate with CSR best practices are proud to share how they give back to society, often through cause-related messaging, to encourage employees to volunteer and customers to support business.

As a byproduct, companies that grow in size also grow the size of their CSR programs. This growth gives corporations the opportunity to make a larger social impact as well as bring in more profits.

Why does CSR Matter?

Growing expectations by consumers and employees around the positive role that companies can and should play in society means that CSR matters more than ever. Increasingly, it can impact the bottom line – with consumers rewarding companies for their efforts to operate responsibly by purchasing their products in larger quantities, and with higher prices, just to name a few.

Corporations must learn how to adapt to the demands of this shift in consumer behavior while continuing to produce the goods consumers want.

Reasons why companies practice corporate social responsibility

Business Longevity

In the past, a corporation’s main responsibility was to make money for its shareholders. And while that is still important, it is also true that shareholder value can be increased through a business model that is more responsible and sustainable. 

An example of a company that has grown and benefited by integrating CSR into its core business practices is Dr. Bronner’s. Not only has their CSR program improve customer loyalty, it’s helped make a positive social impact.

Employee Engagement and Retention

Employees, especially the Gen Z workforce, increasingly want to work for a company that aligns with their values. Employees are most engaged with a company that is giving back to the community. A growing trend in business shows that employee satisfaction and employee-to-company relationships directly impact performance.

Companies with strong CSR practices can see increased productivity from their employees, less turnover and attrition rates, less absenteeism, enhanced loyalty and goodwill towards the organization, and positive word of mouth.

As a byproduct of a company’s CSR efforts, employees also feel their individual interests being taken care of, especially for those who offer employee benefits packages that include health, retirement, and charitable giving programs that empower employees to give to charity. 

Attract and keep customers

It is possible that some, if not most, of companies’ customers will have a social agenda of their own and may not be willing to support a company that is not socially responsible. Research has shown that customers are four to six times more likely to buy from and trust a company that has a strong sense of purpose.

The companies that can tap into consumers’ sentiments around social and environmental issues and prove they are responsible corporate actors will likely have an edge over competitors who don’t.

Public Reputation

It’s no secret that a company’s reputation and their social responsibility are closely linked. Practicing social responsibility gives a company a chance to have the secondary benefit of making a positive impact on their reputation. 

Having a good reputation in the community and with the public is a major factor in growing a successful business.

Corporate social responsibility benefits

While few People Leaders see CSR as a burden of business operation, corporate social responsibility campaigns actually afford several benefits to businesses.

A good CSR campaign that promises to improve employee retention saves a company in onboarding and training expenses as well as the opportunity costs that come with losing talented employees.

Furthermore, companies with useful CSR-supporting software can save on hiring data-entry specialists. Tools like Groundswell can cut out the administrative duty needed for managing a corporate giving program.

How to Build a CSR Program

  1. Identify important company goals
  2. Understand consumer interests
  3. Brainstorm programs
  4. Carry out program plans
  5. Measure results

Designing and implementing a CSR program must be guided by the company’s business strategy, customer expectations, and employees’ interests. It is often shaped by the company’s operational footprint, the industry or sector, and where employees are based. 

1. Identify important company goals

The first step is to identify and prioritize important company goals and how the CSR program supports those. This includes understanding your industry and the challenges that you are going up against, both today but also what is on the horizon.

Take note of how the business is going, who the detractors are and who the supporters are. This information will help guide your CSR campaigns during planning.

2. Understand consumer interests

Put yourself in the shoes of your customer and what they might be looking for. You’ll find this exercise enlightening and helpful in deciding where to put your resources. Do they support your business (product, service, etc) because of an existing CSR program that inspires them?

Aligning your programs to not just meet the expectations of your customers but give them a sense of pride and true connection to your business puts the company in a better position to compete with companies offering similar products or services.

It also helps to find out what employees care about. Often, employees are also consumers, so getting to know your workforce can provide strong insights.

3. Design programs

The communities closest to your business, its operational footprint, and reach of the product or services, will be the first to experience your social impact. This can be mapped based on geographic footprint as well as demographic groups. Based on this mapping, you might identify and provide funding to nonprofits that are serving those communities closest to the business.

If your employee base is also local, then supporting local schools, community centers, and other social programs can result in a healthier, thriving workforce. 

Aligning your CSR programs with stakeholder interests helps your company’s reputation, as well as helps build stronger, positive relationships in the community. 

As you brainstorm and design programs, think of ways you can make a positive impact on the lives of your employees, customers, and the broader community.

During the design phase, it’s also important to articulate your overarching goals and develop Key Performance Indicators to help you measure progress against those goals. This is a critical part of program design that will enable you to report back to internal and external stakeholders on the value of the programs.

4. Carry out CSR programs

Once the planning stages of your CSR program are complete, it’s time to carry out your campaigns.

After some time, your company’s CSR program will go through several changes and continue to refine itself. As long as your team puts an effort in organizing and managing the CSR program, you can feel confident that you’ll develop a program that works best for your business.

A great way to get started with a CSR program that requires little-to-no administrative requirements, corporate giving and matching programs work well.

5. Measure results

In order to celebrate the successes but also make necessary adjustments, it’s important to gather data and keep track of your progress by measuring your program’s impact. 

Some key performance indicators (KPIs) of a good CSR program could include a number of community members served/impacted by the nonprofit programs your company supports; level or percentage of employee engagement in a giving or volunteer program; and an improved or positive ‘score’ on CSR rankings (e.g. Dow Jones Sustainability Index, 3BL Corporate Citizens Awards, Sustainable Brands, etc).

Examples of Companies with Amazing Corporate Social Responsibility Programs

Patagonia is an outdoor clothing company based in Ventura, California. Their mission is to create quality products that last a lifetime.

In addition to its sustainability practices and its clothing-repair program, Patagonia donates its profits to its nonprofit, Holdfast Collective, an organization dedicated to fighting the environmental crisis and defending nature.

Starbucks is a coffee company based in Seattle, Washington. This people, planet, and profit-positive focused company has CSR programs focused on inclusion and diversity.

Starbucks established the Starbucks Foundation in 1997, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization with the goal of strengthening humanity by uplifting communities. As part of their mission, the have the goal of hiring 25,000 US military veterans and spouses by 2025 as part of their program.

Toms is a shoe company based in Los Angeles who pioneered the One for One model–which was a program that gave away one pair of shoes for every pair sold. 

Today, Toms gives away ⅓ of profits to fund grassroots initiatives to help those in need of support for mental health. Since 2006, Toms has given away over 100,000,000 shoes and impacted just as many lives.

Bombas is a clothing company based in New York whose mission is to put thoughtfully designed, essential clothing into the hands and onto the feet of those in need.

The company donates the #1, #2, and #3 most requested items to homeless shelters as well as donates one pair of socks for every pair of socks purchased. To date, Bombas has donated over 75 million items.

Pitching your CSR Program to Your Executive Team 

1. Frame Your Pitch

When pitching your CSR campaigns to your executive team, you want frame your presentation in a way that speaks to why the programs are valuable to the business and not just “for the good of society.”

Executives have a responsibility to grow the business and return value to shareholders, so a CSR program needs to stay aligned with business objectives to be considered worth the budget required to execute it.

Framing your pitch to speak on the goals of the business, how the CSR program will help employee performance, how the program aids in employee retention, and how it reduces the cost of onboard and training new employees will help your executive team understand the benefit from a business point of view.

2. Collect Supporting Data

As you create your presentation, include a section that discusses the impact CSR campaigns have had on business results in recent years.

Look for information highlighting employee satisfaction and retention as a result of CSR programs as well as reports on employee productivity and performance. 

There’s a strong correlation between employee performance and CSR programs that have been proven through scholarly research. 

The Wall Street Journal reported companies experience 52% lower turnover among newer employees involved in corporate-purpose programs.

3. Choose the Right Program Software

Part of managing your CSR programs is having the right software to support your team’s needs.

Depending on the CSR programs you have in place, there are a handful of software you can use to take the hard work out of implementation, organization, and management.

For example, when considering how best to empower employees to donate to charities, Groundswell Giving is an example of a corporate giving platform that takes the work out of managing a workplace giving program. What’s more, Groundswell provides program administrators easy access to the data to help report back to key internal stakeholders about the causes that are supported, top charities, total funds sent to charities, and level of employee engagement in the program.

4. Present to Your Team

During your presentation, be sure to communicate how the corporate social responsibility program will help the company achieve its larger business goals.

While you’ll want to speak to the broader importance of practicing corporate social responsibility, your message will resonate most with the executive decision-makers when your message is paired with the business case for the CSR programs.