Blog Post

Want to Make Giving a Habit in the Office? Here’s How.

Published November 18, 2021 | by Groundswell | 5 mins read
hands with heart

Here’s some good news, for a change: In recent years, Americans have shown a stronger and stronger desire to donate to charity. This is especially true for younger givers. Nearly 61% of Gen Z and 48% of Millennials say they plan to give more than they have in the preceding three years. Overall, 31% of people say they plan to increase their giving.

And in 2020 – a tough year – Americans gave $471 billion to charitable organizations. In short, the giving instinct is alive and well. And companies can encourage this in the workplace.

But here’s the challenge: Most companies’ go-to strategy for driving workplace giving is the corporate matching program. There’s nothing wrong with matching programs. On paper, they’re great – 84% of professionals say they are more inclined to donate if a match is available. The problem? The logistics around company matching can be a huge pain in the ass – involving Excel sheets, legacy software, and other inefficiencies. This is a major blocker because people want to enjoy giving.

We give because it’s the right thing to do. But we aren’t emotionless altruism machines. We also like to give because it makes us feel good. We want the buzz, the warmth, the excitement of giving.

This is what the current matching solutions lack. Delays and administrative processes get in the way of feeling. Read on to find out how company giving can be revamped – by using Donor Advised Funds (DAFs) to match employee contributions before they give to charity, not after the fact.

The Problem: Philanthropy Without the Buzz

The concept of corporate matching is a fantastic idea; businesses match their employees’ charitable contributions to nonprofit organizations with cash contributions of their own. Employees get to double their impact and companies get credit for supporting organizations in the community.

This impact-doubling method has enormous potential over the next few years. Evidence from Deloitte shows that 37% of employees will participate in philanthropic activities, motivated by the opportunity to make a difference with causes close to their hearts – such as hunger, homelessness, education, and social and racial equality. The prospect of doubling their impact is exciting .

However, the problems start with how matching happens. With current matching programs, the actual matching happens in one of two ways:

Scenario #1:

Someone at the company – usually an overworked person in HR or finance – tracks everything in a giant Excel sheet, verifies each request one by one, and manually cuts checks to qualifying charities. The fun of giving stops and additional work becomes a tedious task. Employees miss out on the buzz and excitement of giving, as the whole thing just feels like paperwork (and nobody likes additional paperwork).

Scenario #2:

The company uses a legacy software platform that is meant to streamline the matching program – however, the platform is getting dustier by the day, and is often a blocker. Employees have to find the portal, login, get a password reminder, go through the right steps. Then they make their contribution – say $100 – and have to trust that somehow someone somewhere is going to chip in the other $100. As a result, the energy is sapped out of the giving process. The thrill of giving is diminished and the whole process will be bland: no rush, no emotional boost, just dead morale.

The Solution: Match Donations Up Front

“Groundswell makes donation easy. Creating small habits that add up over time, in the same way you would for a 401k – I think that’s going to be a game changer. It should really be like, let’s democratize that, and really listen to and trust our employees to be making good decisions.”

Layla Kajer, Director of Internal Communications & Community, Greenhouse

Imagine if this is how 401(k) programs worked: An employee buys a particular company’s stock within their 401(k). They then have to go to their benefits team, show them their purchase confirmation, and ask them to buy the same stock and deposit it into their account.

This would be absurd! And yet it’s effectively how corporate matching currently takes place.

This is why, at Groundswell, we are allowing companies to leverage DAFs in their matching programs. 88% of HR executives say that corporate giving, along with other effective employee engagement programs, has a positive impact on their employee acquisition and retention. The way to maximize this impact is to make corporate matching as immediate, exciting, and animating as possible.

How to do this? By structuring corporate matching around donor advised funds. At Groundswell, we allow companies to place matching contributions into a DAF that employees then direct themselves. This way, when an employee makes the decision to give to a charity, they are making a donation that’s immediately twice as big.

No delays, no hassle. Just double the impact, right then and there. This way, matched giving comes with the excitement and buzz that it should.

Contact Groundswell today and start reinventing individual and corporate giving.

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