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 2021 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.
- 37% of the professionals surveyed made donations through a workplace giving program.
- However, 58% of professionals between the ages of 18 and 34 donated through a workplace giving program.
- 37% want the opportunity to donate to specific programs and causes they care about.
- 57% support causes they’re personally connected to, and 40% donate because it makes them feel good.
- 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 GivePenny.org, 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.
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