If you’re an employer trying to increase charitable giving in your workplace, several strategies may apply — from optimizing generational differences to gamifying the giving process.
A significant $4 billion in charitable donations are raised through the U.S. workplace each year, according to workplace giving advocacy group America’s Charities. And such giving is clearly important to both employers and employees these days; one survey shows 49 percent of employers see it as a growth strategy, and 87 percent believe their workers expect them to support meaningful causes.
The uncertainty of the U.S. political climate means nonprofits may be even more dependent on private donations in the coming years; in turn, company leaders may need to work harder to strengthen their giving programs. On Charities.org, business consultant Emma Kieran recommends such leaders take time to affirm board support, diversify funding to become less dependent on the government and enlist employees to “join the fight.”
“Share your vision and mission and why it’s important,” she advises. “What are you doing that other organizations and the government can’t do? What happens to the populations you serve if you can’t provide your services? Talk about why your approach is unique and effective.”
What else can employers do to shore up charitable giving at work?
- Match employee donations with company donations by a given ratio. Some corporate examples are here.
- Allow employees to choose the organization to which they will donate. In one study, 73 percent of companies surveyed raised more money that way (and 79 percent saw greater participation) than by spearheading donations to United Way.
- Encourage employees to give year round, a method practiced by 86 percent of all U.S. companies with contribution programs.
- Offer the option of automatic payroll deduction and/or install technology that makes donations easy. Tout the reality that deducting $38.50 from each biweekly paycheck results in a $1,000 tax-deductible donation by the end of each year.
- Enable the tracking of employee giving with a coded number differentiating them from outsider contributions, which will also assist you in tax returns and reporting. Be transparent by continually apprising workers of the totals.
- Use creative games to keep workers motivated to give, perhaps staging team or department competitions, holding raffles or offering fun incentives.
- Understand that different generations display different patterns of giving. In general, millennials (now ages 16 to 35) are motivated to give to compelling missions or causes, but give less than older generations due to their smaller incomes. Most prefer to give online and to receive related information via email. One report shows 84 percent of millennial employees made charitable donations in 2014; of those, 22 percent were solicited through their companies. “Many employees at this age have not yet developed allegiances to nonprofit organizations,” it advises. “Exposure through the workplace is an effective way to create awareness of your organization and lay the groundwork for a long-term relationship.”
- Ensure company leaders continually demonstrate support for such giving.
Need help boosting your charitable giving campaign? Call Dial800 at 1-800-700-1987.