In the greater community, hearing the term matching gifts probably makes people think of charities and fundraising. After all, matching gifts essentially double the donations nonprofits receive, all without needing to ask donors to reach back into their own pockets.
But there’s an entire side to matching gifts that isn’t explored as often.
On the company side, matching gifts—and workplace giving in general—takes a lot of planning, organization, and outreach. In fact, this sounds pretty similar to the process nonprofits go through to receive matches! But the reason companies need to stay organized and on top of their giving programs is because, without a systematic approach to matching gifts, they could miss out on a lot of opportunities to help nonprofit organizations and engage with their employees.
In this article, we’re going to explore matching gifts and workplace giving from the company side. For companies, this will serve as a great resource for starting, maintaining, and growing your workplace giving programs. For nonprofits, this is a good opportunity to see how the behind-the-scenes efforts work at the corporations that support you.
Ready? Let’s begin.
What Workplace Giving Means
Workplace giving programs provide companies with an opportunity to engage their employees and encourage them to give to important causes.
There are several components of workplace giving, and while we’re going to focus on matching gifts for the majority of this article, there are some other important areas of giving that we want to address:
- Corporate volunteerism: Corporate volunteerism is the act of companies supporting volunteer efforts that their employees make. Through corporate volunteer programs, employees can receive paid time off to volunteer, participate in company-wide service days, or simply volunteer on their own time to support the nonprofits and causes they care about.
- Volunteer grants: Volunteer grants are technically another part of corporate volunteerism, but they also involve a financial element. Essentially, companies provide nonprofits with monetary grants when their employees volunteer with them on a regular basis. That means nonprofits get double the benefit: time and effort from committed volunteers and money for the hours they give.
- Automatic payroll deductions: Beyond matching gifts, there are other forms of giving employees can participate in. One of the most common forms is automatic payroll deductions, wherein employees deduct a set amount or percentage of their paycheck to donate to a nonprofit of their choice.
- Community grants: Many companies and foundations offer annual grants to organizations to help support their cause. Though organizations typically must apply to be considered for these grants, this workplace giving program can have a huge impact on organizations that need the funding to continue serving their missions.
- Disaster relief: When disaster strikes, companies tend to rally their employees and create disaster relief campaigns as quickly as possible. The support that pours out from this type of workplace giving program can make a huge difference in times of crisis and need.
It’s clear that workplace giving programs aren’t just limited to matching gifts. There are tons of programs out there that can help employees make a difference in the causes they’re most passionate about. That’s why it’s important for companies to consider all of these options when creating and maintaining their giving programs.
Benefits of Workplace Giving
Workplace giving obviously benefits nonprofits through receiving grants, getting donations from companies, and gaining skilled volunteers from the workforce.
What may not be so obvious is that workplace giving also benefits companies and their employees. Here’s what those benefits are:
Companies can benefit a lot from offering workplace giving programs, especially matching gifts. When companies actively encourage employees to participate in their giving programs, they may see:
- A boost in employee engagement. Offering workplace giving opportunities can significantly increase employee engagement levels. When employees feel their employers care about the same causes, they’re more likely to feel invested in the work they do for that company. In fact, 71% of employees say it’s very important to work somewhere where the culture is supportive of giving and volunteering.
- A positive CSR reputation. Companies that do good also look good. Impactful corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives reflect well on companies that see them through, which leads to happy employees and happy consumers.
- Longer tenures. When employees are engaged with their company and proud of their employer’s contributions to society, they’ll be more likely to stay with the company long term, leading to lower turnover rates and fewer resources needed to fund hiring and training procedures.
Companies spend a lot of time building up their image in society, and many corporations also invest a lot of time and energy into running and growing their workplace giving programs. Making it easy for employees to participate in those programs, therefore, is also pretty important. We’ll cover that in a bit.
Employees also benefit immensely from matching gifts and workplace giving in general. When employees are invited to participate in those programs, they can experience benefits like these:
- Making a bigger impact. Through matching gift programs, employees can make their donations go twice as far and better support the causes they care about. And because they don’t have to reach back into their own pockets, some employees even donate more than they would have originally to maximize their impact.
- Supporting pre-vetted causes. Generally, companies vet the organizations their workplace giving programs support, especially when employees give directly through their companies. This helps ensure that employees are giving to reputable organizations and causes, while taking the burden of doing extra research off their shoulders.
- Giving in smaller increments. For employees who can’t afford to make large donations at once, workplace giving—and in particular, matching gifts—allows them to maximize their impact. Over time, those numbers still add up.
Employees have a great incentive to participate in their employer’s matching gift and workplace giving programs. This in turn boosts their engagement levels with their company, improves society at large, and helps their employer make real progress in its CSR initiatives.
As we return to the reasons nonprofits benefit from workplace giving, it’s important to focus on other long-term benefits, aside from getting more funding and volunteers.
Long-term benefits include:
- Strengthened relationships with companies. The more nonprofits work with companies, the stronger their relationships become. This can lead to partnerships down the road, as well as corporate sponsorships, cause marketing campaigns, and other forms of corporate support.
- Time saved. When nonprofits don’t have to spend as much time soliciting donations and/or matching gifts, this saves their staff tons of hours that they can instead devote to other important areas of their cause.
- Consistent donors and revenue. Especially when donors give on a recurring basis, strong relationships with companies and workplace giving programs help ensure nonprofits have a consistent revenue stream. This allows them to continue serving their constituents and taking care of overhead costs.
The benefits of workplace giving for nonprofits keep going, but the most important thing to remember is that nonprofits, companies, and employees are all banding together to support the issues they’re passionate about. While companies and employees receive other benefits to taking part in CSR initiatives, the end result is the same: a better society and more funding for worthy causes.
How Matching Gifts Work on the Company Side
It’s pretty clear at this point that matching gifts and other workplace giving programs come with amazing benefits. But when you get into the nitty gritty of how companies organize their giving programs, there’s actually a lot that goes on behind the scenes.
As employees give to nonprofits and causes, companies must have a system in place to track those donations, allow employees to submit matching gift requests, process and review those requests, and issue the second donation to the nonprofit.
Here’s a general breakdown of how that looks:
- The employee makes a donation to a nonprofit.
- The employee submits a request for a matching gift to their company.
- The company reviews the request and verifies the donation with the nonprofit.
- The company matches the gift.
While the process itself is straightforward, a successful workplace giving program requires constantly updated data on employee donations, a way to confirm that the matching gift request complies with the company’s program guidelines, and a streamlined process for tracking each step. It’s also important for companies to do everything they can to encourage employees to participate in their giving programs, because that will directly benefit nonprofits.
How can companies successfully handle all of these elements? Workplace giving software.
Workplace Giving Software
Workplace giving software provides companies with a centralized system for documenting every stage in their giving programs. More specifically, workplace giving software helps companies manage:
- Matching gift programs
- Volunteer programs
- Volunteer grants
- Payroll deductions
- Disaster relief
- Giving campaigns
And that list isn’t exhaustive.
Workplace giving software provides both companies and their employees with an intuitive, easy-to-use platform to support the nonprofits they care about. For example, employees can easily submit match requests and sign up for volunteer events, while companies can automatically review and approve those match requests, organize company-wide volunteer events, and track their ongoing CSR impact.
When companies give their employees an easy way to participate in workplace giving, more and more of them will want to take part.
While workplace giving software is arguably the biggest driving force when it comes to employee participation, there are other ways companies can encourage their employees to get involved.
First, be sure to respect what your employees care about, and give them the ability to support the causes that are most important to them. Then, make it easy to do so!
Starting with both leadership and lower-level employees is also encouraged, rather than starting with one over the other. When leadership gets on board and sees the impact their company is making on important causes—and when employees are excited about being able to give to the causes they want to give to—the top and bottom will ultimately meet in the middle.
The biggest element to stress here is respect. Employees won’t want to get involved in your workplace giving program if they can’t support the causes they’re passionate about. Leadership won’t see the value unless employees are participating. Listen to everyone at your company so you can create and grow the right program for them.
Maintaining Workplace Giving Programs
When it comes to maintaining a workplace giving program over time, one of the best things companies can do is keep their people invested and motivated.
Make sure your company has a team of people working on your workplace giving programs—including those interested in taking over the leading role if need be. This way, you can keep that momentum going, rather than funneling the responsibilities down to one or two people only.
The more people you have engaged in your CSR efforts, the more coverage you’ll have if and when your team shifts, and the more interest you’ll have from employees overall.
Combining these best practices with easy-to-use workplace giving software can make workplace giving fun and engaging for your employees. If you’re part of a company looking to implement a new program, consider software as a streamlined way to track your impact and keep everything in check.
From there, as your program grows, you’ll be on your way to seeing more employee engagement, more impact from your CSR initiatives, and an improved community overall.
Additional Workplace Giving Resources
If you’re looking for additional information about workplace giving and matching gifts, we’ve compiled some of our best resources and recommendations:
- Essential Questions About Corporate Matching Gifts. Curious about matching gifts? Check out our list of essential questions and answers so you can get to know this program better!
- Workplace Giving: The Guide for Nonprofits and Companies. If you’re looking for more information about workplace giving, consider this guide from Double the Donation.
- Matching Gift Software Vendors: The Comprehensive List. Looking for some of the top matching gift software vendors? Here’s a list of providers to get you started!