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Encouraging employee giving: 6 tips for increased engagement

April 04, 2022
A group of coworkers wearing matching blue shirts participate in a community cleanup event, demonstrating the result of encouraging employee giving.

While nonprofit organizations are known for their charitable work, they aren’t the only ones who can engage in philanthropic activities. In fact, donations from corporations reached $21 billion in 2021. This trend is largely thanks to corporate social responsibility (CSR), the idea that businesses are expected to actively better their community by contributing to nonprofits. 

Up to 70% of employees report that they only want to work for companies with a philanthropic purpose. In addition to improving employee satisfaction, your business can also earn a tax deduction for charitable contributions.

To maximize these benefits, invite your employees to participate by using these six tips for encouraging employee giving. 

1. Clarify your company’s values.

Show employees that your CSR program is sincere and worth their involvement by choosing a philanthropic purpose that aligns with your company’s values. This can be accomplished by adding a social responsibility pledge clause to your business’ bylaws or creating a CSR committee. 

Another way you can demonstrate your commitment to CSR is by hiring employees who share your values. In the interview process, ask prospective team members about their charitable involvement. Are they on any nonprofit boards? Do they frequently volunteer? Which causes are they most passionate about? 

Gauge their responses to determine if they would be enthusiastic about partaking in your CSR initiatives. Selecting socially conscious candidates can help you build a culture at your business that values giving.

2. Gather employee feedback.

The best way to ensure your employees are in the loop and excited about your CSR programs is to involve them in planning your initiatives. While you may delegate the bulk of the operations to management or the CSR committee, you should ask for team members’ input when applicable. 

Encourage employee involvement and program satisfaction by asking them about:

  • Which charities they want to support.
  • Which fundraising events they’d like to participate in.
  • What type of gifts they want to donate (monetary or in-kind). 

You can also get your team members involved with creating promotional materials. If you have a video production or graphic design team, ask them to record employee interviews about your CSR program. This gives your team the chance to share the impact they’re making in an easy-to-digest and shareable format.

3. Accept multiple types of donations.

Encourage employee giving and lower the barrier to participate by offering multiple ways to get involved. Monetary contributions aren’t the only useful type of donation. Other types of gifts that count as charitable contributions include: 

  • In-kind gifts. Encourage employees to donate supplies, resources, or professional services in place of monetary donations. For example, an employee might donate school supplies to an education-based organization. Or, professional graphic designers at your business could donate their time by creating new graphic assets for a nonprofit.
  • Volunteer time. Offer your team the option to use their days off for a good cause by implementing a volunteer time off policy. You can maximize your impact by organizing a company-wide volunteering outing.

Employees who want to give back appreciate being given multiple ways to do so. Work out various donation possibilities with your nonprofit partner to empower more of your employees to participate. 

4. Offer matching gifts.

In addition to undertaking an in-depth partnership with local nonprofits, you can support many organizations at once with the help of matching gifts. More than half of Fortune 500 companies have a matching gift policy, and matching gift revenue accounts for $2 billion in charitable donations per year. 

Having a matching gift program allows you to jump-start your charitable activity and encourage employee giving. Work with your CSR team to create your company’s matching gift policy, determining details like:

  • Matching ratio (most companies have a 1-1 or 2-1 match policy).
  • Minimum and maximum donations you’ll match.
  • Special promotions, such as a higher match on GivingTuesday or during the holiday season.
  • Application process, including what information employees need to report to have their match approved.

Incorporating a corporate matching gift policy into your CSR approach is an easy way to quickly boost your philanthropic output while showing your employees you care about their favorite causes.

5. Incentivize giving with rewards.

Thanking your employees for donating with special perks will energize your CSR initiatives and improve morale across the business. One way to reward your employees is by turning fundraisers into friendly peer-to-peer competitions and offering prizes to the highest earners, such as:

  • Extra vacation time.
  • Branded merchandise.
  • Invitation to a catered meal or work party.
  • Gift cards.
  • A company donation to their charity of choice.

You might choose to offer everyone who raised above a certain threshold a prize or give one exclusive prize to the top earner. 

6. Empower employees to make day-to-day change.

To keep your CSR initiatives top of mind, empower employees to make purpose-driven changes at the office. For example, you can reduce your environmental footprint by adding motion-detected light switches or an automated climate control schedule to your office space. 

You can also encourage a more sustainable workplace by incentivizing the use of reusable water bottles, recycling, and moving away from paper products. Let your employees know about these small-scale changes and invite them to propose additional modifications that support your goals.  

Once employees get involved in your CSR initiatives, remember to express your sincere gratitude for those who participate. Take the time to celebrate your team, and they’ll be likely to increase their involvement in the future. 

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    Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Corporations
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Employee giving
  • Employee volunteering