Many companies not only encourage their employees to give to and volunteer time to nonprofits in their communities, but also will match those efforts with dollars and other means of support.
Workplace giving contributes an estimated $5 billion to U.S. charities each year. So if your board members, volunteers or supporters work for companies with a workplace giving program, it can be an additional source of funding. But note that a nonprofit’s access to these programs often must be initiated by an employee.
Workplace giving programs can be set up in a variety of ways. Some of the more popular workplace giving programs offered by corporations are:
- Employee Matching Gifts
- Volunteer Support Programs
- Donations through Payroll Deduction
- Annual Giving Campaigns
Employee Matching Gifts are donations an employer makes to match its employees’ charitable contributions. Usually associated with corporate grantmakers, employee matching gifts often are dollar-for-dollar, but some companies will give double or even triple the original donation. Some may also give matching gifts for employees’ volunteer efforts. For example, when an employee participates in a walkathon or other type of fundraising event, their employer may match the money they raise through sponsorships or other donations.
Guidelines and amounts vary with each company. Typically, individuals must submit forms to their employers. They usually can get more information about their matching gift benefits from their human resources department.
To find companies that match their employees’ gifts, use Foundation Directory Online, our searchable grantmakers database, selecting a Transaction Type search for "Matching grants." You can subscribe to FDO, or use it for free at our libraries and Funding Information Network partners nationwide.
Volunteer Support Programs - sometimes called “Dollars for Doers” – can take various forms. Also known as individual volunteer grants, these programs essentially reward employees who take time to donate their time to a nonprofit. For instance, a company might offer a $250 stipend to a nonprofit for every 15 hours that an employee volunteers there.
Some companies will also help groups of employees organize for various nonprofit projects, for example, making calls to fundraise for public television or building a house for Habitat for Humanity. A corporate donation to the nonprofit often accompanies these “team building” efforts.
Donations through Payroll Deductions can also be set up for employees who wish to effortlessly donate to a worthy cause. However, companies usually limit the type of nonprofit to which their employees can contribute.
EarthShare is one example of an employee engagement and philanthropy program that is offered at hundreds of private and public sector workplaces across the United States. EarthShare @ Work connects donors with environmental and conservation charities. The Make-A-Wish Foundation also sponsors a Wishmakers At Work giving program that enables employees to plan and coordinate fundraising programs to help grant wishes.
According to the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP), employers are increasingly offering more choices in the charities their employees can elect to donate to and are moving away from the top-down approach of the company choosing a handful or even one charitable giving option.
Annual Giving Campaigns also use payroll deduction to funnel donations to charities, but these take place at certain times of year. One of the largest fundraising drives in the U.S. is the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), sponsored by the U.S. government. (In addition, a number of states and municipalities have workplace giving campaigns of their own.)
The Workplace Giving Alliance offers additional information for charities seeking to participate in the CFC. Another popular campaign is United Way, in which employees can pledge a certain amount that is deducted over the course of a year.
Selected resources below may also be helpful.
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