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Corporate Giving Program: The Complete Business Guide to Running Gifting and Matching Employee Benefits

April 28, 2023
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Corporate giving programs are growing in popularity among thriving businesses and for many good reasons. 

For companies, corporate giving programs can improve their reputation and brand image, attract and retain employees, increase customer loyalty, boost sales, and reduce taxable income.

For communities, corporate giving programs address social and economic needs, improve the quality of life for those in the community, promote civic engagement, and build stronger bonds between community members.

In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about launching and running a corporate giving program, information from what a corporate giving program is to learning the different types of corporate giving programs and choosing the right one for your organization.

What is Corporate Giving?

Corporate giving is the act of a corporation or business promoting the welfare of others, generally through charitable donations of funds or time. It is a form of corporate social responsibility (CSR) that can benefit both the company and the community.

Corporate giving is a win-win for both companies and communities. It is a way for companies to positively impact the world while benefiting their own bottom line.

How do corporations commonly make charitable donations?

There are many different ways that corporations can give back. Some common forms of corporate giving include:

  • Cash donations: This is the most common form of corporate giving. Companies can donate money to nonprofit organizations that support causes they care about.
  • In-kind donations: Companies can donate products or services to nonprofits. For example, a company that makes food could donate food to a local food bank.
  • Employee volunteerism: Companies can encourage employees to volunteer their time to nonprofits. This is a great way to get employees involved in their communities and to give back to the causes they care about.
  • Cause-related marketing: This is a marketing partnership between a company and a nonprofit. The company donates a portion of its profits to the nonprofit when customers purchase its products or services.
  • Matching gifts: Companies can match the charitable donations of their employees. This is a great way to encourage employees to give back and to double the impact of their donations.

What is a corporate giving account?

A corporate giving account is a donor-advised fund (DAF) specifically designed for businesses. DAFs are charitable giving accounts that allow donors to make tax-deductible contributions and then recommend grants to charitable organizations over time. Corporate giving accounts offer many of the same benefits as traditional DAFs, but they can also provide additional benefits for businesses, such as:

  • Tax benefits: Contributions to a corporate giving account are tax-deductible for the business, just like contributions to a traditional DAF.
  • Flexibility: Businesses can use their corporate giving account to support a wide range of large and small charitable causes.
  • Simplicity: Corporate giving accounts are relatively easy to set up and manage.
  • Professional management: Many corporate giving accounts are offered by third-party providers who can help businesses with the administrative details of giving.

A corporate giving account may be a good option if your business is looking for a way to make a charitable impact.

Most common types of corporate giving programs

Gifting and Matching

Corporate gifting and matching programs are a way for companies to encourage their employees to give back to their communities. These programs can take many different forms, but they all have the same goal: to make it easier for employees to donate their time and money to causes they care about.

One type of corporate gifting program is a matching gift program. In a matching gift program, the company will match employee donations to certain charities, up to a certain amount. For example, a company might match employee donations to the United Way up to $500 annually. This is a great way for companies to double the impact of their employees' donations.

Another type of corporate gifting program is a volunteer grant program. In a volunteer grant program, the company will give employees paid time off to volunteer for certain charities. This is a great way for employees to give back to their communities without sacrificing work hours.

Corporate gifting and matching programs are great for companies to show their employees that they care about giving back. These programs can also help to attract and retain top talent, as employees are more likely to want to work for a company that shares their values.

Here are some of the benefits of corporate gifting and matching programs:

  • Employee engagement: Corporate gifting and matching programs can help to increase employee engagement by giving employees a way to give back to their communities.
  • Employee morale: Corporate gifting and matching programs can help to improve employee morale by showing employees that their company cares about giving back.
  • Company reputation: Corporate gifting and matching programs can help to improve a company's reputation by showing that the company is committed to social responsibility.
  • Tax benefits: In some cases, corporate gifting and matching programs can provide tax benefits for the company.

If you want to give back to your community and show your employees that you care, consider starting a corporate gifting or matching program.

Volunteer Grants

A volunteer grant is a monetary award given to a nonprofit organization by a corporation to recognize volunteer work being done by a company's employees. This practice is widespread in the United States. Corporate giving programs created to encourage volunteerism by a corporation's employees by providing volunteer grants are called volunteer grant programs or Dollars for Doers programs.

Philanthropic organizations offer grants for individuals to volunteer with nonprofit organizations for an extended period of time. These are sometimes called volunteer grants but are normally referred to as fellowships. In these cases, a volunteer receives a stipend from a nonprofit to live and work within a community in need. Companies typically state that any 501(c)(3) nonprofit or school is eligible for their corporate volunteer grant scheme; most however require a minimum number of hours served.

Volunteer grants can be a great way for companies to encourage their employees to give back to their communities and to support the causes they care about. They can also be a great way for companies to build relationships with local nonprofits and to show their commitment to social responsibility.

If you are a nonprofit organization interested in applying for a volunteer grant, be sure to check with your local corporations to see if they offer such a program. You can also find a list of companies that offer volunteer grants online.

Other Types of Corporate Giving Programs

Fundraising Match

A fundraising match is a type of corporate giving program in which a company matches employee donations to a nonprofit organization. For example, if an employee donates $100 to a nonprofit, the company might match that donation with another $100, bringing the total donation to $200.

Fundraising matches are a great way for companies to encourage their employees to give back to their communities. They can also help to raise more money for nonprofits.

Community Grants

Community grants are financial awards given to nonprofit organizations or other community groups to support their work in the community. They can be used to fund a variety of projects, such as:

  • Programs that provide direct services to community members, such as food banks, homeless shelters, and after-school programs.
  • Projects that improve the community's infrastructure, such as parks, libraries, and community centers.
  • Initiatives that promote social change, such as those that address poverty, hunger, or education inequality.

Dollars for Doers

Dollars for Doers is a type of corporate giving program in which a company provides monetary grants to nonprofits where its employees regularly volunteer.

Here are some of the benefits of Dollars for Doers programs for both companies and nonprofits:

  • Companies:
  • Increased employee engagement and morale
  • Improved company reputation
  • Tax benefits
  • Nonprofits:
  • Increased funding
  • Increased visibility
  • Increased volunteerism

Team Volunteer Grants

A team volunteer grant is a type of corporate giving program in which a company provides a monetary donation to a nonprofit organization when a group of employees volunteer together. These programs are designed to encourage team building, community service, and employee engagement.

There are many different types of team volunteer grants available, each with its own set of eligibility requirements and benefits. Some companies offer grants for any team of employees who volunteer together, while others require that teams meet certain criteria, such as a minimum number of volunteer hours or a specific type of service.

Volunteer Support Programs

Volunteer support programs are designed to help volunteers find, prepare for, and succeed in their volunteer roles. These programs can provide volunteers with a variety of resources, such as training, orientation, and support networks.

There are many different types of volunteer support programs available, each with its own focus and target audience. Some programs are designed for specific groups of volunteers, such as new volunteers, young volunteers, or volunteers with disabilities. Other programs are designed to provide support for specific types of volunteer work, such as disaster relief, environmental conservation, or social justice.

Annual Giving

Annual giving is a type of fundraising that focuses on raising money from individuals on an ongoing basis throughout the year. It is a critical component of a nonprofit's fundraising strategy, as it can provide a steady stream of income to support the organization's ongoing programs and services.

Annual Grant Stipends

An annual grant stipend is a type of grant that is awarded to individuals or organizations on an annual basis. These grants are typically used to support ongoing programs or activities, rather than one-time projects.

There are many different types of annual grant stipends available, each with its own eligibility requirements and benefits. Some grants are open to all applicants, while others are only available to specific groups of people, such as students, artists, or nonprofit organizations.

Internal Employee Fundraising

Internal employee fundraising is a type of fundraising that takes place within a company. It is a way for employees to come together and raise money for a cause that they care about.

There are many different ways to raise money through internal employee fundraising. Some common methods include:

  • Donation campaigns: Employees can donate money directly to the cause.
  • Matching gifts: Companies can match employee donations, which can double or triple the amount of money raised.
  • Volunteerism: Employees can volunteer their time to the cause.
  • Product sales: Employees can sell products or services to raise money for the cause.
  • Special events: Companies can host special events, such as bake sales or walk-a-thons, to raise money for the cause.

Employee Product Donation Programs (EPDP)

An Employee Product Donation Program (EPDP) is a corporate giving program that allows employees to donate company products to nonprofit organizations. EPDPs are a great way for companies to give back to their communities and to engage their employees in philanthropy.

There are many different ways that EPDPs can be structured. Some companies allow employees to donate any company product, while others only allow employees to donate specific products. Some companies also require employees to get approval from their manager before donating, while others do not.

How to start a corporate giving program for your company

Here are the steps on how to start a corporate giving program for your company:

  1. Set your goals. What do you want to achieve with your corporate giving program? Do you want to raise money for a specific cause, or do you want to encourage employee volunteerism? Once you know your goals, you can start to develop a plan.
  2. Choose a cause. What cause is important to your company and its employees? Once you've chosen a cause, you can start researching nonprofits working to address that issue.
  3. Develop a plan. How will you raise money or encourage employee volunteerism? What are your timeline and budget? Once you have a plan, you can start to put it into action.
  4. Promote your program. Let your employees know about your corporate giving program and how to get involved. You can promote your program through company newsletters, social media, and other channels.
  5. Measure your results. How much money did you raise? How many employees volunteered? How did your program impact the cause you were supporting? By measuring your results, you can see how effective your program is and make adjustments as needed.

Here are some additional tips for starting a corporate giving program:

  • Get buy-in from senior leadership. It's important to have the support of senior leadership in order to make your corporate giving program a success.
  • Involve employees. Employees are more likely to be engaged in a corporate giving program if they feel they have a say in its run.
  • Make it easy for employees to give. The easier it is for employees to give, the more likely they are to do so.
  • Track your results. It's important to track your results to see how effective your corporate giving program is.

How does corporate giving affect employees?

Corporate giving can have a number of positive effects on employees, including:

  • Increased employee engagement: Employees who feel like their company is giving back to the community are more likely to be engaged in their work and to feel a sense of pride in their employer.
  • Improved morale: Employees who feel their company is making a difference in the world are likelier to be happy and motivated at work.
  • Reduced turnover: Employees who feel like their company is committed to social responsibility are more likely to stay with their employer for the long term.
  • Increased productivity: Employees who feel their work is meaningful are more likely to be productive and go the extra mile.
  • Improved reputation: Companies known for their corporate giving programs are often seen as more reputable and trustworthy by customers, investors, and the general public.

In addition to these direct benefits, corporate giving can also have a number of indirect benefits for employees. For example, employees who are engaged in their work and who feel like they are making a difference in the world are more likely to be healthy and happy. They are also more likely to be involved in their communities and to be positive role models for their children.

Overall, corporate giving can be a win-win for both companies and employees. It can help companies to improve their bottom line, their reputation, and their employee morale. It can also help employees to feel good about their work and to make a difference in the world.

How companies can benefit more from their corporate giving?

Companies can benefit more from their corporate giving in a number of ways. Here are a few tips:

  1. Choose a cause that is aligned with your company's values. When employees see that their company is giving back to causes that they care about, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated.
  2. Get employees involved. Employees are more likely to be supportive of a corporate giving program if they feel like they have a say in how it's run. Consider allowing employees to vote on which causes the company supports, or to volunteer their time to local charities.
  3. Measure your results. It's important to track the impact of your corporate giving program so you can see how it's benefiting your company and the community. This will help you to justify your investment and to make improvements as needed.
  4. Get the word out. Let your customers, investors, and the general public know about your corporate giving program. This will help to improve your company's reputation and attract new business.

By following these tips, you can make sure that your corporate giving program is both effective and beneficial for your company.

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Unlocking Philanthropy: A Ready-to-Use Corporate Giving Policy for Modern Businesses

Sample Corporate Giving Policy You Can Use Today

In today’s socially conscious environment, more companies than ever are recognizing the value of corporate philanthropy. Not only can a robust giving policy boost a brand’s image and reputation, but it can also play a pivotal role in community development and global betterment. If your company is considering the establishment of a formal corporate giving policy or refining its existing strategy, this sample policy might be the perfect starting point for you.

Download Sample Policy

Pillars of a Strong Corporate Giving Policy

Corporate giving programs range from employer donation matching programs to full blown corporate social responsibility programs with grantmaking and volunteerism.  Many companies find somewhere in the middle that aligns with their size, budget, geographic presence and most importantly company values and commitment to diversity and inclusion. But what truly makes a corporate giving policy stand out? Let’s delve into the key features, from donation matching to the strategic use of platforms like Groundswell.

1. Donation Matching: Doubling the Impact

One of the most effective tools in a giving policy is donation matching. This is where companies match employee donations to eligible non-profits, effectively doubling the contribution. Such programs not only amplify the impact but also motivate employees to participate, knowing their chosen cause will receive twice the support.

2. Charitable Stipends: Encouraging Employee Choice

Charitable stipends are allowances given to employees to donate to a non-profit of their choice. This not only encourages a culture of giving but also empowers employees to support causes they’re passionate about. The stipends can be a fixed amount annually or can vary based on the employee’s role or tenure.

3. Dollars for Doers: Volunteering Translated to Contributions

“Dollars for Doers” programs convert volunteer hours into monetary donations. When employees volunteer their time for a cause, the company makes a donation equivalent to the hours spent. This fosters a culture of hands-on involvement and ensures that both time and money are being donated to valuable initiatives.

4. Corporate Grants: Sowing Seeds for Bigger Change

Beyond individual employee contributions, companies can set aside a dedicated fund for corporate grants. These grants can be given to non-profits, research initiatives, or community projects that align with the company’s CSR objectives. Such grants can lead to substantial, long-term changes and foster strong partnerships with community leaders and organizations.

Why Choose Groundswell for Your Giving Initiatives?

Incorporating these elements into a giving policy requires streamlined management, transparency, and ease of execution. This is where platforms like Groundswell come into the picture.

Groundswell offers an efficient and affordable solution for companies aiming to elevate their philanthropic endeavors. Here’s why it’s the ideal choice:

  • User-Friendly Interface: Groundswell’s platform is designed for both companies and employees, ensuring smooth navigation and straightforward donation processes.
  • Versatility: Whether it’s donation matching, handling charitable stipends, or managing corporate grants, Groundswell offers solutions tailored to each company’s unique needs.
  • Cost-Effective: Groundswell provides a comprehensive suite of tools at competitive prices, ensuring that more of your money goes towards the cause rather than platform fees.
  • Transparency: Track donations, monitor employee involvement, and generate detailed reports to measure the impact—all in one place.

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An effective corporate giving policy is a blend of structure, employee engagement, and impactful contributions. By incorporating elements like donation matching, charitable stipends, “Dollars for Doers,” and corporate grants, businesses can create a ripple effect of positive change. And with platforms like Groundswell, executing these initiatives becomes not just feasible but also highly efficient and cost-effective.

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5 Tips to Boost Engagement & Impact on Giving Tuesday

Leverage GivingTuesday to boost generosity

Every November, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving is known as GivingTuesday, which often serves as the unofficial start of end-of-year giving campaigns. This comes on the heels of holiday shopping deals on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. It is a worldwide phenomenon, inspiring millions to lean into the end-of-year holiday spirit with generosity and compassion. For many charities, GivingTuesday has become their biggest day for donations – and can help resource their ability to have an even greater impact in the year ahead.

For companies, GivingTuesday and the end-of-year giving season offers an opportunity to double down on their commitment to social responsibility, strengthen relationships with employees, and boost their impact in the community and broader world.

At Groundswell, we partner with companies all across the country to design and launch GivingTuesday campaigns – leveraging our easy-to-use platform that makes it easy for employees to participate and send donations to the causes and charities that they care most about. Below are some best practices to boost engagement and inspire generosity during the giving season.

1. Make Giving Easy:

A lot of giving platforms out there make it incredibly hard to donate. Some don’t have all 1.5 million IRS-approved charities listed. Others require employees to navigate through a web of intranet or sharepoint sites to find the giving program landing page. And others require that HR is notified of any donations an employee wants to make. At Groundswell – we are committed to removing all of the friction, and ensuring that employees can find charities easily, through a platform that is accessible from the palm of their hand, so they can give whenever they want to.

2. Launch a GivingTuesday Match Campaign:

Through Groundswell you can customize and launch a special GivingTuesday match campaign in a matter of minutes. Simply pick the nonprofits to include in the special campaign, select the start and end-date for the campaign, and then determine the match – 2x, 3x – along with any overall budget limits, then you’re done!

3. Boost engagement by involving ERGs:

Share nonprofit recommendations from Employee Resource Groups to provide inspiration around causes and nonprofits that matter to your employees. You can feature these nonprofits on dedicated ERG Corporate Spotlights and Campaigns that will be visible to all employees on their Groundswell dashboard.

4. Surprise (and Delight) Employees With A Gift to Give:

Consider sending a surprise “gift to give” to reward those already participating in your giving program (and to incentivize others to enroll). These gifts might be used to further maximize impact through the existing campaign, or to donate to other nonprofits your employees care about. Groundswell’s custom gift feature allows companies to easily schedule and send gifts with little to no administrative burden.

5. Level up with Volunteer Matching:

Groundswell’s Volunteer Matching program – sometimes known as Dollars for Doers – recognizes that some employees may not have funds to contribute, but have time – and rewards them in the same way. It’s an inclusive approach that invites everyone to participate in GivingTuesday, even those who may not be able to donate their own funds.

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12 Employee Benefits Survey Questions Modern Companies Should Ask

In today's business environment, having the right and highest performing talent is more critical than ever. With benefits packages playing a vital role in these decisions, how can companies truly gauge their effectiveness? By initiating regular employee benefits surveys.

Scroll down for a free survey template below.

Let's dive in to the importance of asking the following questions.

Is our workforce satisfied with the current employee benefits package?

Gaining insights from "how satisfied are you with our company’s benefits package?" can offer companies a quick pulse on the effectiveness of their benefits. A dip in satisfaction might signal a need for re-evaluation, especially if you're looking to maximize your budget.

How comprehensive are the employee benefits we offer?

Do employees feel that the organization covers a wide range of their needs? Asking, "do you feel our benefits package is comprehensive in its offering?" can shed light on any potential gaps in coverage.

Are we showing true commitment to Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion through our benefits?

Are the company's efforts in promoting DE&I resonating? This can be gauged by asking if the benefits genuinely support diversity and inclusion. If they aren't, here's an opportunity to collect ideas directly from your employees.

Read more about how to make sure your giving program is equitable and inclusive.

Do our benefits reflect our company culture and values?

The question, "do you feel our benefits package supports our cultural values?" will highlight any potential discrepancies in practicing what you're preaching.

Did you know? Two-thirds of employees say it’s important for a company to align to their values.

Are we catering to the needs of a remote or multi-location workforce?

With remote work on the rise, is the company adapting its benefits accordingly? It's essential to find out if employees feel supported, regardless of their work setting.

Would employees recommend the company based on our benefits?

This is an easy one to skip, but it's a great question to ask. See how influential your benefits package is for employee referrals. Determining if employees would advocate for the company based on its benefits can be a key metric for recruitment.

How do specific benefit categories fare?

By querying satisfaction levels across various benefits – physical health, social impact, mental health, financial health, and fringe benefits – can companies discern which areas are thriving and which need enhancement?

What additional benefits do employees desire?

Is there a particular benefit that could make a difference in employee satisfaction and retention? Discovering this can be as straightforward as asking, "if you could choose one benefit not currently offered, what would it be?"

If your workforce desires a more meaningful benefit, see why decentralizing your corporate philanthropy strategy can achieve greater impact at scale.

How often should I send an employee survey about our benefits?

While every business has their own set of unique needs, conducing a quarterly employee survey at minimum can help you get a pulse check.

There will be some natural and unplanned peaks in valleys throughout the year that can drastically affect employee morale and company culture. By proactively seeking feedback through surveys, companies can foster a culture of continuous improvement, ensuring they remain at the forefront of employee satisfaction.

What are some affordable benefit options we can provide employees?

Corporate matching or giving programs can be a low-cost addition to your benefit offering that supports your employees’ unique passions and perspectives through charitable giving and boosts your company’s commitment to social impact.  Groundswell offers a comprehensive solution with a simple implementation and nearly zero administration burden.

[Free Template] Employee Benefits Survey Questions

  1. How satisfied are you with our company’s benefits package?
  2. Do you feel our benefits package is comprehensive in its offering?
  3. Do you feel our benefits package supports our cultural values?
  4. Do you feel our benefits package supports our commitment to Diversity & Inclusion?
  5. Do you feel our benefits package supports our remote or multi-location workforce?
  6. How likely are you to recommend applying based on our benefits package?
  7. How satisfied are you with our physical health benefits (i.e. health care, sick leave, etc)?
  8. How satisfied are you with our social impact benefits (i.e. corporate matching, volunteering, etc)?
  9. How satisfied are you with our mental health benefits (i.e. vacation time, EAP, etc)?
  10. How satisfied are you with our financial health benefits? (i.e. retirement, student loan assistance, etc)
  11. How satisfied are you with our fringe benefits and perks? (i.e. fitness subsidies, stipends, etc)
  12. If you could choose one benefit not currently offered, what would it be?
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