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Unleash the Power of Your Employee Giving Program: Best Practices Guide

Your Best Practices Guide for Maximizing Your Employee Giving Participation

This guide provides you with tools and tips to maximize employee participation in your giving program, not just when the program launches but throughout the entire year.

Leveraging our expertise in the social impact and nonprofit sectors, Groundswell is here to support you and your employees on your impact journey.


Employee giving programs can be a great way for companies to demonstrate their commitment to social responsibility, engage employees, and make a positive impact on the community. But too often, employees don’t take full advantage of the opportunities provided through their giving programs, leaving billions of funds unmatched every year. For some, this is due to either a lack of awareness about their company's giving program, or for others because an unwieldy donation portal and match process that leaves employees frustrated. Groundswell's technology brings corporate giving into the 21st century and unleashes the modern philanthropist in all of your employees.

Whether your goal is to grow the percentage of employees participating in your giving program, increase the amount of funds going to nonprofits, or to better understand the causes that matter most to your employees, these best practices can help you achieve those goals.

By reducing the administrative burden required to launch and implement a Giving Program, Groundswell frees you up to focus on what matters most: inspiring your employees and having a positive impact on the world through your company’s support for charitable causes.

6 Tips for Maximizing Participation in Your Employee Giving Program

1. Communicate Early and with Intention

Communication is a critical component of any successful giving program. We want you to have the tools to effectively share program details and encourage participation - whether launching a new employee giving program or transitioning from an existing one.

The key is to help employees understand why and how Groundswell fits into your company’s broader vision around corporate citizenship and employee engagement - and build enthusiasm around the potential to collectively have a positive impact on the world through donations to charities.

Program Launch Communications:

Here are some ways to think about the program launch. Depending on whether this is a new program or transitioning from an existing one, your adoption plan may change. You don’t want to inundate employees with too much information, while also providing them with the resources they need to successfully enroll in the program and easily engage on the platform.

  • Keep it short, and emphasize that the intent is to center employees in corporate philanthropy and make it as easy as possible for employees to give.
  • If the Giving Program is new: Why now? How does it align with your company’s values? Why is Groundswell a good fit for the company?
  • If the program is replacing an existing program: Why now? What’s different (and better) from the previous program? New matching or gifting features? It may also be helpful to highlight the tax effectiveness of the donor-advised fund model.

Monthly Program Communications

In order to encourage ongoing participation in your program, and for employees to take advantage of the gifts and matches offered by your company, we encourage monthly nudges to remind employees about the program.

Monthly Cause Spotlights

  • Start off the month by highlighting some timely causes - make sure to link to Groundswell-curated “Featured Cause” Portfolios that Groundswell uploads to the dashboard every month for a hand-off approach to spotlighting.
  • Share “Cause of the Month” information with employees, leveraging the toolkits found in Groundswell’s Resource Center.

Engagement & Impact Reporting

  • Utilize the data that you can find on your company Dashboard or download via CSV to highlight some of your company’s collective impact - including a percentage of employees enrolled, the total dollar amount that has been donated, as well as top nonprofit donation recipients and/or cause areas.
  • This helps employees see how their individual donations are having a larger impact as part of your company’s collective giving program.

2. Drive Early Adoption through Gifts

Gifts can be a terrific way to get employees to sign up and start using the Groundswell platform immediately. Here are a few tips on how to drive early adoption using the Gifting feature:

  • Launch with a one-time gift into employees’ Giving Accounts that will show up as soon as employees enroll. This can be a great way to create buzz about the program and empower employees to donate and make an impact immediately - even before they contribute their own funds to their Groundswell account.
  • Throughout the year, provide unexpected, ad hoc gifts into employees’ accounts - for work anniversaries, milestones, great performance, etc.
  • A way to make it fun is to do a lottery at All Hands meetings by randomly selecting an employee to receive $25 in their Groundswell account. Follow this link or reach out to the Groundswell Customer Success team to learn more.

3. Inspire Engagement through Matching

  • Set up a matching program that immediately doubles the impact when an employee puts funds into their Groundswell Giving Account. This creates a feeling of “we’re in this together” - and drives home the message about an equitable approach to corporate philanthropy.
  • A match program can run for an entire year, or be tailored to specific months.
  • With the Groundswell match happening at the point of contributing funds to the Groundswell account, employees can tangibly see and feel what it means to double the impact for the charities and causes that matter most to them.

4. Leverage Cause Campaigns & Respond to the Emergent Events

Planned Campaigns:

  • Utilize a Social Impact Cause Calendar to plan monthly or bi-monthly communications to employees highlighting specific causes - with resources to educate employees about the cause, and a curated list of nonprofits most relevant to the cause. You can refer to Groundswell’s monthly cause portfolios that are updated to reflect timely causes and issues.
  • Tip: Plan your annual budget to launch match campaigns focused on specific charities or cause areas throughout the year.

Unforeseen Events:

  • Utilize Groundswell’s curated list of best-in-class nonprofits responding to disasters in the United States or globally. Being able to quickly and confidently point your employees to vetted nonprofits to donate to shows that you are responsive as a company and empowering employees to take action in moments of crisis.
  • Tip: Keep a portion of your annual budget in reserve so that you can match employee donations and/or provide gifts to employees to expand the impact in response to the unforeseen emergency.

5. Engage Employee Resource Groups

Another mechanism to center employees in corporate philanthropy and recognize their own lived experiences: provide Employee Resource Groups (ERG) a platform to speak to key cause areas (e.g. AAPI Awareness, Black History Month, etc).

  • ERGs can take the opportunity to recommend nonprofits that they think are most effective and related to the cause, and share their commitment to specific causes with the tag-line “My cause is ____ “
  • Tip: Solicit recommendations from the Employee Resource Group for books to read, films, and documentaries to watch, and podcasts to listen to. This can generate a deeper understanding of causes and lead to engagement via donations to support the causes.

6. Lean Into End-of-Year Giving Spirit

30% of annual giving happens in December, with about 10% of all annual donations coming in the last three days of the year. For nonprofits, this can be a critical time to raise funds and prepare programming budgets for the next year.

You can leverage Groundswell's Giving Tuesday resources to launch an end-of-year donation campaign, featuring specific cause areas and nonprofits.

Tip: Set a budget aside for a surprise end-of-year gift - leveraging the fact that a large percentage of people prefer to donate at the end of the year.

Read related articles

Groundswell is your ally in corporate philanthropy.

Corporate giving programs aim to empower employees and help companies facilitate and support philanthropic efforts. As global access grows and corporations become more diverse, employee representation becomes an increasingly important subject.

Groundswell enables companies to lay the foundation for their employees to adopt a generous giving attitude towards charities and world-shaping efforts.

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