Have participation rates and enthusiasm for your employee giving program decreased? If so, you aren’t alone. According to the recent Classy.org study “Why America Gives”, economic uncertainty has impacted the lives of many donors. A survey conducted by the American Psychological Association revealed 64% of adults say money is a significant source of stress in their life.

This may have impacted participation in giving programs in recent years. However, charitable donations are back up with upper-income Americans now returning to pre-pandemic rates, according to Gallup. And giving rates among lower- and middle-income Americans are only slightly below where they were pre-pandemic. Furthermore, corporate charitable fundraising statistics provided by Double the Donation found that overall giving has grown 4.1% over past years.

That means there are plenty of willing, dedicated givers out there, many of whom are at your workplace and eager for engagement. So, your decrease in participation may be more of an indicator of program relevance and engagement than a reluctance to give. According to Forbes, about 85% of campaign administrators say that keeping their employee giving campaigns fresh is one of their top challenges when administering their programs.

The good news is that having an effective and engaging giving campaign doesn’t usually require a major overhaul. In fact, a simple refresh or enhancement of your campaign may be all it takes to achieve an increase in overall workplace giving results.

Here are three factors for you to consider…

Evolve Your Approach
Successful, effective workplace giving programs must evolve to attract employees in today’s diverse, everchanging workforce. The saying “if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you will keep getting what you’ve always gotten” does not apply to workplace giving campaigns. Long gone are the days of being able to press play on your campaign and expect an immediate response.

The need to rethink how to connect and engage workers in virtual and hybrid work environments will continue into the 2023 campaign season. Employees are no longer just looking for a paycheck. They want to work for companies that invite participation, offer choice and support their values.

Establishing a workplace giving program that understands and meets employee needs and interests is a great way to send a message to employees they are valued. Furthermore, according to a 2021 engagement study by Benevity, turnover is reduced by an average of 57% amongst employees who engage in workplace giving and volunteering.

With some offices returning to work for a few days a week, be strategic with planning in-person events to bring employees together when possible. It will not only serve to build community but for some, it will be a welcome reminder of the campaign events of yesteryear.

Employees and nonprofit representatives interacting at a November 2022 campaign kickoff charity fair.

Encourage Employee Engagement
Gallup describes employee engagement as the involvement and enthusiasm of employees in both their work and workplace. According to their 2022 indicators, employee engagement has remained stable but low since the pandemic with only 33% of employees feeling actively engaged, leaving close to 70% of employees reporting they aren’t fully engaged. However, companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202%.

Engaged employees are happier, stay with companies longer and are more philanthropically minded. Your workplace giving program is an ideal way to keep your employees engaged. When companies offer accessible ways for employees to get involved in philanthropic endeavors, whether that’s through matching gifts, corporate volunteerism or other forms of nonprofit support, employees will be more likely to participate. Employees are even more inclined to partake when those companies support causes their employees care about and offer fun, interactive events and organized activities, such as giving drives for special events.

Consider starting your giving season, quarter or campaign with a high-energy kick-off celebration or special event that gives employees the chance to learn more about causes they’re interested in supporting, interact with their colleagues (in person or virtually), and have fun – all while creating a contagious enthusiasm for giving. And a creative use of games, giveaways and raffles tends to encourage attendance and participation.

One organization worth spotlighting for their engagement efforts during the 2022 campaign season is the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Upon returning to a hybrid work schedule after two years of working remotely due to the pandemic, organizers from the IMF decided hosting a volunteer kit-packing event would be an impactful, energizing way to engage and welcome staff back to the office.

After some planning and coordination with one of our Charity Alliance partners, MAP International, hundreds of IMF staff came together, donned in masks and matching blue IMF t-shirts, and packed 2,500 hygiene kits for victims of disasters around the world. Check out more in this post from IMF.

Microsoft is another example of a company who has found value in engaging their employees via having an employee-driven giving program. Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Giving has become core to Microsoft’s culture and how they live that mission.

In fiscal year 2022, Microsoft’s U.S. employees rallied together to donate $255 million (inclusive of the company match) to over 32,000 nonprofits.

Here’s how they maximize employee engagement in giving:
We believe our employees’ time, money and skills are valuable resources to help nonprofits accelerate their missions. Our employees take part in fundraising opportunities, special projects with their work teams or families and friends, micro-volunteering, and they donate time with their professional skills. Because of the Microsoft Give Match, employees are empowered to do more for the causes they care about.”

To support their employees’ passion for giving, Microsoft matches employee donations of time and money to nonprofit organizations. Each October, their fun and spirited employee giving campaign — a tradition since 1983 — makes a significant annual impact in addition to generous giving year-round.

I had the privilege of witnessing firsthand a Microsoft employee-initiated collaboration during their GIVE month of October 2022 with one of our Charity Alliance partners, Compassion International.

Compassion was invited to attend Microsoft’s Azure Employee Fair where they spoke to hundreds of employees and had about 150 employees go through the Compassion Virtual Reality experience. As a result of that endeavor initiated by one Microsoft employee, nearly $80,000 was raised in gifts and matching gifts for Compassion, 30 letters were written for children at Compassion, and they are currently planning on funding two youth development projects. The first project is a technical school where youth are learning skills like mechanics, sewing, baking, cosmetology, electrical, etc. The second project is a continuing education course where youth learn to be graphic designers and start their own consulting businesses.

They are already working on plans for Microsoft’s October 2023 GIVE event. Additionally, they will hold a fundraiser/webinar for the global food crisis, as well as another letter writing activity to encourage Compassion’s frontline staff responding to this crisis.

Ease in Participation
An essential key to increasing employee participation⁠ in (and satisfaction with) your workplace giving program is providing clear, effective employee communication along with making it convenient and as easy as possible for employees to get involved and complete their donation.

Today’s latest tech platforms make it easy for employees to make donations, submit requests for matching donations and track their giving for end-of-year tax reporting.

Employees may also find value in easily accessible campaign selector sites where they can browse through participating charities currently serving in cause areas they are passionate about.

Before launching your next campaign, examine your workplace giving process from the perspective of your employees by asking yourself the following questions:

  • How convenient is it for our employees to give?
  • Are our current giving platforms up to date and appealing to our employees?
  • Do we offer online and mobile-friendly giving options?
  • Are we offering our employees more opt-out or opt-in options? Ensure employees are aware of the option to allow charities to engage with them further.
  • Are our employees aware of our match option? If you don’t currently have a corporate match program, consider offering one.

Eighty-four percent of donors say they’re more likely to give if a match is offered, and one in three say they would give a larger gift if matching were applied to their donation. (Source: Double the Donation’s Review of Matching Gift Programs).

There’s no time like the present to consider refreshing your approach. Reach out to us at [email protected] for assistance in refreshing your workplace campaign and increasing employee engagement. One of our Campaign Engagement professionals are happy to connect with you. We also invite you to check out our helpful resources on our Employee Giving Hub.