Workplace Giving Program: 23 Ways to Increase Employee Participation

This blog post is the first of three in our series on employee participation in workplace giving programs.  You can check out Part Two here and stay tuned for Part Three!

Now that digital workplace giving solutions are available for smaller corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs, “giving back” is a powerful way for companies of all sizes to engage employees in charitable initiatives and advance their CSR goals. They are also an important growth area for nonprofit strategic alliance and corporate partnership teams since over 26 million individuals work for companies with matching gift programs.

Watch: Tapping into strong corporate partnerships

But like anything else, effective workplace giving programs are not as simple as: “Build it, and they will come.”  Double The Donation shares data that 8 out of 10 (78%) employees don’t know the specifics of their program or if their company even offers a matching gift program. Of those who are aware their company has a program, only 8% know if they’re eligible and understand how to submit their matching gift request. This results in an estimated $4 – $7 billion in matching gift funds going unclaimed per year.

It’s clear that program success hinges on employees knowing about the program. Running your match program through payroll with effective promotion and communication is also key.

Let’s explore some of the challenges companies face when it comes to promoting their workplace giving programs to employees and creative ways to overcome them!




What's a Good Workplace Giving Program Participation Rate?

Workplace giving participation rates vary depending on the industry, company size, and employee demographics. America’s Charities Corporate Benchmarking Analysis found that 1 in 10 (10%) employees participate on average in employer matching gift programs. Chief Executives for Corporate Purpose® (CECP) Snapshot Employer Report found the average corporate volunteer participation rate is 33%. Some of the best programs report 65% employee participation, with nearly 8 in 10 (79%) companies planning to ramp up their programs.

Keep in mind:

  • What constitutes a “good” participation rate is also influenced by the specific goals and objectives of a company’s workplace giving program.

  • Some organizations may set higher or lower targets based on their unique circumstances and the nature of their giving initiatives.

  • Rewards reach beyond the community pact of the dollars and volunteer hours donated: Re:Charity found that employees who engage in corporate giving programs tend to have 75% longer tenures with their employers.


11 Challenges to Driving Employee Participation in Workplace Giving Programs

Even with the best of intentions – and a general desire for these sorts of programs by today’s workforce – encouraging employee participation in workplace giving programs has its challenges for several reasons:

  •       Lack of Awareness: Employees may not be aware of the existence of the workplace giving program or may not fully understand how it works.

  • Misconceptions or Mistrust: Some employees may have misconceptions about how their donations will be used, or they may be skeptical about the transparency and impact of the program.

  •       Competing Priorities: Employees may have busy schedules and may not prioritize participating in the giving program over their day-to-day responsibilities.

  •       Personal Financial Constraints: Some employees may have limited disposable income and may feel they cannot afford to participate in workplace giving programs.

  •       Disconnection from Causes: Employees may not feel personally connected to the causes or organizations supported by the giving program, which can reduce their motivation to participate.

  •       Lack of Alignment with Values: If the chosen causes do not align with the values and interests of the employees, they may be less inclined to participate.

  •       Communication Challenges: If the program is not effectively communicated or promoted, employees may not fully understand its purpose or the impact it can have.

  •       Inadequate Incentives or Recognition: Employees may feel that their contributions are not sufficiently acknowledged or rewarded, which can decrease motivation to participate.

  •       Cultural or Organizational Barriers: The company culture or work environment may not sufficiently encourage or prioritize philanthropic activities.

  •       Previous Negative Experiences: If employees have had negative experiences with workplace giving programs in the past, they may be hesitant to participate again.

  •       Privacy Concerns: Some employees may be uncomfortable with the level of transparency required to participate in workplace giving programs.

It's important for companies to listen to their employees' feedback and adjust their approach to make the workplace giving program more accessible, transparent, and aligned with employees' values and interests.

Book a convo with a Workplace Giving Expert now!


23 Fun Ways to Promote Your Workplace Giving Program

While not all of those challenges are solved through a multi-touch promotion plan – especially those that are reflective of larger cultural items – effective communication plans really do move the needle when it comes to driving employee participation. Promoting a workplace giving program effectively involves a multi-faceted approach that combines electronic and physical communications. Here are 23 ideas to help companies promote their workplace giving program to employees.


Digital Communications

  1. Dedicated Email Campaigns

Send out a series of informative emails about the workplace giving program. Highlight its benefits, how it works, and success stories from employees who have participated.

  1. Intranet or Company Website Banner

Place a prominent banner or section on the company's intranet that directs employees to information about the giving program. Lean heavily on your program’s name and branding to help with awareness and word of mouth.

  1. Social Media Posts and Challenge

Leverage the company's social media platforms to share updates about the giving program. Encourage employees to share their participation and success stories and create challenges to increase employee engagement. Set up a little friendly competition to yield higher participation rates by creating “teams” like:

-        Department(s) versus Department(s)

-        Branch location versus Branch location

-        Facility versus Facility   

* Don’t forget to add a fun incentive to whoever wins, like a pizza party, group lunch, or gift cards!

  1. Video Messages

Record short video messages from company leaders or program ambassadors discussing the importance of the giving program. You may even consider asking volunteers to record a video about their experiences to further expand on the impact of the program. Have some fun with these! People enjoy the authentic approach that showcases the ‘real you.’ 

  1. Podcasts

Create a series of podcast episodes featuring interviews with employees who have participated in the program or with beneficiaries of the program. Similar to the videos, these are great to spotlight in a company newsletter, intranet, and break room bulletin boards (don’t forget to add a QR code for easy access to your workplace giving microsite).

  1. Webinars and Virtual Information Sessions

Host webinars or virtual sessions to educate employees about the program. Invite representatives from the chosen charitable organizations to share their missions and impact.

  1. Interactive Quizzes or Polls

Use online tools to engage employees and test their knowledge about nonprofits' giving programs and/or impact. To encourage participation, consider giving everyone who gets over a specific score a $5 gift card or additional dollars to allocate to a charity through the program.

  1. Personalized Giving Dashboards

Provide employees with a digital platform where they can track their contributions and see the impact they're making. The dashboard helps build trust through transparency of their donation status.

  1. Email Signatures and Banners

Encourage program leaders, HR/payroll team members, and program ambassadors to add a small banner or message about the giving program in their email signatures.

  1. E-Newsletters

Regularly send out e-newsletters with updates, success stories, and reminders about the giving program.

  1. Online Forums or Discussion Boards

Create a dedicated space (Slack, Microsoft Teams, etc.) for employees to discuss and share their experiences with the giving program. Encourage them to ask questions and provide feedback.


Physical Communications

  1. Posters and Flyers

Design eye-catching posters and flyers to display in common areas such as break rooms, meeting rooms, and hallways. Include QR codes or links to easily access more information.

  1. Payroll Stuffers

Include information about the giving program along with paychecks or pay stubs.

  1. Desk Drops and Snail Mail

Leave informative materials about the giving program on employees' desks or mail them to their homes. Include a personal touch, like a handwritten note or a small token of appreciation.

  1. Bulletin Board Displays

Set up a designated bulletin board with information about the giving program. Regularly update it with success stories, progress updates, and upcoming events.

  1. Table Tents and Informational Brochures

Set up small table tents in communal areas with quick facts and information about the program and its impact. Print out informative materials about the giving program and distribute them to employees.


Face-to-Face Communications

  1. Employee Events and Workshops

Host workshops or events (virtual or in-person) focused on giving back to the community. Use these opportunities to introduce and promote the workplace giving program.

  1. Employee Ambassadors or Champions

Identify and empower enthusiastic employees to serve as ambassadors for the giving program. They can help spread the word, answer questions, and inspire their colleagues to participate.

  1. Employee Resource Groups (ERG)

Coordinate with your ERGs to help spread the word within the group and their peers. Throughout the company.

  1. Lunch-and-Learn Sessions

Everyone loves free lunch! Host sessions where employees can have lunch while learning about the giving program.

  1. Ice Cream Social

Host an ice cream social for employees who have signed up for the campaign. Even if they don’t want to give, they can go in and say, ‘No Thanks.’ This is still important to track. Even though they said no, it still counts as a response to your efforts. This idea can be transformed into any number of other ideas, such as a ‘bagel brunch.’

  1. Employee Appreciation Events

Incorporate information about the giving program into events that celebrate and appreciate employees.

  1. Volunteer Opportunities

Organize volunteer activities that allow employees to engage with the beneficiaries of the giving program directly. These are awesome team-building opportunities. Check out these ideas for organizing a company volunteering event.

Grab your copy: Ultimate Handbook on Workplace Volunteering Programs


Last Words on Promoting Your Workplace Giving Program to Employees

Remember to tailor these 23 ideas to your company's culture and the preferences of your employees. Consistency and variety are key. Try out a mix of these strategies over time to ensure that employees are continually engaged and informed about the workplace giving program. Additionally, make sure to track and share the impact of the program regularly to reinforce its importance and effectiveness.


Stay tuned for part two and part three of our series on employee engagement in workplace giving programs that cover everything from communication schedules to effective email templates!


Workplace Giving Program FAQs

Here are some of the frequently asked questions about workplace giving programs.

Why Should My Company Have a Workplace Giving Program?

A workplace giving program creates a sense of community among employees as they support charitable causes together. This boosts morale and makes for a positive work environment. A workplace giving program can attract and retain top talent since more employees want to work for socially responsible companies. Plus, participating in a workplace giving program allows employees to give back to their communities and make a difference in others' lives.


How Can I Measure the Success of a Workplace Giving Program?

Measuring the success of a workplace giving program is done by tracking participation rates, employee satisfaction, and engagement, which can be gauged through surveys. It's also important to track the impact and outcomes of the program like the amount of money raised or volunteer hours contributed, and assess how these contributions affect the community or causes.


How Often Should a Workplace Giving Program Be Evaluated and Updated?

Workplace giving programs should be evaluated and updated regularly to ensure they're effective and relevant. The frequency of evaluation can vary depending on the organization's size, program complexity, and available resources. But, it's generally recommended to evaluate workplace giving programs once a year or at least every few years. Regular updates might also mean changing program goals, supporting charitable causes, or using new technology to make giving easier.


How to Engage Employees Who May Not Be Able to Contribute Financially?

Financial contributions are important, but other ways exist to engage these employees. Encourage them to volunteer or donate their time and skills. Organize volunteer events or offer flexible work hours for community service. Let employees know the impact of their contributions, regardless of their financial value. Regular communication and success stories can help them feel valued.


Can Workplace Giving Programs Be Integrated with Other CSR Initiatives? 

Yes, in fact, integrating workplace giving programs with other CSR initiatives can enhance the overall impact and effectiveness. Companies can develop a more comprehensive and integrated approach to their corporate social responsibility by integrating workplace giving programs with other CSR activities like volunteering programs, sustainability efforts, or diversity and inclusion initiatives. This integration enables workers to participate in various ways to positively influence society and the environment, generating a sense of fulfillment and purpose at work.


Boost Employee Engagement with Workplace Giving Tools by FrontStream

Our all-in-one corporate workplace giving, matching, and volunteering solution helps CRS programs—from small teams of one or two people to already-thriving, robust programs—elevate their impact and connect employees to causes they care about.  Talk with one of our experts to learn more about our workplace giving tools today!

Book a convo with a Workplace Giving Expert now!



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