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A Complete Guide to Corporate Giving Programs

by Emily Sugrue

What is workplace or corporate giving?

Workplace giving programs are typically sponsored by employers, allowing their employees to donate their time or resources to a cause that they care about. Numerous organizations undertake workplace giving programs in order to engage their employees and maximize social impact in their local communities. Some common workplace giving programs include employee volunteering, fundraising, or donating money from their paychecks to charity. 

In light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, interest in workplace giving and corporate social responsibility has spiked. More and more employees are looking for ways to give back to their communities, while recruits are looking to work for socially responsible organizations. Workplace giving programs are a sure-fire way to both engage current employees and attract top talent. 

How can a workplace giving program benefit your organization? 

Engaging in social philanthropy has obvious benefits for the communities in which organizations invest, but what benefits are there for the organizations themselves?

  1. It will improve your organization’s competitive advantage.

Corporate social responsibility is increasingly vital to potential recruits nowadays. By attracting top talent with your corporate giving programs as an incentive, you will improve your organization’s competitive advantage. Want to know more? Check out this blog we wrote about millennials and corporate volunteering.

  1. Invest in yourself by investing in your community.

Although it may seem like a pointless expense at first, investing in your local community will pay off in the long run. Improving opportunities and the quality of life in your local community allows local people and businesses to thrive. In the future, this allows for incredible talent and successful partnerships to rejoin your business environment, giving you a massive ROI in the long term. 

  1. Employee engagement, retention, and productivity.

Employees who get to participate in charitable activities tend to feel more connected to their employers, as well as fulfilled and engaged with their work. This means that they are more likely to remain working for the organization and will be more productive. Don’t just take our word for it. Check out this article from the Undercover Recruiter!

  1. It will improve your brand image.

By sponsoring causes that align with your brand image and values, you can create a positive association with your organization in your clients’ minds.

  1. Tax deductions. 

The majority of countries in the EU and North America offer tax deductions on donations made by corporations. 

How can you get started? Best practices and tips

Beginning a corporate giving program can be very complex. It is a multilayered process, from matching employees and their skillsets and interests to the right causes, to seeing the project through. But, just because the process is complex does not mean it can’t be done. When you drag your feet starting or revamping your program, you end up with employees that are disengaged and will look elsewhere for the causes they want to support. However, companies that are doing it right end up creating experiences for their employees and transforming them into recurrent donors, volunteer champions and real brand ambassadors. 

There are a lot of best practices when it comes to designing or revamping your giving program. The most important thing is to take action and understand: 

  • How exactly can you thank and recognize your employees?
  • What causes are most important to your employees?
  • How can you show the link between their actions and the impact, so that your employees are well informed of the necessity of their contributions? 

To help you make sure that your projects comply with these ideas, we have listed some best practices below. 

  • Allow your employees a certain number of volunteering hours per year.

Allowing your employees to volunteer on company time may not seem like a wise investment, but there are numerous benefits. Firstly, your employees will feel more connected to your organization and its values. Secondly, employees will be more engaged and therefore more productive. And finally, your employees will be appreciative of the fact that they are permitted to undertake these activities on company time, rather than in their personal time. 

  • Ask your employees which causes they would like to volunteer for.

One of the best ways to encourage your employees to participate in corporate giving programs is to make sure that the cause is something that they are interested in. The best way to find out? ASK! Employees appreciate it when their ideas and suggestions are seriously taken into consideration. They are much more likely to participate if they feel that they have contributed something to the project. 

  • Streamline employee giving by allowing them to donate straight from their paychecks.

This is one of the simpler ways to involve your employees in a corporate giving program. It’s a pretty hands-off way to contribute to the community. It’s very low involvement and does not take a lot of effort, yet still makes a big difference. Want to go that extra mile? Match your employees’ donations!

  • Offer employee volunteer grants or awards.

Recognizing the efforts of your employees is a great way to ensure that they become recurrent donors or volunteers. 

  • Set up an employee assistance fund.

Who better to invest in than your own people? One of the main things we learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is the importance of being prepared for an emergency. What better way to do that than with a fund set up in the case of another unprecedented event?

  • Do some office fundraising.

Not only is this a great way to give back to the local community, but it’s fun too! Get the whole office involved in raising funds for a cause close to their hearts. The sense of comradery that you get from fundraising together isn’t just beneficial for the fundraising project, but for morale and productivity too. There are some great examples from around the world on how to do this. For example, in the UK, millions of pounds are raised during the “World’s Biggest Coffee Morning”, where participants make and sell baked goods and coffee in order to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support. In Ireland, you have “Shave or Dye”, where participants are sponsored to shave or dye their hair in support of the Irish Cancer Society. Even us at Optimy will be participating in the Brussels 20k! Why not see what fundraising opportunities are near you and your office?

  • Adopt a software solution.

Adopting a software solution can streamline your corporate giving process and let you measure your social impact easily. Optimy can manage all your corporate philanthropy and workplace giving programs in one single platform. With Optimy, you can manage:

  • Grantmaking and sponsorship
  • Donations 
  • Employee workplace giving 
  • Volunteer management 
  • Scholarships
  • Reporting 

How can Optimy help you? 

Having trouble staying on top of your projects? Don’t know where to even start? Optimy can help you! 

  • Match employee profiles with the best projects.

Create profiles for your employees on our platform. By entering their skills, experience and interests, they can easily filter and select the projects that fit their needs the best. Your organization can then track your employees’ participation and impact, as well as get feedback which you can learn from for the next project. 

  • Effective project management

With the Optimy tool, you have the ability to budget, report, apply, and sort applications for your projects: all in one platform. This allows you to reduce the time spent on administrative tasks. Additionally, automation and filtering make choosing your projects and volunteers easier. We give you the ability to launch and promote campaigns for all causes, such as natural disasters or COVID-19 relief. 

  • Visualize the social impact of your projects.

Organize and store data on our secure, cloud-based platform. Export the data however you wish, whether it be in easily readable graphs, charts, Excel sheets, CVS, and much more. 

Don’t just take our word for it: check out how we helped Audi Belgium with their corporate giving program. Want to find out more? Contact us or request a demo today!