FundraisingNonprofit Technologies

4 Ways to Engage Donors through Employer Giving Programs

4 Mins read

For organizations looking to bring their fundraising revenue to the next level, prioritizing corporate philanthropy is the way to go. And within corporate philanthropy, employer giving (also known as workplace giving) programs enable causes to engage both for-profit business partners and individual donors at the same time. It’s a win-win!

Unfortunately, billions of dollars in available employer-giving revenue go unclaimed each year, largely due to a lack of involvement among eligible donors. As a result, many organizations are aiming to elevate employer giving programs as an impactful source of funding by promoting the opportunities to supporters and encouraging their audiences to get involved.

In this guide, we’ll cover four of the most impactful ways that nonprofits can do so. These include the following best practices:

  1. Educate donors about employer giving programs
  2. Highlight matching gift opportunities during the giving process
  3. Follow up with match-eligible donors post-transaction
  4. Thank your donors for participating in employer giving

The more you can engage donors through employer giving initiatives, the better results you’re likely to see from the programs. And doing so doesn’t have to be difficult, either. Let’s begin!

1. Educate donors about employer giving programs

The #1 reason why eligible donors fail to participate in their employers’ corporate giving programs is that they are never made aware of the programs’ existence in the first place. Thus, a logical first step for many organizations to take in order to increase funding from these programs is to educate supporters about the giving opportunities.

It’s a good idea to take a proactive approach to inform donors about these programs and where they can find out more. For example, some of the most common ways to promote employer giving include: 

  • Posting brief explainers and marketing content on your organization’s favorite social media channels.
  • Publishing more in-depth educational resources on your nonprofit website, such as a dedicated matching gift web page, a section within your “ways to give” page, highlight on your navigation menu, etc.

Two of the most commonly held types of employer giving programs (as well as some of the most popular opportunities among supporters and nonprofits alike) include corporate matching gifts and volunteer grants. But that’s not all⁠—other companies will offer initiatives such as paid volunteer time off, automatic paycheck deductions, employee donation stipends, and more.

2. Highlight matching gift opportunities during the giving process

It makes sense that donors are likely to be the most engaged with your organization and its cause while actively making a donation. That’s why directly during the giving process is one of the best opportunities a nonprofit has to promote employer giving programs (and specifically matching gifts).

Luckily, there are many effective ways to do this. Two of the most impactful methods for marketing matching gifts include:

  • Requesting employer data on your nonprofit’s donation page. Once your team knows the companies your donors work for, you can easily screen for employer giving program opportunities.
  • Providing company-specific employer giving information on the confirmation screen. For matching gifts, this should include matchable minimum and maximum donation amounts, match ratios, submission deadlines, types of qualifying nonprofits and employees, and even direct links to online request forms.

This way, immediately upon submitting their initial donations, donors can be encouraged to take the next (quick and simple!) steps involved with requesting a corporate match. Organizations will be able to leverage existing giving momentum, and individuals will be more likely to follow through!

3. Follow up with match-eligible donors post-transaction

Some of your donors will choose to take action and pursue workplace giving opportunities directly upon completing the giving process. Others, however, will need to be re-engaged down the line in order to drive participation. For the latter group, we recommend incorporating strategic digital communications to get back in touch with your match-eligible donors (as well as likely match-eligible or those with unknown eligibility).

Of course, you’ll certainly want to follow up with donors in the hours and days following the initial donation being made (hint: studies report the first twenty-four hours being the optimal time period for employer giving program communications).

However, belated follow-ups can be extremely effective for those who have yet to complete their giving process, too! For example, many organizations opt to highlight potential matching gift opportunities within year-end appeals, as many companies set their submission deadlines in alignment with the end of the calendar year.

4. Thank your donors for participating in employer giving

This last step is one that is often overlooked by organizations aiming to increase employer giving participation, but it’s an important one. After your team receives support from an employer in the form of a workplace giving contribution, be sure to go back to the individual and thank them for their above-and-beyond support of your organization.

Keep in mind, however, that it can sometimes be difficult to keep track of donors participating in employer giving programs and accurately connect incoming corporate dollars to those individuals. Because that’s the case, it’s a good idea to encourage your supporters to keep your organization in the loop throughout their request process.

For example, ask donors and volunteers to inform you when they’ve submitted their subsequent matching gift and volunteer grant requests. This way, you can more easily associate received matches and grants with the individuals who made those contributions possible and thank them as such. Doing so allows you to close the loop with the supporter, informing them that their workplace giving efforts were successful and beneficial to your cause.

From corporate matching gifts to dollars for doers and other employer giving programs, workplace giving enables donors to take a hands-on role in their companies’ philanthropic efforts. Donors love participating in the strategies to do more for the nonprofit missions they care about, businesses see improved levels of corporate social responsibility, and charitable organizations are better able to make their mark on the world.

And it all starts with the donor⁠—so be sure your audience is aware of available opportunities and encouraged to get involved. For new ways to engage your supporters and drive employer giving participation, begin by incorporating the above strategies in your overall fundraising plan. Good luck!