Employee Giving Strategies to Boost Year-End Impact

The end-of-year giving season is fast approaching, and for nonprofits and educational institutions, this marks a crucial time for fundraising. To maximize the full potential of this period, organizations must explore innovative strategies to drive engagement, increase conversions, and amplify their overall impact.

This guide will delve into actionable strategies to help organizations like yours elevate their fundraising with employee giving.

The Importance of End-of-Year Employee Giving

From heightened generosity around the holidays to end-of-year tax considerations and beyond, the so-called “Giving Season” is a golden opportunity for organizations to secure crucial support. A successful year-end fundraising campaign can prepare your team for a well-funded new year.

One potent but underutilized tool at your disposal during this time is employee giving⁠—a form of corporate philanthropy that directly engages a company’s staff. 

Incorporating employee giving opportunities⁠ in your year-end messaging can lead to higher levels of engagement, increased giving volume, and larger average donations. Plus, it allows your organization to reiterate your mission impact, making your messaging stand out from the crowd.

In this guide, we’ll explore several types of programs that your organization should be looking for⁠—especially heading into the giving season. These include:

  • Employee matching gift programs
  • Giving Tuesday corporate partnerships
  • Annual giving campaigns
  • In-kind donation drives
  • Corporate volunteerism [and volunteer grants!]
  • Automatic payroll deductions

1. Employee matching gift programs

Program overview: Employee matching gifts are a powerful tool for nonprofits, driving individual and corporate revenue alike. When a qualifying donor gives to a charitable organization, they can submit a match request to their employer. The company reviews the submission, ensures the donation adheres to its program guidelines, and disperses a matching gift to the same organization.

It essentially provides nonprofits with two donations for the cost of soliciting one!

Why it’s important at end-of-year: Promoting matching gifts becomes particularly crucial at the end of the year. Not only are supporters more motivated to donate during this time, but companies often establish year-end request deadlines for matches. That means that even gifts made early in the year may still qualify for matching⁠—but their submission windows are soon to close.

In addition, Double the Donation research indicates that individuals are more likely to give if they know a matching gift is available⁠. As a result, organizations tend to see a 71% increase in response rate and a 51% increase in average donation amount when matching gifts are mentioned.

2. GivingTuesday corporate partnerships

Program overview: GivingTuesday is one of the largest days of giving across the globe, inspiring “radical generosity” among millions. Establishing corporate partnerships prior can be an excellent way to amplify your organization’s efforts through new and exclusive employee giving opportunities.

Why it’s important at end-of-year: Many companies go above and beyond to give⁠ (and incentivize staff giving⁠) on GivingTuesday. For example, Warner Bros celebrates the international day of giving by providing each employee with a charitable donation stipend they can use to support a nonprofit of their choosing. And that’s in addition to their regular matching gift program! Other businesses may increase their match ratios, raise their donation limits, or introduce short-term matching gift initiatives⁠—even if they don’t typically match employee donations.

By partnering with a corporation during this period, you gain access to their employee base and increase the reach of your year-end fundraising efforts. These relationships can take various forms, including custom matching gift programs, event sponsorships, and more. But you’ll need to begin sourcing these partnerships ahead of Giving Tuesday to ensure all aspects of the programs are in place on the big day!

3. Annual giving campaigns

Program overview: An annual giving campaign is a short-term fundraising initiative hosted by a company in partnership with a specific nonprofit cause. It often involves rallying the company’s employees and encouraging them to give generously to reach a team-wide goal.

The company may enlist workplace benefits (e.g., casual dress Fridays, catered lunches, etc.) or gamification techniques (e.g., department challenges, leaderboards) to incentivize team member participation. After the campaign, funds raised are gifted to the organization on behalf of which the initiative was hosted.

Why it’s important at end-of-year: You know that the year’s end is a popular time for giving, and thus, is an excellent time for a company to host an annual giving campaign with significant results. By reaching out to corporate connections and pitching the idea of a joint end-of-year fundraising effort, you can develop a mutually beneficial relationship that continues driving impact long into the new year. It could even turn into an annually recurring partnership!

4. In-kind donation drives

Program overview: Donations from individuals and companies come in all shapes and sizes⁠, including in-kind gifts. By hosting an in-kind donation drive in collaboration with a corporate partner, you can solicit giving through tangible items⁠—like physical goods or services⁠—rather than monetary contributions.

Consider which types of gifts would best benefit your organization and its mission. Common ideas include canned or nonperishable food drives, clothing and shoe drives, school supply drives, toy drives, and more⁠—but the opportunities are endless.

Why it’s important at end-of-year: In-kind donation drives can be an excellent way for a company’s employees to provide tangible support to your organization. When you organize a donation drive at the end of the year, you can catch corporate staff in their gift-shopping season when they are more likely to participate.

Plus, it can be as easy as leaving a collection box at a corporate office or store and facilitating pick-up after the drive has run its course.

5. Corporate volunteerism [and volunteer grants!]

Program overview: Corporate volunteerism generally refers to groups of employees from a company volunteering their time and skills together to support a nonprofit cause. This support allows the organization to receive additional help at no cost and may include mission-related activities or administrative tasks.

However, other types of corporate volunteerism include VTO (paid volunteer time off) or volunteer grants (companies providing financial support to organizations where employees volunteer).

Why it’s important at end-of-year: The giving season inspires more than just monetary gifts. Many get inspired to support their favorite charities with their time, too⁠—which means you may receive an influx of volunteers ready and willing to support your cause. Additionally, companies often organize end-of-year team-building events, of which nonprofit volunteerism is a top choice!

And like matching gifts, many companies close their volunteer grant request windows at the end of the year. Thus, following up with eligible individuals at the end of the calendar year can encourage last-minute requests and boost the impact of your supporters’ previous efforts.

6. Automatic payroll deductions

Program overview: Automatic payroll deductions (also known as ‘payroll giving’ programs) involve an agreement where a portion of an employee’s salary is deducted and donated directly to a nonprofit cause.

For example, if Bob receives bi-weekly wages of $2,000, he may authorize his employer to transfer $50 to your organization each pay cycle. As a result, he would receive regular checks for $1,950, and at the end of the year, he’d have contributed $1,200 to your cause in a quick and easy way.

Why it’s important at end-of-year: Recurring donations are often the lifeblood of nonprofits and educational institutions, providing consistent income that helps balance out the ebbs and flows of fundraising throughout the year. Employee payroll deductions essentially provide a source of corporate-sponsored recurring donation revenue!

By encouraging donors to get set up with payroll-giving programs while they’re in the spirit of the year-end giving season, your organization can secure their support and kickstart their engagement for the coming year.

By implementing these strategies as GivingTuesday draws near, fundraising organizations like yours can boost their year-end engagement efforts and establish a solid foundation for future employee giving efforts.

Your supporters love making a difference for your cause, and they appreciate it when their employers get involved as well.