How to Develop Great Employee Giving Programs

Why Should You Launch an Employee Giving Program?

Often employees want to feel that their job has a purpose — not just in terms of what you design, sell or serve, but also when it comes to making the world a better place. If your business does good in the world, it helps you attract and retain staff because they’re far more invested in their work. Your company’s reputation will also rise as you give back, potentially winning more customers whose ethics align with your own. 

Employee giving programs allow your employees to support charities or social causes in their day-to-day jobs. This could consist of providing direct donations from their pre-tax wages or taking time out of their daily jobs to volunteer. You’ll find that more employees are willing to go the extra mile for you and your team if they can make a tangible difference for a social or environmental goal. 

Here we’ll explain everything you need to know about employee giving programs and how easyfundraising can work alongside them. 

What Makes an Employee Giving Program Worthwhile?

There are two major elements to a giving program that’s set up for success. They are: 

Clear Objectives and Guidelines

What do you want to support? How does philanthropy line up with your mission and vision for the business? Staying on-brand is important. A unified, coherent goal makes more sense for why your company would choose one cause over another. 

Additionally, you must consider the amount of time, money or manpower your organisation can feasibly spare for a charity or community project. For instance, you might set aside a day for volunteering every month — a date you can commit to. Or instead, you can advise on how much employees might consider donating from their payslips. Either way, ensure you aren’t pushing people to do more than they, or the business, may be able to afford. 

Thirdly, think about how you’re going to review outcomes. Monetary donations and volunteer hours can be totted up for a view on the impact you’ll make together. This can inform yearly or biannual assessments and encourage participation with new charity partners, as well as preparing worthy content for your social media marketing. 

Inclusivity and Flexibility

Everyone should be granted the same chance to participate, pause or avoid your employee giving program. At the outset, discuss how you’re going to communicate the benefits of the program and how all of your staff — regardless of region, role or cultural background — can opt in or out of it. You might want to find advocates who reflect the widest range of demographics in your business. 

Meanwhile, it pays to stay flexible, especially with regards to remote workers. With more people working remotely, digital contributions are becoming an increasingly key factor for an effective employee giving program. For example, easyfundraising is one avenue for giving back whenever your workforce chooses to, at a time and place that suits them. More on that soon! For now, think about options for making several kinds of donations or volunteer services — not just a single strict method. 

Steps to Develop an Effective Employee Giving Program

Every program will be subtly different, but we can break your approach down into three main phases: 

Step 1: Determine the Causes That Make Sense for Your Company

Gather your staff and business leaders together for a frank discussion of your core values. Then, ask yourself: 

  • What philanthropic work pushes that mission forward? For example, your business might be heavily investing in renewable materials and technology. A green charity – ecological preservation, litter picking, planting a tree, etc – could be a fantastic match. On the other hand, your business could be a powerful champion for finding overlooked talent and helping anyone succeed at life. In that case, you might want to explore donations to a homeless shelter or save a day each month for volunteering at a soup kitchen. 
  • Which organisations can I easily contact or support? Local initiatives will be much easier to link up with and align for in-person activities. Draw up a shortlist of groups in your community that share your ethical concerns and work out what they might need throughout the year. Elsewhere, it’s worth exploring platforms like ours for support on a much grander scale. Easyfundraising can connect your employees’ retail purchases to thousands of regional, national and global charities — at no extra cost when they’re shopping online. 

Step 2: Design the Program

You’ll have to know exactly how the employee giving program will function and thrive in the years to come. Therefore, it’s best to have a model for how to donate or volunteer, accounting for various options you can commit to. 

Here are some examples: 

  • Employees choose how much to deduct from their monthly paycheque. Since this is classified as a gift in kind, it’s tax-free through PAYE. Workers can choose their own percentages or one of several tiers that lock them in for six months, a year or more. When the period ends, they decide if they renew or not. 
  • You match donations yourself from overall company profits, like a pension scheme. The maximum percentage might be lower than the first option to keep these contributions affordable. 
  • Instead of adding employees to monthly payment plans, you promote and stir interest for seasonal targets — perhaps when the company is due to bring in more revenue than usual. Autumn is a popular kick-off point since people tend to feel more generous in the run-up to Christmas. 
  • Volunteers select available dates on a digital calendar for volunteering at a certain charity, capping at a number of people on the same day at the same location. You send the initial alert three weeks or so before the charity work begins, and several alerts as the date nears. 

Step 3: Implement the Program

Try to allow for several months between announcing the employee giving program and launching it. Why? Because you might change course in the interim or discover that the blueprint you’ve designed isn’t inclusive or practical for some of your workers. 

If you’re confident in what’s ahead, showcase your program with a build-up on social media and potentially a blog or interview series. Create a group chat dedicated to the program. Send an email several days before the first donations or volunteers are scheduled, so your employees are talking about it. You might even want to enter people into a prize draw for the largest contribution, or establish a Volunteer of the Month award. 

Maintain and Improve Your Employee Giving Program

To help your aims and methods grow and improve, you should revisit them, investigating what’s working and how you can do more with the same resources. We suggest: 

Regular Updates and Communication

Set up a real-time hub or channel for those who want to share their views and experiences, as well as ask any questions before they donate or volunteer. If you’re sending anyone off to a charity site, give them emergency numbers — both for yourself and your partners in case they need to resolve something quickly. 

Seek Employee Feedback

Throughout, employee impressions will be valuable. You should have a rough idea of when you’d like to assess how they feel about what they’re doing. If you have designated advocates, they can gather feedback for you, meeting every quarter or bi-annually. 

Use easyfundraising to Help Raise Money

We’ve made charitable giving simple and seamless. If your employees sign up to easyfundraising, they can shop with more than 7,500 online retailers, who’ve pledged to donate part of that spend to a good cause chosen by each employee. Your workers don’t pay anything more than the usual price; our retail partners fork out the cash instead. 

You can tap into the power of easyfundraising as an add-on to your larger employee giving program. By encouraging your employees to give to your chosen good cause each time they shop online, you’re giving them a simple option to raise funds. This can be done alongside your giving program for employees who’ve opted in, or as an alternative for those who’ve chosen not to be a part of your program. 

Employee Giving Programs Have Massive Potential

Whether you’re a fledgling business or veteran brand with multiple branches, there’s every reason to put an employee giving program together. After all, you’re putting more than your money where your mouth is. It’s a testament to the skills and hard work your people exhibit when they’re supporting a cause they believe in. Clients, customers, suppliers and new candidates are going to appreciate this and view you as more than a business. You can become a force for good in the world too.