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Building a Case: Matching Gifts & Volunteer Grants

Many more companies are beginning to offer corporate giving programs, which is so exciting! However, thousands have yet to dive into these offerings and begin leveraging the vast benefits being made available. Whether you’re an employee of a company that needs a nudge to increase CSR efforts or you’re the employer yourself, you may be interested in building an effective case for corporate giving strategies (specifically matching gifts and volunteer grants).

In this quick guide, we’ll walk you through exactly how you can do so for your team and business. Specifically, we’ll explore the following questions and answers below:

  1. What are matching gifts?
  2. What are volunteer grants?
  3. Why do companies offer these programs?
  4. How can a person make a case for workplace giving?

Participating in corporate giving is one of the most effective ways that companies can contribute positively to society and elevate their social responsibility levels⁠—while simultaneously doing more for their bottom lines.

Ready to learn more about the best ways to make a strategic case for CSR programming in your company? Let’s begin!

1. What are matching gifts?

Corporate matching gift programs are a favored form of workplace giving where companies provide matching donations in response to gifts made by employees to qualifying nonprofit causes. Employees love giving 2x or 3x their donation to their favorite nonprofit. In fact, one of Selflessly’s most helpful features is our matching gift automation that saves HR leaders & executives a lot of time! 

Though the process can vary depending on the company offering the program, matching gift fundraising typically looks like this: 

  1. An employee makes a donation to a nonprofit cause.
  2. The employee / donor is encouraged to get their donation matched if available.
  3. The employee reviews their company’s workplace giving guidelines and determines that their gift is match-eligible.
  4. The employee submits their online matching gift request (typically by utilizing their employer’s CSR portal).
  5. The company (or the CSR management platform) reviews the match request, verifies the initial donation, and ensures the gift fits the provided matching criteria.
  6. The company (or the CSR management platform) approves the request and disburses match funding to the organization.

In the end, the employee’s personal donation can make a larger impact on a nonprofit mission that they clearly care about. They feel positive both about their own gift and the opportunity to secure a match from their employer. And because their employing company was able to make that happen, the benefits typically carry over to the workplace as well.

2. What are volunteer grants?

Similar to matching gifts, volunteer grants (also known as “dollars for doers”) are another extremely popular type of corporate giving. In this case, companies provide financial support to the nonprofits that their employees volunteer with rather than give financially.

Here’s what the overarching volunteer grant process looks like:

  1.  An employee volunteers with a nonprofit organization.
  2. The employee/volunteer is encouraged to determine whether their employer offers volunteer grants.
  3. The employee determines that their volunteer hours are eligible for a corporate volunteer grant from their employing company.
  4. The employee submits a volunteer grant request to their employer.
  5. The company reviews the grant request, verifies the individual’s volunteer hours, and contributes their grant to the organization.

Again, offering volunteer grants allows employees to make a larger impact on their favorite charitable organizations, which ultimately results in benefits to the employees themselves, the nonprofits they support, and the companies contributing the funds. And yep! Selflessly helps teams engage employees with this feature too!

3. Why do companies offer these programs?

Companies participate in social responsibility⁠—and specifically, workplace giving efforts like matching gifts and volunteer grants⁠—for a variety of reasons which range from altruism to corporate strategy. Here are a few of the most impactful reasons why a company might dedicate its time, money, and resources to CSR:

Improved reputation among consumers

Selflessly reports that 86% of people would purchase from a purpose-driven company. Luckily, one of the best ways to become a purpose-driven company is by supporting nonprofit causes through corporate philanthropy. This way, existing consumers and potential buyers alike can feel positively about their purchasing decisions, knowing that the companies they support are playing a role in social impact.

Increased engagement among team members 

One of the most vital benefits of matching gifts, volunteer grants, and other employee-led workplace giving programs is a substantial increase in employee engagement levels. When team members see their companies doing good in the world, they’ll be more inspired to drive as much impact in their own roles as possible⁠—leading to extremely high rates of engagement!

Higher rates of employee retention

Employee engagement and retention go hand in hand⁠—team members who are highly engaged are likely to stay with the company for significantly longer tenures. Not to mention, 84% of millennials report wanting their companies to help them get more involved in their communities. If your company is not showing positive social responsibility, you risk employees seeking that employment elsewhere.

Unique benefits for recruiting

Just like employees are likely to stay with a business they see making a positive societal impact, candidates tend to be more drawn to these companies as well. Offering workplace giving programs that directly involve staff members is a wonderful way to distinguish yourself as a potential employer with unique philanthropic benefits.

Impactful tax benefits

Another huge benefit of matching gifts, volunteer grants, and other workplace giving initiatives is the tax incentives that participating companies see. Charitable donations enable businesses to reduce their annual taxable income, thus reducing the amount of taxes the company ultimately has to pay. Typically, there is a 10% cap for which donations can be deducted from a company’s income⁠. Matching gifts, however, can go above and beyond this amount, enabling businesses to save even more through tax incentives.

4. How can a person make a case for workplace giving?

Looking to make a solid case for workplace giving programs at your company? Here are two key steps you can take to get the ball rolling!

Communicate the business value of corporate giving.

When building a business case for the launching of workplace giving programs, it’s a good idea to focus on the tangible benefits a company can see from these initiatives. Of course, the business will likely be interested in the more abstract, philanthropic advantages of CSR⁠—such as the ability to make the world a better place. But understanding and communicating the reasons why corporate giving matters directly to the businesses’ bottom line is essential.

Thus, be sure to emphasize the positive impact these programs can have on employee engagement, staff retention, brand reputation, and more. This is especially true when employees are given the opportunity to play a significant, hands-on role in their companies’ efforts.

Provide an overview of the steps to get started.

Starting a workplace giving program doesn’t have to be difficult, and it can help drive the case for these initiatives by highlighting the simplicity of the offerings from the beginning. For example, one of the most essential tasks involved in launching a matching gift or volunteer grant program has to do with crafting participation guidelines.

These criteria should typically answer the questions of what types of individual support are eligible for a corporate match⁠—including the types of eligible employees and nonprofit causes, donation of volunteer hour thresholds, qualifying gift method, and submission deadline.

Once the company has made these decisions, it essentially becomes a question of how they’ll get employees ready and willing to participate!

Wrapping Up

Corporate giving allows companies to provide philanthropic support to a wide range of nonprofit causes, typically resulting in significant benefits both internally (e.g., workplace culture) and externally (marketing and sales). Not to mention, the benefits can stretch substantially further when employees are encouraged to play a tangible role in the process.

If your company has yet to get involved with corporate and workplace giving initiatives, it’s not too late! In fact, now is the perfect time to begin. Reach out via our chat or email us on our Selflessly contact page.

Selflessly can help you explore all the opportunities to choose from. Exploring matching gifts & volunteer grants are incredible options, yet don’t be overwhelmed! Any employee engagement in giving back is great. Perhaps an employee volunteering program fits you best. In all cases, best of luck and we’re here to help!

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