Workplace charitable giving programs generate an impressive $4 billion annually and are a source of much-needed financial support for charities.*
They are also a convenient way for employees to make charitable gifts and they serve as a public demonstration of a company’s commitment to social issues.
Over the past few years, the profile of workplace giving programs has changed. Employees, particularly the millennial generation, are looking for additional ways to support and engage with nonprofit organizations through the workplace. Today’s digital culture makes such opportunities possible for forward-looking and tech-savvy companies and charities.
Interest is Growing
The changes have opened the door for nonprofits to interact directly with employees, and companies are looking for nonprofits able to meet the growing need for engagement. In a recent survey,* 50% of charities said requests from employers seeking to offer their employees volunteer opportunities have increased.
Challenges for Charities
Nonprofits that have adapted to the digital culture have much to offer and potentially much to gain. But knowing how to allocate resources as technology continues to evolve can be challenging. One clear trend is that donors on all levels (individual, corporate, and institutional) want more information. Nonprofits are getting the message that they need to be transparent and to demonstrate the impact the organization is making. According to the survey:
- 90% are using social media to communicate with stakeholders
- 90% are now creating narratives that emphasize outcomes and results
- 94% are making information available sooner than ever before via digital media
Accommodating the volunteer needs of a corporate partner can also create some significant challenges since not many nonprofit projects are scalable. Also limited staff and resources make it difficult for charities to easily accommodate requests for volunteer projects.
Finding a For-profit Partner
If your organization is looking for or has been approached by a company interested in forging a relationship, it will take time and effort on your part to develop a plan.
You’ll definitely want to outline how working together will benefit the for-profit partner. Here are some additional tips for framing a successful partnership with a for-profit company:
- Your business partner may be uncertain about how a nonprofit/for-profit relationship might work. Be prepared to take a dominant role, at least in the very beginning.
- The ideal relationship will benefit both your organization and your business partner by improving employee morale, strengthening the company’s brand, and introducing it to new markets.
- Cash donations are only part of the picture. Leverage the company’s resources to increase community engagement and support your social agenda at the same time.
- A successful relationship will require strong project management. Be on the lookout for signs that the project may be failing.
- Offer to co-create content and publicize the partnerships successes via traditional and social media.
Workplace giving communicates a powerful message that a company truly cares about and supports the worthwhile causes. Companies can use workplace giving as a means to engage their employees to support charitable causes by also volunteering their time. Well-organized workplace giving programs frequently result in improving employee morale and satisfaction.
Can We Help?
Our firm offers a broad range of audit, tax information, return preparation, and executive board consulting services to not-for-profit organizations. If we can be of service to you, please call.
* Snapshot 2014: Rising Tide of Expectations Corporate Giving, Employee Engagement and Impact, America’s Charities, Inc.