Organizations are constantly seeking new and improved ways to benefit their missions, specifically with increasingly efficient fundraising efforts. At the same time, the corporate philanthropy landscape continues to evolve, with programs that directly engage a company’s employees (such as matching gifts and volunteer grants) taking center stage.

In this guide, we’ll explore six primary trends currently shaping the realm of matching gifts and employee engagement in 2024. These include:

  1. Companies integrating philanthropy programs into employee benefits packages
  2. A larger portion of corporate giving funds going to employee engagement efforts
  3. More small and mid-sized businesses launching matching gift programs
  4. Employers organizing and incentivizing staff participation in volunteer initiatives
  5. Nonprofits and businesses establishing exclusive one-off matching gift programs
  6. Companies streamlining employee involvement with matching gift auto-submission

Employee-driven giving democratizes philanthropy within corporations and offers significant perks in terms of workforce productivity, retention, acquisition, and overall morale. As companies increasingly recognize the value of such programs, they are steadily expanding in scope, presenting new opportunities for nonprofits like yours to tap into.

The better your team understands the patterns and trajectories these programs are seeing, the better you can adapt your approach to make the most of them.

Let’s dive in with our first key trend.

1. Companies are integrating philanthropy programs into employee benefits packages.

In a time where corporate social responsibility (or CSR) is a pivotal factor in employee satisfaction and recruitment, companies are beginning to weave philanthropy more and more throughout their benefits packages.

Why? Double the Donation research reports that…

  • 71% of employees find it very important that they work for a company that participates in philanthropy.
  • 77% of employees reported a sense of purpose as part of the reason they selected their current employer.
  • Employees who participate in corporate giving have 75% longer tenures with their companies.
  • 55% of employees would even take a pay cut to work for a socially responsible company.

Individuals want to work for companies with employee giving programs, so more companies are engaging in employee giving. This idea is even more prevalent among the younger generations, including Gen Z and Millennial employees.

For nonprofit fundraisers, you can expect additional corporations to roll out matching gift programs, volunteer grant initiatives, and more to meet the growing demand for these endeavors. The trend also signifies a golden opportunity to engage with individual donors through companies’ giving programs on a deeper level.

By aligning fundraising efforts with their employers’ benefit programs, organizations can forge mutually beneficial relationships that extend far beyond mere financial contributions.

2. A larger portion of corporate giving funds are going to employee engagement efforts.

Further research reveals that while investments in all kinds of philanthropy programs are increasing from one year to the next, the most commonly cited reasons for companies growing their giving budgets were an increased focus on strategic initiatives, an expansion into international giving, and changes in employee-directed giving.

In fact, 94% of major US companies plan to heighten or maintain their charitable giving in the next few years, with over 39% expanding their workplace giving programs specifically.

As corporate giving strategies shift around us, a significant and growing portion of funds are allocated to employee engagement initiatives. These include philanthropy programs through which a company’s employees are most directly involved⁠. The potential is widespread and significant, and employee-directed giving is one of the most accessible forms of philanthropy for nonprofits to receive.

3. More small and mid-sized businesses are launching matching gift programs.

Matching gift programs and other instances of employee-directed giving were once the exclusive domain of the world’s largest corporations. Today, however, these initiatives are gaining traction among smaller and mid-sized businesses, too.

Why? Not only are these companies seeing tremendous value in investing in social impact, but it’s also becoming significantly easier to roll out such programs. In fact, new CSR platforms are being designed with this exact segment in mind, removing key barriers to entry with an affordable and user-friendly solution.

This growth exemplifies that organizations will be able to identify more opportunities for engaging their donors through workplace giving⁠—even if they don’t work for a Fortune 500 company. So don’t overlook these eligible individuals in your donor base!

And, for companies without matching gift programs, your donors may be willing to help advocate for program creation.

4. Employers are organizing and incentivizing staff participation in volunteer initiatives.

Many companies investing in corporate giving also understand the benefits of employee volunteerism. Beyond (or in addition to) monetary contributions, businesses are inclined to encourage employee volunteer initiatives as part of their CSR efforts.

These might include:

  • Volunteer grants (or “Dollars for Doers”), where a company supplies grant funds to an organization according to the number of hours an employee volunteers
  • Paid VTO, or Volunteer Time Off, where team members receive a number of hours to be spent partaking in volunteer activities during what is typical “working time”
  • Team volunteer events, where groups of employees volunteer at an organization together with the goals of fostering positive morale and giving back to their communities
  • Pro bono services or skills-based volunteering, where employees provide professional expertise, such as advertising, legal advice, financial consulting, or IT support at no cost
  • And more!

For nonprofits, this trend opens up new opportunities for corporate collaboration in a hands-on environment. It’s also a great way to recruit new volunteers and engage with existing ones on a new level.

5. Nonprofits and businesses are establishing exclusive one-off matching gift programs.

In addition to standard matching gift programs, through which a company supplies matches for gifts made to nearly all nonprofit causes, innovative new matching gift approaches are also emerging. These include one-off matching gift partnerships, which have proven an excellent opportunity for nonprofits to engage with companies that do not yet offer matching gift programming.

The most significant difference between the types of efforts is that, in a one-off matching gift program, a company agrees to match donations exclusively to your organization or cause.

standard vs. custom matching gift programs diagram

By leveraging these targeted initiatives, nonprofits can begin building relationships with companies that may be exploring philanthropy⁠—or, specifically, employee-directed giving⁠—for the first time. Not to mention, custom matching gift programs offer unique benefits, too, including heightened engagement, increased fundraising reach and visibility, and more.

6. Companies are streamlining employee involvement with matching gift auto-submission.

In order to benefit maximally from employee giving, both nonprofits and businesses are taking more proactive steps to streamline processes for their donors and employees to get involved. One of the most significant ways this is happening is through smart matching gift technology.

Recognizing the importance of a simplified engagement process, companies have begun increasingly implementing CSR solutions equipped with auto-submission.

Companies are streamlining employee involvement with matching gift auto-submission

When an employee gives to an organization that also has auto-submission enabled through 360MatchPro, the individual is offered a one-click matching gift request option that significantly streamlines the submission experience. This simplified process allows eligible donors to bypass the most significant employee giving roadblocks, enabling them to participate in their company’s giving programs more quickly and efficiently than ever before.

And, as more and more employers adopt corporate giving platforms that offer this groundbreaking feature, the number of qualifying donors continues to grow! 

Matching gifts and other employee engagement programs are pivotal in nonprofit fundraising. Offering a path to sustainable support and meaningful partnerships, these initiatives continue to expand in scope⁠—so your team must remain familiar with emerging trends.

By capitalizing on the primary developments outlined in this guide, your team can confidently navigate corporate philanthropy, securing vital resources to advance your mission and create lasting impact.

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