Importance of Workplace Giving for Fundraisers: 8 Takeaways from AFP ICON

At AFP ICON, our board members Elizabeth Marenakos and Tycely Williams hosted a panel discussion alongside Calli Hartman, head of customer success for Blackbaud corporate impact division, to share insights into workplace giving programs. They discussed how companies organize their social responsibility programs, encourage employee engagement through workplace giving initiatives, and strategies nonprofits can use to facilitate corporate relationships to help drive support. With approximately 30 million employees who have access to workplace giving programs that average about $1,200 per year per employee, there is no doubt that corporate connections are valuable assets to fundraisers. 

Read on for eight key takeaways from the panel, and click here to listen to the full discussion.

  • Engaging campaigns
    Corporations are working to increase employee participation through corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. Several types of employee engagement programs include corporate matching gifts, volunteer activities, and more. Sometimes, companies identify specific service areas to guide their philanthropic efforts, such as education, lower-income communities, etc., and set their primary focus on supporting these causes. When companies highlight their commitment to these pillars and offer employee incentives or challenges, they can build engaged and purpose-driven employees who are more connected with their peers while also giving back to their community. (Timestamp: 4:25)
  • Don’t leave money on the table
    Collectively, between $4 and $7 billion is left on the table that has been budgeted for matching gifts or volunteer grants from companies. Many employees are unaware their employer offers a company match program. If a nonprofit knows matching programs are available to employees, mentioning the program to them can help boost participation rates and may even increase their donation size. Look at your list of donors, identify the organizations they work for, and dig in to further activate the list of donors you have. Also, look to other organizations to see if their websites have CSR or ESG pages and if your nonprofit aligns with their pillars. Reaching out to those companies to develop relationships can help fundraisers raise awareness of their nonprofit and can help garner ongoing support. Think through how you can align with local companies to develop a beneficial partnership that supports both your nonprofit and its CSR initiatives. (Timestamp: 9:45)
  • Put ideas in motion
    An idea is just an idea until you can put power behind it to make it actionable. Ensure you can execute the tactics in your strategy. There’s a high probability that nonprofits can’t add more to their to-do lists, so ensuring you have the support and structure to facilitate new efforts and initiatives will help these initiatives thrive long-term and contribute to a well-rounded organization. If a new hire isn’t in the budget, a volunteer or board member could be instrumental in helping put your plan in motion. Lean on their expertise and passions to leverage for advancing your mission, fundraising, researching, marketing, and more. (Timestamp: 12:11)
  • Match your mission
    Generally, companies seek a specific cause or even multiple causes in their community to support. Look for companies you can create strong, lasting partnerships with. While CSR teams may be shrinking, the drive to leave a positive impact remains strong. Partnering with CSR teams to build volunteer projects and fundraising opportunities will help create a long-term support program and even lifetime donors. Reach out to companies with CSR pillars that match your mission and begin building relationships that will benefit both you and the company. (Timestamp: 18:50)
  • Find creative opportunities
    Each company has employees with a wide range of skills and interests, both in and out of the workplace. Consider the different ways a person can support your nonprofit, from leaving a review, sharing a testimonial, sharing expertise, talking on a panel, etc. Think about what will add value to your mission, from creating marketing materials to networking events to picking up supplies. Not every volunteer opportunity has to be in person, so get creative on ways people can volunteer. (Timestamp: 20:35)
  • Level up
    When developing CSR programs, some companies create programs based on employee hierarchy or tenure instead of the company as a whole. For example, employees with a lower salary may be more inclined to volunteer with a nonprofit, while those with a higher salary may prefer to donate money instead of time. Additionally, new employees may want to find ways to connect with their coworkers, so they may enjoy volunteer opportunities. Understanding different levels of interest and engagement to identify opportunities that appeal to a diverse audience can help employees at all levels engage with nonprofits. (Timestamp: 26:53)
  • Get social
    Not every donor or volunteer works for a company that will connect them with nonprofits, or perhaps they are not working. Engaging with these people can be difficult, but they are an important demographic to reach. Creating events that highlight your mission or offer tips you can offer others, a lunch and learn, happy hour, or breakfast to educate or inspire attendees. These events should be sociable and fun to encourage attendees to come back and connect with your staff and your mission. The more they resonate with the event, the more likely they will want to volunteer or donate for the long term. (Timestamp: 29:54)
  • Get technical
    Technology has changed the way donors can donate – from credit cards, automatic payroll deductions, or through company incentives from volunteering. Some of these methods can be done through platforms like CSRconnect from Blackbaud, and nonprofits can access this information from their NPOconnect from Blackbaud account, including the donor’s name, contact information, and workplace if the donor chooses to share it. This technology enables donors to support causes that are important to them, sometimes from the comfort of their homes. (Timestamp: 36:20)

Corporate philanthropy programs can have an immense impact on a fundraiser’s initiatives and help them reach their goals. With a network of almost 30 million potential donors, nonprofits should leverage local connections and digital relationships. Understanding how companies structure their CSR programs, encourage employee engagement, use technology to organize company grants, and more can be instrumental in helping a nonprofit forge a successful partnership with companies to reach its fundraising goals.

To learn more about The Blackbaud Giving Fund, visit, or follow the organization on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram for updates, news, and more. 

For more information about NPOconnect or to sign up, visit