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Starting Off Strong: Workplace Giving & Start of Year Fundraising

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Published December 12, 2022 Reading Time: 5 minutes

When the year-end giving season comes to an end, your team is ready to take a few well-deserved deep breaths. But you don’t want to let your elevated giving and donor engagement fall by the wayside now that the ball has dropped and the new calendar year has begun, either.

Luckily, workplace giving can play an invaluable role in maintaining supporter momentum well into the new year and beyond.

In this guide, we’ll cover the basics of beginning-of-year fundraising and the vitality of workplace giving, as well as share top tips and practices for organizations looking to make the most of corporate philanthropy initiatives to elevate their strategy.

Set your donors⁠—and yourself⁠—up for ongoing success this year with these helpful insights. 

The Importance of Effective Start-of-Year Fundraising

The average nonprofit typically sees its highest levels of donor engagement during the year-end giving season. For many, that means new and repeat donors supporting the cause. Going into the new year, it’s important to keep that momentum going and retain new donors by following up with strategic and ongoing fundraising and stewardship efforts.

The transition into the new year also brings with it opportunities to:

  • Thank donors for their participation in your recent year-end fundraising push
  • Share updates on and celebrate year-end fundraising success
  • Follow up with those who may not have given during year-end
  • Make your outreach stand out during a slower fundraising season
  • Provide an overview of your organization’s upcoming fundraising initiatives
  • Offer new ways to get involved, such as with monthly donations
  • Inform and remind donors about their employers’ workplace giving programs

It’s also a great time for your internal team to take a look at the data you’ve collected throughout previous engagement efforts and decide to adjust and redirect as necessary.

The Relationship Between Workplace Philanthropy + Start-of-Year Giving

Workplace giving programs can offer some of the most impactful opportunities for elevating donor engagement while simultaneously raising more for nonprofit causes through corporate and individual funding. And there’s no better time to optimize your team’s corporate fundraising strategy than the beginning of a new year.

Perhaps you developed a number of corporate partnerships during your Giving Tuesday and other end-of-year fundraising campaigns. You don’t want those partnerships to slip through the cracks during the transition to the new year. Instead, pursuing workplace giving opportunities is an excellent way to incorporate corporate support year-round while also empowering donors to take a hands-on role in their employers’ philanthropic initiatives.

Workplace giving programs may likely include (but are certainly not limited to) matching gifts, volunteer grants, and more. When captured, these workplace giving programs provide an invaluable fundraising lift. For example, companies with matching gift programs financially match their employees’ charitable contributions.

In other words, your organization receives two gifts for the cost of soliciting one. Similarly, companies who offer volunteer grant programs will provide financial support to organizations where their employees regularly volunteer. That means your volunteers’ time turns into dollars that will also benefit your cause. 

When offered, these types of programs often lead to significantly increased individual engagement as well⁠—in addition to the corporate funds flowing in as a result. In fact, research from Double the Donation on the effects of matching gifts on fundraising appeals indicates that 84% of survey participants say they’re more likely to donate if a match is offered, while 1 in 3 donors states they’d give a larger gift if matching is applied. 

Once you incorporate these appeals into your upcoming start-of-year fundraising push, your organization is likely to see huge results in terms of individual and corporate giving success.

Top Tips to Optimize Start-of-Year Fundraising With Workplace Giving

Incorporate these tried-and-true best practices into your organization’s strategy to raise more with workplace giving programs in the new year. Then, aim to keep your fundraising effectiveness high throughout the remainder of the year.

1. Follow up with still-eligible matching gift donors.

Tons of companies offer donation matching, and each one has the ability to set its own submission deadline, where employees must complete the request process prior to the specified date in order to remain eligible for the match. One popular deadline structure is based on the end of the calendar year in which an individual completes their personal donation plus an extension or grace period. Come January of the following year, many donors who work for these types of companies (such as Pfizer, Coca-Cola, MBIA, or Verizon) are likely still eligible to have their previously-made donations matched.

Not to mention, many other companies use a rolling deadline structure where employees are required to submit their match requests within a set time period following the initial gift (often six or twelve months). In this case, individuals who work for companies like IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, and more and contributed throughout the year-end giving season would likely remain eligible for match opportunities as well.

We recommend taking the time early into the new year to inform or remind donors about their matching gift eligibility.

Even if you’ve sent an unanswered message regarding workplace giving initiatives, there’s a good chance it got lost in all the commotion of the year’s end⁠—and new year outreach may be just what you and your donors need to cross the finish line. Or perhaps they’ve been aware of the opportunity but keep falling prey to the “I’ll do it tomorrow” mindset. In that case, consider encouraging ⁠donors to make a New Year’s resolution out of crossing their match request off their to-do list—and be sure to remind them that their match eligibility window doesn’t last forever.

2. Communicate that many employers’ program maximums have reset.

Many companies set their workplace giving guidelines so that individual maximums are automatically reset on an annual basis⁠—most often at the start of the new calendar year. This means many donors will have new matching gift and volunteer grant funding made available to them by their employers, even if they had maxed out their limits in the previous year.

Now, those individuals can once again partake in their companies’ workplace giving programs, enabling them to significantly impact the causes they care about⁠—yours!

When donors (particularly those who work for companies that establish lower maximum thresholds for their employee giving programs) give to multiple charitable causes, their funding limits can deplete quickly each year. Again, this makes the start of the new year an excellent opportunity to communicate workplace giving initiatives and drive more donors to action.

3. Thank donors for personal gifts and workplace giving participation.

Our final tip for maximizing start-of-year fundraising and workplace giving is one that can and should be maintained throughout the year⁠: be sure to thank donors for all of their support, whether it’s regarding a personal donation or participation in a corporate giving program.

As you continue to thank your end-of-year donors for their contributions, be sure to highlight that they may still have the opportunity to increase the impact of their gifts. From there, you’ll want to communicate gratitude to those who do so. Though workplace or employer giving funding doesn’t come from an individual donor’s own wallet, it’s important to acknowledge that the gift would not have been possible without their willingness to go above and beyond for the cause.

Fuel Your New Year Fundraising with Workplace Giving

Strategic fundraising should occur year-round, and the beginning of a new calendar year is a fantastic opportunity for a fresh start in your engagements. At the same time, remember that workplace giving programs are typically also offered from January to December, meaning now is the time to adjust and revamp your efforts.

Best of luck, and Happy New Year!

Learn more about Classy's integration with Double the Donation.

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