Grant Guru: Take Advantage of Employee Directed Giving

grant applicationGrant Guru is an occasional feature in which we answer questions from our readers about fundraising and the giving universe. It is part of our continuing effort to enhance our coverage.


Dear Grant Guru: We have heard a lot about employee-involved giving? Is that something that is available to all organizations or only the largest ones. We are a small organization and would like to take advantage of this type of giving if possible.

Grant Guru: Good question. This is a great opportunity for all grant seekers. Foundations have always looked kindly on getting their board members and staff involved in your nonprofit, but this practice has been taken to a new level in the corporate funding arena. Employees are no longer sitting on the sidelines, but are actively setting funding goals for foundations and corporations. Many funders are designating a certain percentage specifically for employees to direct.


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A good place to start is the report, The New Corporate DNA—Where Employee Engagement and Social Impact Converge, ( draws six key takeaways from the trends seen in employee-driven philanthropy. Winter is a busy time for corporate giving, starting with #GivingTuesday and continuing into the final throes of corporate holiday campaigns. Traditionally, the fourth quarter is where employee giving began and ended, with company leaders losing focus on this effort the rest of the year. In 2013, only 24% of companies indicated they offered year-round giving, with 71% of large corporations conducting their giving program during a finite period of time, usually the fall. But the latest Snapshot shows that year-round giving is becoming the standard, with more than 60% of companies saying their giving program is open year-round.

“The time-honored tradition of Fall campaigns is evolving into new traditions,” the report notes.

But the popularity of workplace giving is clearly on the upswing. And businesses are looking at employee giving as a direct component of overall employee engagement, with the key metrics of success continuing to be how many employees participate in their company’s programs and how much money they give.

But employee surveys and benchmarking are also becoming important, and companies are increasingly looking to the best practices of other companies to grow engagement. Snapshot 2015 demonstrates the continued acceleration of workplace giving as a priority for employees and companies, and the central role it plays in employee engagement.

Smaller nonprofits and schools can really make some inroads here. They need to do some research and pinpoint companies with these programs and start collecting information on donor employment.

Urge your donors to check with their company’s HR department about starting a matching gifts program if one does not exist. Take a look at company profiles on LinkedIn or on their website. Know any connections to executives that work there? Perhaps they could make an introduction. Sometimes it’s as simple as looking hard in your own back yard. Chantilly High School in Northern Virginia got a local employer, Northrop Grumman Information Systems, to sponsor its CyberSecurity Summer Camp that is open to 80 students (grades 9-12). It will give them an introduction to CyberSecurity while helping the company with exposure to the next generation of computer security experts.

Info: Questions, contact The Grant Advisors.

About Frank Klimko

Frank Klimko is a nationally known journalist, grants expert and speech writer/speaker. He has years of experience helping nonprofits devise lists of the right funding opportunities and secure funding from these foundations and corporate entities. Clients have focused on an array of areas including child care, homeless, hunger and K-12 education. Additionally, he is a Freedom of Information Act expert, who has helped numerous clients with securing proprietary information from the federal government. Currently, Frank Klimko writes the Children & Youth Funding Report and Private Grants Alert, which are Washington DC-based publications. CYF is a daily publication covering Congress, the Education Dept. and the various federal regulatory agencies. PGA, another daily publication, covers the world of private philanthropy.
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