employee giving program cost

How Much Does an Employee Giving Program Cost?

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Budget for your corporate social responsibility program with our easy calculator

More than 70% of employees are now demanding social responsibility from companies.i Satisfying this need while keeping employees engaged is driving increased interest in workplace giving programs. These initiatives not only enable companies to give back, but they also help to foster a positive culture of giving and volunteering that is important to today’s workforce. As a result, more companies, including small and medium businesses, are starting employee giving programs. However, while it’s easy to start a program, figuring out the right budget may not be as straightforward. This calculator should help to demystify the process.

Employee giving program cost calculator 

There are several things to consider when planning a giving program. Using this calculator will help you think through how much you want to budget for optimal impact and employee engagement. Fill in the fields to get an estimated cost for your program, and keep this page handy for guidance on each section.

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Start with some key decisions to figure out your giving program cost

One thing to keep in mind is that the cost of your program will be driven by the number of employees who participate. Most of your budget will be allocated to engagement tactics such as matching donations, dollars for doers and giving credits. Your workplace philanthropy platform will only be a small part of the overall employee giving program cost. The article “How to Create an HR Policy for your Giving Program” walks you through some of the key decisions you need to make such as:

  • Will you offer matching or volunteer service credits?
  • If so, who is eligible and is there a limit?
  • Will it be one-time or year-round?

Giving program cost calculator overview

Our super easy budget calculator will not only help you determine an estimated cost for your program, it will also guide you through some of those key planning decisions you need to make. Here’s a quick overview of each section in the calculator:

Your company

In this section, you’ll be inputting some basic information about how many employees you currently have and how much you expect your workforce to grow in the next 12 months. (Note: the growth projection is used to calculate the budget impact of offering credit grants to new hires.)

Giving

Do you plan to offer a donation feature for your employees? If so, you’ll need to make a few decisions including:

  • Do you plan to cover the donation transaction fees for your employees? About half of employers cover this cost to encourage their employees to give.
  • What percent of your employees do you expect will donate over a year? If you don’t have a benchmark to start with, use 15% as a good starting point.
  • Average EE donation in a year ($): How much do you expect your employees to give? If you have any historical employee donation data, use the average amount per employee annually.

Volunteering

Similar to the donation feature, if you plan to offer volunteering opportunities for your employees, you’ll need to decide on a few things as follows:

  • What percent of your employees do you expect will volunteer over a year? If you don’t have a benchmark to start with, use 10% as a good starting point.
  • Average volunteer hours: What is the average number of hours you expect your employees to volunteer annually? If you don’t have a benchmark to start with, use 8 hours as a good starting point.

Engagement tactics

Engagement tactics are not only important to the success of your program but also have a positive impact on employee attitudes toward workplace culture. According to research by America’s Charities, nearly 6 in 10 employees say that it is very important or imperative that their employer offer matching donations. Moreover, 84% of employees said they’d be more likely to donate if a match is offered.ii You can choose how much of a match to offer per employee per year. While the amount can range from $100 to over $5,000 per employee annually, we commonly see companies launch with $600 – $1,000 per employee.

Many companies also offer credit grants and Dollars for Doers matching for volunteer service to encourage employee participation in the program. Credit grants are a fixed amount offered to employees to donate to the nonprofit of their choice. They are often given at program launch, for new hires or to recognize employees. Dollars for Doers matches each hour of volunteer service with an amount to donate to a nonprofit. For example, if an employee volunteers for 10 hours at the local animal shelter and the Dollars for Doers rate is $10/hour, the employee would have $100 to donate to a nonprofit of their choice. It’s a great way to thank employees for investing their time in helping the community.

Recommended engagement tactics:

  • Match limit per employee, per year ($): Will you offer matching dollars for employee donations? If so, what will your matching limit be? Match limits typically range between $600 – $1,000 although they can be higher or lower depending on your company’s goals and budget.
  • Program launch giving credits ($): Will you offer credit grants to your current employees for the program launch? If you aren’t sure how much to allocate, use $25 – $100 as a good starting point. This is a great way to get employees engaged and excited about your new program.
  • New hire giving credits ($): Will you provide credit grants to new hires? If you aren’t sure how much to allocate, use $25 – $100 as a good starting point. Credit grants not only help to drive your giving culture with new employees, they are also great to call out as a benefits differentiator from your competitors.
  • Budget for rewards-based credits ($): Do you plan to set aside some credit grants for employee rewards, recognition or service anniversaries? If so, put the total amount you plan to allocate. If you aren’t sure how much, use $1,500 – $2,500 as a good starting point).
  • Dollars for Doers ($): Do you plan to offer Dollars for Doers matching on volunteer service hours? If so, put the hourly rate (per employee) that you plan to offer. If you aren’t sure how much to offer, use $10/hour as a good starting point.

Your estimated budget

Your total estimated budget will be a combination of the program costs and platform costs. These fields are calculated based on what you input in the sections above. You can change the figures to see how it will affect your overall employee giving program cost.

Your results

In this section, you can see how your program is projected to perform versus the estimated costs. It’s important to note that while the overall impact is only slightly higher than the overall cost, that’s actually a good thing. It means that most of your social responsibility budget is going directly toward impact. Not only that, but a strong employee giving program yields additional benefits including:

  • A positive workplace culture
  • Improved brand awareness and reputation
  • Engaged employees
  • Higher levels of innovation and business growth
  • Strengthened community goodwill
  • Greater employee retention

Use our employee giving program cost calculator to plan your budget.

You may also be interested in starting a free trial of Bright Funds (no credit card required).

Julie Yamamoto

Julie Yamamoto

Julie works closely with clients to deliver compelling content that inspires action. Her work has been featured in several enterprise and nonprofit digital channels, as well as GreenBiz and American Forests. She is a trained Climate Reality leader with a passion for environmental topics (technology for good, sustainable business, forests and carbon markets, climate change, conservation and biodiversity). She hopes to become a conservation artist and writer in retirement (+ start a nonprofit!).

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