"Microsoft has again broken its record for employee giving, donating $142 million to nearly 19,000 charities last year. That’s a 14 percent increase over the previous year’s donations, and the sixth straight year that Microsoft workers have given away $100 million or more."
I just got back from talking to a bunch of nonprofits. Of course, a top question was how to squeeze more money from the company checkbook.
"Don't bother," I told them. "That's peanuts compared to how much you can raise from employees and customers."
Microsoft employees have proven at least half my answer true. They raised $142 million in just 2016 alone.
A few key takeaways.
- Employees are no longer interested in your fundraisers (e.g. walks, rides, galas). They want to raise money in their own way.
- Whether you are a nonprofit or a business, support their efforts.
Nonprofits can help by being open to new ideas and encouraging employee led efforts. When visiting businesses, nonprofits should start with employee interests - and not their stale portfolio of fundraisers.
Find out what employees are obsessed with.
- Do they they look forward to March madness and the office pool each year. Why not make it a fundraiser?
- Is there a large group of runners at the company? Help them gain entry to a high profile race that includes them fundraising for your cause.
Microsoft employees who also loved Harry Potter hosted a Quidditch match as a fundraiser! I bet Quidditch isn't on your nonprofit's events calendar.
Businesses can empower employees with technology and matching gifts. It's easier for the company to help when employees are excited and motivated to give back with a fundraising idea of their own making.
Instead of making fundraising a chore or an obligation, nonprofits and businesses should let employees take charge and have fun.
Microsoft employees have raised $1.5 billion for good causes. That's a lot of good reasons to give employees the reins.