5 Strategies to Implementing a Successful Employee Giving Campaign | npENGAGE

5 Strategies to Implementing a Successful Employee Giving Campaign

By on Aug 8, 2018


Starting your own employee giving campaign is not for the faint of heart!  It may sound easy, but in truth it takes a team of people and a lot of moving parts to make it successful.  Gone are the days of just sending out pledge forms in interoffice mail and expecting people to respond.  It takes much more to get the attention of your employees, especially clinical staff and in larger organizations.  The great news is that if done well, an employee campaign has many benefits beyond the funds raised for your programs.

Here at SoutheastHEALTH Foundation, our “Employee Helping Hands” campaign has increased employee morale, inspired pride in our programs and people, raised awareness of the SoutheastHEALTH Foundation, served as a benchmark for employee engagement, and created an instant sustained giving program, all while growing in popularity and size every year.  Sounds too good to be true!

So how do you do it?

  1. Start at the Top!
    • Secure your budget. Before implementing any type of campaign, have the support of your hospital CEO and Foundation board members and get an approved budget. A good starting budget estimate is around $1.50 – $2 per person, depending on the prizes and giveaways you choose.  Expenses include marketing, printing, prizes, and giveaways.
    • First solicit your board, then senior leadership, then management – all before asking your employees for a dime! Announcing 100% participation from senior leadership goes a long way.
      • Tip: Personalized emails to leadership will help secure total giving. Include progress toward the goal of 100% support.
  1. Recruit Your Champions!
    • At the Southeast Health Foundation, we begin planning our campaign almost three months prior to the official campaign kickoff.
    • We recruit an Employee Campaign Committee (ECC) with between 10-15 members who help share the message, timing, and plan for the campaign. The ECC meets a minimum of three times. They help present at the official kickoff, decide on prizes and branding, help recruit Employee Champions, and gather patient stories.
    • After you have your Employee Campaign Committee, recruit your Employee Champions. Recruit a champion from each department, from your hospital’s service lines to HR and development. Ask managers to put forward their best talent and give them a chance to shine.
      • Tip: A ratio of one champion to every 20-30 staff members is best. Anything over that, and they will not be able to easily track their assigned employees.
  1. Work the Plan!
    • Have a defined timeframe for the campaign. We have found that a campaign that runs too long does not increase giving and tends to lose momentum.  An intensive 2-week campaign works great!
    • Distribute materials and use personalized envelopes. The main responsibility of the Champions is to track the pledge forms to employees and make sure they receive a form back from every staff member on their teams.  They turn their assigned forms in to the Foundation office.
      • Tip: Keep in mind, the forms are confidential! The only people who know individual giving amounts are in the Foundation office. Senior leadership only receives the percentage of participation in each department.  This is important in establishing trust with your employee donors who may fear a punitive response if they choose not to give.
    • Accept gifts of payroll deduction, check, cash, credit card, or one-time payroll deduction on a specified paycheck. The majority of our gifts come in through payroll deduction – the best sustained giving program you will most likely have!
    • Create a timeline for campaign marketing. Know before the campaign timeframe what you are going to publish and how often.  Market the campaign throughout the organization and in any external facilities.  Push out campaign announcements in internal publications even before the official campaign kickoff and then every week throughout the campaign.
      • Tip: Consider weekly announcements of prize winners that go out at the end of each week.
  1. Make it Fun!
    • Hold an inspiring kickoff. Identify a spokesperson who has been touched by one of the Foundation’s programs and ask them to share their story.  The ECC should serve as cheerleaders during the kickoff.  Serve lunch and keep the event to one hour so it’s easy for staff to attend.  Attendance prizes can lend some fun and encouragement.
    • Encourage competition between departments. Publish participation rates (never total giving) from each department regularly throughout the campaign.  You will start getting calls from managers and champions wanting to know their progress, so providing regular updates will help you manage all these requests more easily.
    • Suggest fun games for departments. One of the craziest games that we’ve seen included a pie in the face of the department manager, but most departments encourage turning in a pledge with candy or small tokens from the Employee Champion.
    • Have giveaways and prizes and advertise them often.
  1. Finally – Celebrate Your Success!
    • Market your final total of dollars raised and participation from employees on your intranet and internal publications. Celebrate the success of those who had over 50% participation in their departments.
      • Tip: Departments that achieve 100% participation should get a special visit from the Foundation office with gifts. Snacks work great!
    • Be sure to highlight how the donations will make a difference so employees feel good about their giving and are more likely to participate again next year.

Donors to the Employee Giving Campaign are integrated into the regular recognition and cultivation cycle and are included as any other donor would be in our Foundation’s honor rolls and mailings.  We cannot ask for a better endorsement for our organizations than the support of our employees! This year we are also looking at potentially launching a “Forever Green” program, meaning we would not need to re-solicit those employees every year who want to donate via payroll deduction in perpetuity.

Although these strategies go far beyond a simple interoffice mailing, your effort will be rewarded with a successful campaign – most likely exceeding your expectations!  Even if your team doesn’t have the resources to implement all of the above suggestions, implementing even one or two will add a boost to your campaign.  Pick a few and see how they help – I guarantee your efforts will be rewarded! 


Serving non-profit organizations for over 20 years, Patti is a proven leader with experience in both small and large non-profits including; healthcare, youth development, higher education, museums and the environment.  Her background includes all aspects of non-profit management – endowment management, volunteer relations, planned giving, strategic planning, budget direction, marketing and fundraising.

Patti has both B.A. and M.L.A. degrees in philosophy and is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the Association of Healthcare Philanthropy, serves as the Community Organizer for the Southeast Grief Support Coalition and a Member of the Southeast Diabetes Advisory Council.

Her Non-profit Specialties Include:  Organizational Strategy, Major Gift Fundraising, Campaign Direction, Volunteer Management, Strategic Planning, Budgeting, Event Management, Marketing and Communications, and Grant making.


Comments (13)

  • Lauren says:

    Great tips! I especially agree that leaders must give first before asking others. We have found great success at even including an employee ask as part of new employee orientation. Most sign up for a payroll gift when they understand how giving relates to organizational culture.

  • Heather says:

    Great tips! I am pleased to find that we already are doing most of these, as of just a few years ago, and we have definitely seen a revitalization of our employee campaign.

  • Karina says:

    These are great tips. We already do all this at my organization. Our payroll deductions gift are ongoing all year round. We have 50% participation from our staff and we are currently looking to increase that to 65%.

  • Angie Stumpo says:

    Great ideas! We have done many of these for our employee campaign.

  • MK says:

    We do a lot of this but the article did give me a few ideas. Thanks.

  • Lawrence Rush says:

    Great ideas! We’ll have to try incorporating some of these tips into our own Employee Campaign.

  • Lauren Fardella says:

    We have a yearly employee campaign and not much of a committee, but we do have an Employee Engagement Committee, so it would make sense to get them involved with the campaign..

  • Philip Nawrocki says:

    We are looking to implement a more formal process this year for our campaign. I just sent this article to the person running it.

  • Donna Oleniczak says:

    I have a hard time recruiting members for my Committee. I don’t know how I would be able to recruit for Employee Champions. Do you have any tips on how you get employees to volunteer for this role?

    • Patricia M Ranzini says:

      Hi Donna!

      The first year, I think we made an appeal to the management team to suggest their best and brightest up and coming employees to serve in the role. It has become a benefit to those who serve. We make sure managers let them have time off for the kick-off lunch, plus successful Champions get recognition a small prize.

  • Patricia M Ranzini says:

    Thank you all for the kind comments and good luck to all of your employee campaigns this year!

    • GW says:

      What are best practices or rules of thumb on these metrics:
      1-Timeframe: What is expected/average # of years to get a 40-50% growth in % of employees who give?
      2- What are % of employees in minimum wage direct service jobs at the nonprofit who typically give a gift to campaign — vs — % of office/higher earner staff who give?

  • Angie Gaillard says:

    Hey Patricia –

    Do you have a sample campaign card to give to employees? Looking to kick off in September for a 20 day push

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