Four Tips for Building Effective Giving Season Programs

Maeve Miccio
Vice President, Fidelity Philanthropic Consulting

The holiday season ushers in a sense of generosity and gratitude for many people, including your employees. While this is a common theme for any year, we find ourselves in a year marked with economic uncertainty, requiring nonprofits to do more with less and leaving many individuals unsure how to best make an impact. New Fidelity Charitable® research shows that in light of current market conditions, over 60% of donors are concerned about nonprofits and their ability to weather a recession, and nearly 60% of them are considering giving more to charity this year to help support them.

Whether you currently offer giving programs or are eager to start, you’re in the perfect position to harness the passion of your employees by designing giving and volunteering programs that can help them feel confident about their philanthropy—whether with their time, money, goods, or voice.  

In my role leading the Fidelity Charitable® Philanthropic Consulting Program, I have the opportunity to guide companies of all sizes and regularly hear from corporate responsibility practitioners looking for ideas to increase the effectiveness of their programs.

Here are four tips to ensure your giving season programs are successful:

  • Offer Flexible and Inclusive Options – How your employees want to participate will vary. Some employees will be looking for a hands-on volunteer experience, while others will be apt to donate items or make a quick donation. Ensure that your holiday campaigns include a range of opportunities accessible to employees with different resources and access to different tools. Fidelity Charitable offers a Supercharge Your Impact Checklist chock-full of simple starts and ideas for your employees to take action.

  • Test New Incentives – Encourage employees to participate in your campaign by offering special incentives such as increased matches, lottery-style grant awards, voting on causes and organizations, or even developing leadership skills through volunteer projects. As you’re focused on the new, don’t forget to remind employees of any year-round charitable benefits available to them.

  • Keep Your Ears to the Ground – Though many corporate giving programs have strategic focus areas, staying flexible and attuned to local needs is essential. The holidays are a time when your employees will likely be focused on basic needs in the local community. Consider some flexibility during this time so you can be responsive to the needs elevated by your employees on the ground. For instance, while your strategic focus may be STEM education, your employees may feel more moved to engage in hunger relief activities this holiday season, particularly in light of the economic climate.

  • Overcommunicate and Leverage All Channels – It’s important to leverage all available communication channels as you build up to, execute, and celebrate the success of your campaign. These channels may include email, intranet, newsletters, social media tools, physical signage, or executive communications. Messages from executives, local leadership, and employee resource groups can effectively reach field-based employees. Inclusivity is essential here, too—your communication choice for one set of employees may need to pivot for another.

By leveraging your employees’ interest and passion, you can drive deeper engagement and showcase your company’s commitment to corporate citizenship. But don’t wait—it’s essential to start the giving season momentum now to ensure you’re fully harnessing the passion and generosity of your employees.

Looking for more tips for building effective giving programs? Contact

Fidelity Charitable is an independent public charity that has helped donors support more than 357,000 nonprofit organizations with more than $61 billion in grants. Established in 1991, Fidelity Charitable launched the first national donor-advised fund program. The mission of the organization is to grow the American tradition of philanthropy by providing programs that make charitable giving accessible, simple, and effective.

Fidelity Charitable is the brand name for the Fidelity Investments® Charitable Gift Fund, an independent public charity donor-advised fund program. Various Fidelity companies provide services to Fidelity Charitable. The Fidelity Charitable name and logo and Fidelity are registered service marks of FMR LLC, used by Fidelity Charitable under license. Giving Account® is a registered service mark of the Trustees of Fidelity Charitable. 


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