Written by Caroline Vives-Vietri, MPA, MNM, CNP, CGSP
Reading Time: 2 minutes

How can you incentivize your employees to give graciously? Some of my first memories of fundraising come from elementary school with campaigns such as Otis Spunkmeyer cookies and other catalog fundraisers. I can remember a class competition for each grade level led by a teacher for which class could raise the most money. To any student making your teacher proud is always the biggest reward. Each morning in class the teacher would color in the benchmark of money raised on the chalkboard to show us how much more was still needed to fundraise leading to the big reward…a pizza party. 

Fast forward to today, it has been 17 years since elementary school, and the incentives haven’t changed. I work in higher education and am asked to participate in an annual giving campaign each year for a local nonprofit to support its community efforts. This year the Team Leader was aiming for 100% participation within our department’s team. During the final stretch of the campaign, the Team Leader encourages anyone especially new contributors to give for the added incentive of drumroll please… a pizza party hosted by the VP. 

As an employee reading this email, I thought to myself, “to tackle the pizza party incentive, we must first think about what incentive appeals to all employees that would lead to a contribution to the campaign”. Here are a few suggestions for Campaign Chairs to offer: 

  • Half-Day Friday

Increase morale by shortening the workweek, this allows employees to feel accomplished and refreshed for the weekend.

  • Free Jeans Day

Offer employees to wear jeans on another day of the week besides Friday. Wearing jeans can still be professional but create a more relaxed working environment. 

  • Team Luncheon

Take the team out to lunch for their efforts in collaborative giving. Let the team decide on where lunch is to ensure there is something for everyone to eat. 

  • Remote Day

If your office offers a hybrid-flexible work schedule managers can provide an additional remote workday outside of the policies. Having one more day at home can help reset the motivation levels for the workweek to come. 

  • Paid Volunteer Hours

Managers can provide a list of agencies within the organization that is being supported to supplement work hours with volunteer hours. Giving back to the community is important and will create a connection with both the employee and the organization. 

  • Employer Match

Match employer’s donations during a certain window of time as a speed challenge or in the final stretch of the campaign. If employees see that leadership is invested, then they are more likely to support the mission. 

  • Celebration in a Coffee Cup

Assemble the key ingredients for a cup of coffee with added celebratory messages or words of encouragement to the employees who are contributing to the campaign consistently. 

  • Break Time Buddies

Reach out to a local animal shelter to provide animal visitation during lunch break hours to relieve stress, anxiety, and bring smiles to employees’ faces. 

From my experience, employees want to support overarching fundraising initiatives set out by their department but may need an extra push to do so. By finding the right motivating factor for your employees it will increase the overall giving and participation in the campaign. 

It’s about time we outgrew pizza parties.

Meet the Author: Caroline Vives-Vietri, MPA, MNM, CNP, CGSP

Picture of Caroline

Throughout her career Caroline has devoted time to serving her community, building a supportive network, strengthening fundraising efforts and enhancing relationships. 

When Caroline is not working, she is engaged in numerous activities within her community. She is passionate about supporting animal welfare and advocacy programs, Phi Mu Fraternity, and mentoring young women.