How Companies Can Celebrate National Nonprofit Day

Each August 17th we celebrate National Nonprofit Day (NND) to celebrate the positive impact nonprofits have on our communities, whether it be at a local, national or global level. In 2017 Sherita J. Herring founded NND “to educate, enlighten and empower others to make a difference, while acknowledging those that are in the trenches, impacting lives every day – the Change-Makers of the World!” 

On August 17th in 1894, The Tariff Act was signed into law, which included exemptions for nonprofit organizations and charitable institutions. Since then, nonprofits have been able to have a significant impact on society, whether by advocacy, furthering access to the arts, education, and health care, or by providing direct program services to underserved or marginalized groups. 

In 2015 (the most recent data available), there were 1.56 million nonprofits registered with the IRS in the U.S.  Collectively they contributed to 5.4 percent of the nation's GDP. Nonprofits are also one of the greatest sources of employment across the country. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nonprofit sector employs 11.4 million people or 10.2 percent of the American workforce. 

Here are three ways your company can celebrate nonprofits: 

Contribute your skills
Summer months tend to be slower at work, so encourage your staff to use this down-period for pro bono work. Partner with a nonprofit and contribute expertise in areas such as software development, marketing, social media and graphic design to bring the organization you’re helping to the next level. Employees will love using their particular powers for good, which also leads to greater visibility for the company among local businesses and charities.

Socially conscious team bonding 
Use NND as an opportunity for a team outing. Provide your team with a few options for a volunteer day and take a vote. It could be anything from volunteering at a food pantry, planting plants at a local park, or helping kids learn to code.

For some companies and small businesses, having full teams leaving the office for a large part of the day is not always feasible, so use NDD as an opportunity to fundraise. Host a company-wide book fair benefiting charities focused on children’s literacy, or even a bake sale, where proceeds benefit organizations that champion food insecurity. 

Matching Gifts 
Statistics show people are willing to donate when provided an easy method of doing so, such as through payroll deduction. Employees who give via payroll deductions are pledging a fixed percentage or dollar amount of their paycheck to their charity of choice, either through a campaign, like an awareness month, or year-round.

To further incentivize employees to give, companies should promote their corporate matching programs. Many major corporations match dollar for dollar, and some companies will even triple the original donated amount. Other companies—including 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies—have established a “Dollar for Doer” program in which they give a small grant to an organization to which an employee has volunteered a significant number of hours.

In celebration of NDD, consider increasing your company’s match for one-day only or have an internal challenge of how much they would like to give, which directly corresponds to how much their employees give. A little competition never hurt anyone.