The holidays are nearly upon us, and you might be thinking of ways you and your team can embrace the season and best give back.

One of the keys to a successful charity program, of course, is getting your employees invested in your company's initiative. America's Charities, an organization that connects companies with charities, recently released its 2013 report highlighting the key trends and challenges in engaging employees in the effort.

The free report represents findings from such large corporations as Disney and Wal-Mart, but some of its takeaways are applicable to businesses of any size.

First, the bad news: Employee participation in corporate-giving programs is down since 2006, according to the report, with only about 33 percent of employees taking part at the companies surveyed. And at two-thirds of companies, less than 50 percent gave to the corporate program.

Here are two ideas to help bolster your company's participation rate:

  • Give individual employees a greater role in the process. Companies reported stronger participation rates if they gave employees a choice among charities. Many businesses are taking note. The number of organizations encouraging employees to donate to either one of a group of charities or the charity of their choice has increased by more than 200 percent since 2000.
  • Offer incentives to encourage employee giving. Among the companies surveyed in the report, 63 percent match employee-payroll contributions. That's up from 40 percent in 2006 and 20 percent in 2000.