Increasing Participation Rate for Your Plan

Did you know that more than half of American workers are not saving enough for retirement? A quarter of those individuals haven’t saved anything at all. Maybe you’re wondering if you can sponsor a tax-sheltered annuity 403(b) plan to your employees to assist your employees in saving for retirement.

It’s never too late to start, so let’s discuss if your employer can sponsor a specific type of retirement plan, the 403(b) retirement plan.

Who can participate in 403(b) plan? Those that are exempt from ERISA. This is considered a Non-ERISA type of plan. Below are common institutions that can sponsor a 403(b) plan:

  • Public Education Institution and certain Governmental Employers:
    • Examples include; public school districts, community colleges, state-funded colleges, state-funding universities, some charter schools and Departments of Education.
  • Designated 501c3 Organizations:
    • Examples include; county or district hospitals, charitable, community service organizations and religious organizations. Those that received a 501c3 determination letter from the IRS may be allowed.

If you have questions to whether your entity can sponsor a 403(b) plan, please refer to the type of entity your company is, as well as contacting the IRS. You may also contact NBS (National Benefit Services) by phone at 1(800) 274-0503 option 5 or by email at with any follow up questions.


Now, let’s focus our attention on these participation rates. If you are in a public education institution, it is estimated that your participation rate is 40%, while those in a 501c3 organization is up at 53%. There is plenty of room to grow with increasing these participation rates! More information on this data can be found here.

Did you know that, if your plans participation rate is less than 20%, this increases your chances of being audited by the IRS? By increasing your participation rates, this chance is decreased. Wow! By educating yourself and others with retirement opportunities, this can in turn, increase this participation. There’s something for everyone at this point, creating a win-win all around!

Below are some ways to increase your participation rates:

  • Provide the Meaningful Notice (Universal Availability Notice for 403(b)) to all eligible participants. This is very informative for the participants and it is required by the IRS! For more information regarding increasing participation or preparing your plan’s meaningful notice, contact NBS.
  • Educate your employees that saving additional for retirement will better aid them later in life. Many eligible employees are not aware of their options.
  • Review your approved investment provider listing, to provide an array of different investment options for participants.
  • Host a financial benefits fair to employees, highlighting information on retirement benefits.
  • Utilize financial advisors in your area to assist with participant questions and education.
  • Have a reliable TPA, such as NBS, who can provide unbiased, factual information and necessary forms to administer your retirement plan.


For more information regarding this information here and increasing participation rates, please follow this link or contact your relationship manager at NBS by phone at 1(800)274-0503 option 5.