By Adrienne Erin
Whether it’s a bear or bull market, corporate giving is destined to charge straight ahead. It may alter in form and intensity to match the tenor of the times, but being generous is more complex than merely feeling good about it.
Charitable fundraising provides vital support to the economy’s non-profit sector, which in turn plays its own unique role in keeping the nation, and the world, running smoothly. Giving back also enhances your community profile outside of your direct network. As a result, you may attract new clients from unexpected places.
Most importantly, for you and your team, paying it forward in the workplace pays dividends in terms of enhanced employee performance and engagement. This fact often remains the most overlooked and underreported, but the reverse should be true.
Understand the Value in Workplace Giving
Workers who give their time and money through workplace giving or volunteer programs do two things:
- They perform more effectively.
- They identify more strongly with the company’s overall vision.
One recent study showed a 13 percent jump in productivity among workers whose employers consulted and included them in their company’s philanthropic initiatives. And companies could see a 15 percent increase in productivity if they offer charitable gifts as employee rewards.
Experts advise that volunteering time for a cause is equally valuable. It provides staffers with great leadership opportunities, as well as more teamwork and mentorship opportunities.
If you’re worried that the drain on employees’ time will lead to business loss, know that the opposite is true. A statistical correlation can be drawn between high productivity, higher profits and pro bono work. And perhaps best of all: donating time and money to non-profit causes has also been proven to increase staff recruitment and retention.
Make Sure Your Company Measures Up
Successful workplace giving programs adopt an integrated approach to fundraising to motivate more staffers to get on board. Whether you lead a Fortune 500 company or a startup just a few minutes off the ground, there are myriad ways of giving to suit your company’s vision and budget. Consider the following tips:
1. Ask your human resources team. The HR team can help you launch a corporate social responsibility (CSR) plan. HR either already knows what your employees care about or they can quickly find out. If you let the HR team know you count on them, you’ll automatically wind up with more heads in the game, and they may even turn cartwheels to wow you.
2. Empower local managers to help lead community fundraising efforts. Local managers are members of their communities and thereby more invested in outcomes from the start. They may also seem more accessible and less intimidating to employees on the front lines of fundraising. As you trust managers to lead, you boost their level of engagement, again boosting performance as well.
3. Ask your marketing team to leverage social media. In so doing, you personally acknowledge the importance of your marketing team. Take it a step further and have HR launch a social media sharing contest among staffers. Be sure to personally recognize the efforts of top sharers.