The Big Donation Distribution Problem You Don’t Know About
At Groundswell, we are passionate about challenging the status quo, and one industry standard that we’ve set our sights on is the unconscionable donation distribution delays normalized by legacy platforms like Benevity, Cybergrants, and YourCause. These companies, which currently service the majority of Fortune 500 companies, routinely take 30-60 days to send a donor’s donation to charity, and 90-180 days to send a company’s matching gift.
We believe that this is wrong. So we’ve fixed it.
Groundswell is the fastest employee giving platform, sending both the employee’s donation and the company’s match together within 5 days.
Why do distribution timelines matter?
In this blog post I’m going to share with you why this is so powerful. But first, let me tell you why this is personal.
From 2010 through 2020 I served as the founder and CEO of the global humanitarian relief organization Team Rubicon (TR). TR responds to hundreds of disasters and crises each year, each mission carefully planned. One critical planning factor is fundraising – how much will the organization be able to successfully raise in the immediate onset of this event? The first 96 hours of an event are the most telling, as individual donations begin pouring in and corporations begin calling to make pledges. Using these early signals, a budget is prepared and a mission is launched.
Now fast-forward four months. A literal mountain of paper checks begin arriving, representing the matching donations that have finally been invoiced, collected, aggregated, and distributed to us by Benevity, Cybergrants, and YourCause. However, more often than not the mission was already over – and the money now unable to be spent effectively.
Don’t get me wrong – a nonprofit is never going to complain about donations coming in. But having not known that these checks were coming, they were not included in the original budgeting. This created massive headaches for our staff, but more importantly, represented a missed opportunity to have delivered more impact during the response phase.
When I started Groundswell, this was one very real problem that I set out to solve.
Why does it take so long for legacy platforms to distribute donations?
There are several things that lead to these distribution delays, the primary of which is these platform’s process of distributing donations in aggregated batches. That process looks like this:
- Employee 1 makes a $10 donation to a Charity X on September 1st, Employee 2 makes a $15 donation to Charity X on September 10th, and Employee 3 makes a $25 donation to Charity X on September 30th.
- In October, the legacy platform combines all donations designated for Charity X in September into a single amount – in this instance $50 ($10 + $15 + $25)
- On or around October 15th, $50 is sent to Charity X – often via a paper check
In this process, Employee 1’s donation does not reach the charity for at least 45 days. Worse yet, many platforms have a minimum donation threshold, which means that the platform will not process the distribution until a minimum amount has been designated for the charity. This often means that a donor’s money can sit as a pending payment for months or even years, until additional donors make enough donations to reach the threshold.
The process gets even more convoluted when there’s a corporate donation match involved. That process looks like this:
- Let’s assume Employees 1 and 2 in the above scenario work for Acme Corporate, while Employee 3 works for XYZ Corp. Acme Corp and XYZ Corp both offer employee donation matches.
- Following their respective September donations, the legacy platform will send both Acme Corp and XYZ Corp an invoice for the match amount owed by each company, $25 and $25 respectively in this example. This invoice is sent in late October for September’s donations.
- Both companies receive and review the invoice. Reconciling the invoice takes 1-2 weeks.
- Upon approval, administrators at both companies forward the invoice to accounts payable for payment. Acme Corp has net-30 payment terms and sends the legacy platform $25 in late November. XYZ Corp has net-60 payment terms, so does not send its $25 until late December.
- The platform receives all funds in late December and processes payment of the matching donations to Charity X in January.
This example clearly lays out how an employee that made a donation on September 1st may not have her matching donation reach the charity for five months! This process erodes the employee experience, creates unnecessary administrative tasks for company administrators, and delays critical cash flow for nonprofits.
How has Groundswell upended this process to make distributions in 5 days?
Groundswell’s commitment to social impact drives everything we do. Thus, we set out to set a new standard in donation distribution timelines. The result is that we:
- Instantly match an employee’s donation
- Send both the employee’s donation and the company match together within 5 days
- No longer aggregate these payments together, but instead send them individually
Now we have improved the employee experience, eliminated the administrative burden on companies, and improved the nonprofit’s cash flow.
But we’re not done. The only reason we’re waiting five days to distribute instead of sending the funds within 24 hours is because donors occasionally initiate credit card or ACH reversals, and it’s challenging to resolve these if we’ve already sent the funds to charity. However, we’re committed to examining the data over the coming months to determine what our reversal rate is, and whether we’re able to further reduce this timeline accordingly.
11 Common Types of Corporate Giving Programs
Corporate giving programs are company-subsidized charity programs that businesses use to encourage their employees to participate in donations.
Successful companies build corporate giving programs into their employee benefits packages for a handful of reasons. Those reasons include making the world a better place, attracting and retaining talented employees who want to work for a purpose, and improve the public status of the company.
Corporate giving programs come in many different forms, from gifting and matching to volunteer grants.
Here’s a list of common types of corporate giving programs:
Gifting and Matching
Corporate gifting and matching programs are a way for companies to encourage their employees to give back to their communities. These programs can take many different forms, but they all have the same goal: to make it easier for employees to donate their time and money to causes they care about.
One type of corporate gifting program is a matching gift program. In a matching gift program, the company will match employee donations to certain charities, up to a certain amount. For example, a company might match employee donations to the United Way up to $500 per year. This is a great way for companies to double the impact of their employees’ donations.
Another type of corporate gifting program is a volunteer grant program. In a volunteer grant program, the company will give employees paid time off to volunteer for certain charities. This is a great way for employees to give back to their communities without having to sacrifice their work hours.
Corporate gifting and matching programs are a great way for companies to show their employees that they care about giving back. These programs can also help to attract and retain top talent, as employees are more likely to want to work for a company that shares their values.
Here are some of the benefits of corporate gifting and matching programs:
- Employee engagement: Corporate gifting and matching programs can help to increase employee engagement by giving employees a way to give back to their communities.
- Employee morale: Corporate gifting and matching programs can help to improve employee morale by showing employees that their company cares about giving back.
- Company reputation: Corporate gifting and matching programs can help to improve a company’s reputation by showing that the company is committed to social responsibility.
- Tax benefits: In some cases, corporate gifting and matching programs can provide tax benefits for the company.
If you are looking for a way to give back to your community and show your employees that you care, consider starting a corporate gifting or matching program.
A volunteer grant is a monetary award given to a nonprofit organization by a corporation in recognition of volunteer work being done by a company’s employees. This practice is widespread in the United States. Corporate giving programs created to encourage volunteerism by a corporation’s employees by providing volunteer grants are called volunteer grant programs or Dollars for Doers programs.
Philanthropic organizations offer grants for individuals to volunteer with nonprofit organizations for an extended period of time. These are sometimes called volunteer grants but are normally referred to as fellowships. In these cases, a volunteer receives a stipend from a nonprofit to live and work within a community in need. Companies typically state that any 501(c)(3) nonprofit or school is eligible for their corporate volunteer grant scheme; most however require a minimum number of hours served.
Volunteer grants can be a great way for companies to encourage their employees to give back to their communities and to support the causes they care about. They can also be a great way for companies to build relationships with local nonprofits and to show their commitment to social responsibility.
If you are a nonprofit organization that is interested in applying for a volunteer grant, be sure to check with your local corporations to see if they offer such a program. You can also find a list of companies that offer volunteer grants online.
A fundraising match is a corporate giving program in which a company matches employee donations to a nonprofit organization. For example, if an employee donates $100 to a nonprofit, the company might match that donation with another $100, bringing the total donation to $200.
Fundraising matches are a great way for companies to encourage employees to give back to their communities. They can also help to raise more money for nonprofits.
Here are some of the benefits of fundraising matches:
- They can help to raise more money for nonprofits. When a company matches employee donations, it essentially doubles the amount of money that is raised for the nonprofit. This can be a huge help to nonprofits, especially those that are working on important but underfunded causes.
- They can encourage employee giving. Fundraising matches can make it more likely that employees will donate to their favorite nonprofits. When employees know that their donations will be matched, they are more likely to give. This can lead to a significant increase in donations for nonprofits.
- They can help to build employee morale. Fundraising matches can show employees that their company cares about giving back to the community. This can help to build employee morale and make employees feel more connected to their company.
- They can help to improve a company’s reputation. When a company has a fundraising match program, it shows that the company is committed to social responsibility. This can help to improve the company’s reputation and make it more attractive to potential employees and customers.
If you are looking for a way to support your favorite nonprofit organization, be sure to check with your company to see if they have a fundraising match program. It’s a great way to double your donation and help make a difference in the world.
Community grants are financial awards given to nonprofit organizations or other community groups to support their work in the community. They can be used to fund a variety of projects, such as:
- Programs that provide direct services to community members, such as food banks, homeless shelters, and after-school programs.
- Projects that improve the community’s infrastructure, such as parks, libraries, and community centers.
- Initiatives that promote social change, such as those that address poverty, hunger, or education inequality.
Community grants are often awarded by foundations, corporations, and government agencies. They can be competitive, so it is important to carefully research the eligibility requirements and application process before applying.
Here are some of the benefits of community grants:
- They can help to fund important projects that benefit the community.
- They can help to build partnerships between nonprofits and other community groups.
- They can help to raise awareness of important issues in the community.
- They can help to improve the quality of life in the community.
If you are a nonprofit organization or other community group that is interested in applying for a community grant, be sure to do your research and find a grant that is a good fit for your organization and its work. There are many different types of community grants available, so you are sure to find one that is right for you.
Dollars for Doers
Dollars for Doers is a type of corporate giving program in which a company provides monetary grants to nonprofits where its employees regularly volunteer.
These programs are sometimes referred to by other names such as:
- Volunteer grants
- Dollar for hour
- Matching time
- Volunteer matching
- Grants for time
- Matching gift per hour
- Credit per hour
- Service credit
Here are some of the benefits of Dollars for Doers programs for both companies and nonprofits:
- Increased employee engagement and morale
- Improved company reputation
- Tax benefits
- Increased funding
- Increased visibility
- Increased volunteerism
If you are a company or nonprofit interested in learning more about Dollars for Doers programs, many resources are available online. You can also contact your local United Way or other community foundation for more information.
Team Volunteer Grants
A team volunteer grant is a corporate giving program in which a company provides a monetary donation to a nonprofit organization when a group of employees volunteer together. These programs encourage team building, community service, and employee engagement.
Many types of team volunteer grants are available, each with its own set of eligibility requirements and benefits. Some companies offer grants for any team of employees who volunteer together, while others require that teams meet certain criteria, such as a minimum number of volunteer hours or a specific type of service.
In addition to providing financial support, team volunteer grants can also offer other benefits to nonprofits. For example, companies may provide teams with training or resources to help them maximize their volunteer experience. They may also help to promote the nonprofit’s work to the company’s employees and customers.
If you are interested in applying for a team volunteer grant, you should keep a few things in mind. First, you will need to find a company that offers this type of program. You can search online or contact your company’s human resources department. Once you have found a company that offers team volunteer grants, you will need to read the program’s eligibility requirements carefully. These requirements may vary from company to company, so it is important to ensure your team meets all of the criteria.
Once you have determined that your team is eligible for a team volunteer grant, you will need to submit an application. The application process will vary from company to company, so be sure to read the instructions carefully. In general, you will need to provide information about your team’s volunteer project, the number of hours that your team will volunteer, and the impact that your team’s volunteer work will have.
If your team is selected to receive a team volunteer grant, you will be notified by the company. The company will then provide you with the grant money, which you can use to support your team’s volunteer project.
Team volunteer grants are a great way to encourage team building, community service, and employee engagement. If your company offers this type of program, I encourage you to apply for a grant. It is a great way to give back to your community and to show your employees that you value their time and effort.
Here are some additional tips for applying for a team volunteer grant:
- Start planning your volunteer project early. This will give you plenty of time to find a project that is a good fit for your team and to secure the necessary permissions.
- Be clear about the impact that your team’s volunteer work will have. This will help the company to see the value of your project and to make a decision about whether or not to award you a grant.
- Get creative with your project. The more unique and interesting your project is, the more likely it is to stand out to the company.
- Be sure to follow all of the company’s requirements. This will increase your chances of being selected for a grant.
Volunteer Support Programs
Volunteer support programs are designed to help volunteers find, prepare for, and succeed in their volunteer roles. These programs can provide volunteers with a variety of resources, such as training, orientation, and support networks.
There are many different types of volunteer support programs available, each with its own focus and target audience. Some programs are designed for specific groups of volunteers, such as new volunteers, young volunteers, or volunteers with disabilities. Other programs are designed to provide support for specific types of volunteer work, such as disaster relief, environmental conservation, or social justice.
Volunteer support programs can be offered by a variety of organizations, including nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and businesses. Some programs are free to use, while others charge a fee.
If you are interested in volunteering, I encourage you to find a volunteer support program that is right for you. These programs can help you make the most of your volunteer experience and make a difference in your community.
Here are some of the benefits of participating in a volunteer support program:
- Training and orientation: Volunteer support programs can provide you with the training and orientation you need to be successful in your volunteer role. This training can cover topics such as safety, ethics, and effective communication.
- Support networks: Volunteer support programs can provide you with a support network of other volunteers. This network can provide you with encouragement, advice, and friendship.
- Resources: Volunteer support programs can provide you with a variety of resources to help you in your volunteer role. These resources can include training materials, equipment, and funding.
- Recognition: Volunteer support programs can help you to be recognized for your volunteer work. This recognition can come in the form of awards, certificates, or public recognition.
If you are interested in finding a volunteer support program, there are a few things you can do. First, you can search online for volunteer support programs in your area. You can also contact your local nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and businesses to see if they offer volunteer support programs.
Once you have found a volunteer support program that you are interested in, you can contact the program to learn more about it. The program can provide you with information about the program’s requirements, fees, and benefits.
I hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to ask.
Annual giving is a type of fundraising that focuses on raising money from individuals on an ongoing basis throughout the year. It is a critical component of a nonprofit’s fundraising strategy, as it can provide a steady stream of income to support the organization’s ongoing programs and services.
There are many different ways to raise money through annual giving. Some common methods include:
- Direct mail
- Phone calls
- Social media
- Special events
Annual giving campaigns can be very successful, but they require careful planning and execution. It is important to identify your target audience, create compelling appeals, and track your results.
If you are a nonprofit, I encourage you to consider annual giving as a part of your fundraising strategy. It is a proven way to raise money from individuals and build a strong donor base.
Here are some of the benefits of annual giving:
- It is a reliable source of income for nonprofits.
- It helps to build relationships with donors.
- It can be used to support a variety of programs and services.
- It is a cost-effective way to raise money.
If you are interested in learning more about annual giving, there are many resources available online and in libraries. You can also contact your local nonprofit organization for more information.
Annual Grant Stipends
An annual grant stipend is a type of grant that is awarded to individuals or organizations on an annual basis. These grants are typically used to support ongoing programs or activities, rather than one-time projects.
There are many different types of annual grant stipends available, each with its own eligibility requirements and benefits. Some grants are open to all applicants, while others are only available to specific groups of people, such as students, artists, or nonprofit organizations.
In addition to providing financial support, annual grant stipends can also offer other benefits to recipients, such as:
- Access to resources and support networks
- Credibility and visibility
- Increased opportunities for collaboration and networking
- The ability to reach a wider audience
If you are interested in applying for an annual grant stipend, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, you will need to find a grant that is a good fit for your needs and goals. You can do this by searching online or contacting your local nonprofit organization. Once you have found a grant that you are interested in, you will need to read the application carefully and make sure that you meet all of the eligibility requirements.
The application process for annual grant stipends will vary from grant to grant. However, in general, you will need to provide information about your project, your qualifications, and your budget. You may also be asked to submit letters of support from colleagues, mentors, or other community members.
If you are selected to receive an annual grant stipend, you will be notified by the grantor. The grantor will then provide you with the grant money, which you can use to support your project.
Annual grant stipends are a great way to support your work and make a difference in your community. If you are eligible, I encourage you to apply for a grant. It is a great way to get the financial support you need to achieve your goals.
Here are some additional tips for applying for an annual grant stipend:
- Start planning early. The grant application process can be time-consuming, so it is important to start planning early.
- Be clear about your goals. The grantor wants to know what you plan to do with the money, so be clear about your goals and how the money will be used.
- Tailor your application to the grant. Each grant has its own eligibility requirements and benefits, so be sure to tailor your application to the specific grant you are applying for.
- Proofread carefully. Typos and grammatical errors can make a bad impression on the grantor, so be sure to proofread your application carefully before submitting it.
I hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to ask.
Internal Employee Fundraising
Internal employee fundraising is a type of fundraising that takes place within a company. It is a way for employees to come together and raise money for a cause that they care about.
There are many different ways to raise money through internal employee fundraising. Some common methods include:
- Donation campaigns: Employees can donate money directly to the cause.
- Matching gifts: Companies can match employee donations, which can double or triple the amount of money raised.
- Volunteerism: Employees can volunteer their time to the cause.
- Product sales: Employees can sell products or services to raise money for the cause.
- Special events: Companies can host special events, such as bake sales or walk-a-thons, to raise money for the cause.
Internal employee fundraising can be a very successful way to raise money for a cause. It is a great way to get employees involved in giving back to their community and to build a sense of community within the company.
Employee Product Donation Programs (EPDP)
An Employee Product Donation Program (EPDP) is a corporate giving program that allows employees to donate company products to nonprofit organizations. EPDPs are a great way for companies to give back to their communities and to engage their employees in philanthropy.
There are many different ways that EPDPs can be structured. Some companies allow employees to donate any company product, while others only allow employees to donate specific products. Some companies also require employees to get approval from their manager before donating, while others do not.
The benefits of EPDPs for companies include:
- Increased employee engagement: EPDPs can help to increase employee engagement by giving employees a way to give back to their communities and to feel like they are making a difference.
- Positive public relations: EPDPs can generate positive public relations for companies by showing that they are committed to giving back to their communities.
- Tax benefits: In some cases, companies may be able to deduct the cost of donated products from their taxes.
The benefits of EPDPs for nonprofits include:
- Increased access to resources: EPDPs can help nonprofits to get access to resources that they might not otherwise be able to afford.
- Increased visibility: EPDPs can help nonprofits to increase their visibility in the community.
- Increased donations: EPDPs can help nonprofits to raise more money from donors.
If you are considering implementing an EPDP, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, you must ensure you have the resources to support the program. Second, you need to ensure that you have a process for managing the program. Third, you need to make sure that you are promoting the program to your employees.
EPDPs can be a great way for companies to give back to their communities and to engage their employees in philanthropy. If you are considering implementing an EPDP, I encourage you to do so. It is a great way to make a difference in the world.
46 companies practicing CSR and how they’re doing it.
Companies have a responsibility to their customers, shareholders, and the communities in which they operate.
Social responsibility is important for businesses because it helps to create a positive company image, build trust with customers, and create a positive impact in the community. It can also help to foster employee engagement and loyalty, as well as create a more sustainable business model. Companies that exhibit social responsibility can also benefit from a competitive advantage, as customers are more likely to purchase from businesses that are socially conscious.
Additionally, socially responsible companies are better positioned to attract and retain top talent, as employees are increasingly looking to work for organizations that are committed to making a positive impact.
Want to modernize your company’s philanthropy? Visit Groundswell.io and learn how.
Here is a list of 46 companies with what many consider the best CSR practices and how they’re doing it:
Patagonia – This outdoor clothing company is known for its commitment to environmental sustainability and ethical labor practices.
Seventh Generation – This company produces eco-friendly household products and is committed to transparency, social justice, and environmental sustainability.
TOMS Shoes – This company is known for its “one for one” model, in which it donates a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair purchased.
Warby Parker – This eyewear company is committed to social and environmental responsibility, and has a program in place to provide eyeglasses to people in need.
Eileen Fisher – This fashion company is committed to sustainability, ethical labor practices, and environmental responsibility.
The Body Shop – This cosmetics company is committed to ethical sourcing and environmental sustainability.
Ben & Jerry’s – This ice cream company is known for its commitment to social and environmental causes and has a history of supporting progressive social and political issues.
REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.) – This outdoor retailer is committed to sustainability and has a program in place to support outdoor recreation and conservation efforts.
The Honest Company – This company produces household and personal care products and is committed to using safe, non-toxic ingredients and environmentally sustainable practices.
Method – This company produces eco-friendly cleaning and personal care products and is committed to sustainability and social responsibility.
Tesla – This electric vehicle company is known for its commitment to sustainability and reducing the environmental impact of transportation.
Unilever – This consumer goods company is committed to sustainability and has a number of initiatives in place to reduce its environmental impact and promote social responsibility.
Google – This technology company is committed to sustainability and has a number of initiatives in place to reduce its environmental impact, including a goal to be powered by 100% renewable energy.
Apple – This technology company is committed to sustainability and has a number of initiatives in place to reduce its environmental impact, including a goal to be powered by 100% renewable energy.
General Motors – This automotive company is committed to sustainability and has a number of initiatives in place to reduce its environmental impact, including the development of electric and hybrid vehicles.
Nike – This athletic wear company is committed to sustainability and has a number of initiatives in place to reduce its environmental impact and promote ethical labor practices.
The North Face – This outdoor clothing company is committed to sustainability and has a number of initiatives in place to reduce its environmental impact, including the use of recycled materials in its products.
Intel – This technology company is committed to sustainability and has a number of initiatives in place to reduce its environmental impact, including a goal to be powered by 100% renewable energy.
HP – This technology company is committed to sustainability and has a number of initiatives in place to reduce its environmental impact, including the use of recycled materials in its products and a goal to be powered by 100% renewable energy.
Johnson & Johnson – This healthcare company is committed to sustainability and has a number of initiatives in place to reduce its environmental impact, including the use of eco-friendly materials in its products.
Microsoft – This technology company is committed to sustainability and has a number of initiatives in place to reduce its environmental impact, including a goal to be powered by 100% renewable energy.
The Coca-Cola Company – This beverage company is committed to sustainability and has a number of initiatives in place to reduce its environmental impact, including the use of recycled materials in its packaging.
IBM – This technology company is committed to sustainability and has a number of initiatives in place to reduce its environmental impact, including a goal to be powered by 100% renewable energy.
Amazon – This e-commerce company is committed to sustainability and has a number of initiatives in place to reduce its environmental impact, including the use of renewable energy in its operations.
The Home Depot – This home improvement retailer is committed to sustainability and has a number of initiatives in place to reduce its environmental impact, including the sale of energy-efficient products.
Wal-Mart – This retail company is committed to sustainability and has a number of initiatives in place to reduce its environmental impact, including the use of renewable energy in its operations.
Target – This retail company is committed to sustainability and has a number of initiatives in place to reduce its environmental impact, including the use of renewable energy in its operations.
Best Buy – This electronics retailer is committed to sustainability and has a number of initiatives in place to reduce its environmental impact, including the sale of energy-efficient products.
Goldman Sachs – This investment bank is committed to sustainability and has a number of initiatives in place to reduce its environmental impact, including the financing of renewable energy projects.
JPMorgan Chase – This financial services company is committed to sustainability and has a number of initiatives in place to reduce its environmental impact, including the financing of renewable energy projects.
Wells Fargo – This financial services company is committed to sustainability and has a number of initiatives in place to reduce its environmental impact, including the financing of renewable energy projects.
Verizon – This telecommunications company is committed to sustainability and has a number of initiatives in place to reduce its environmental impact, including the use of renewable energy in its operations.
AT&T – This telecommunications company is committed to sustainability and has a number of initiatives in place to reduce its environmental impact, including the use of renewable energy in its operations.
The Hartford – This insurance company is committed to sustainability and has a number of initiatives in place to reduce its environmental impact, including the use of renewable energy in its operations.
Procter & Gamble – This consumer goods company is committed to sustainability and has a number of initiatives in place to reduce its environmental impact, including the use of eco-friendly materials in its products.
The Hershey Company – This food and beverage company is committed to sustainability and has a number of initiatives in place to reduce its environmental impact, including the use of renewable energy in its operations.
The Dannon Company – This food and beverage company is committed to sustainability and has a number of initiatives in place to reduce its environmental impact, including the use of eco-friendly materials in its packaging.
Nespresso – This coffee company is committed to sustainability and has a number of initiatives in place to reduce its environmental impact, including the use of eco-friendly materials in its packaging and the financing of renewable energy projects.
Campbell Soup Company – This food and beverage company is committed to sustainability and has a number of initiatives in place to reduce its environmental impact, including the use of renewable energy in its operations.
Nestle – This food and beverage company is committed to sustainability and has a number of initiatives in place to reduce its environmental impact, including the use of renewable energy in its operations.
L’Oreal – This cosmetics company is committed to sustainability and has a number of initiatives in place to reduce its environmental impact, including the use of eco-friendly materials in its packaging.
Johnson Controls – This technology and engineering company is committed to sustainability and has a number of initiatives in place to reduce its environmental impact, including the use of renewable energy in its operations.
General Electric – This technology and engineering company is committed to sustainability and has a number of initiatives in place to reduce its environmental impact, including the use of renewable energy in its operations.
PepsiCo – This food and beverage company is committed to sustainability and has a number of initiatives in place to reduce its environmental impact, including the use of renewable energy in its operations.
Kraft Heinz – This food and beverage company is committed to sustainability and has a number of initiatives in place to reduce its environmental impact, including the use of renewable energy in its operations.
Levi Strauss & Co. – This clothing company is committed to sustainability and has a number of initiatives in place to reduce its environmental impact, including the use of eco-friendly materials in its products.
eBay – This e-commerce company is committed to sustainability and has a number of initiatives in place to reduce its environmental impact, including the use of renewable energy in its operations.
8 Powerful Ways To Elevate Your Corporate Philanthropy Efforts
In today’s business world, corporate philanthropy is more than a buzzword. Engaged consumers want to do business with brands that give back — and they’re not the only ones. An effective, modern employee giving program is fast becoming a key benefit to attract and maintain top talent. Corporate giving isn’t a new concept, but it is one that’s evolved — and continues to evolve — over time.
In the early days, the owners of companies did good things out of a combination of noblesse oblige and enlightened self-interest. In most cases, they gave to charities that aligned with their interests and pet projects, which may or may not have had anything to do with the purpose of their business. Steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, for example, famously championed public libraries because he believed that the key to betterment was education. Henry Ford founded the Edison Institute (now the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village) to share his enthusiasm for American inventions and industry. And Lane Bryant, who founded the first company to sell maternity clothing for women to wear in public, offered free clothing to any woman who lost her wardrobe in a disaster, and donated generously to Jewish charities.
It wasn’t until the middle of the 20th century, in the post-World War II era, that philanthropy became institutionalized. Large corporations, such as Ford, AT&T, Phillip Morris and Chase Manhattan Bank established foundations and corporate giving programs that were an integral part of their business. They were motivated by a sense of social responsibility, similar to the business magnates that came before them. The giving programs were often focused on the communities where they did business, and they often made grants with little consideration of publicity or benefit to the business.
In the 1980s, corporate philanthropy underwent a seismic shift with the rise of strategic philanthropy, which ties corporate giving to the strategic marketing and business goals of a company. It’s the genesis of the popular phrase “doing well by doing good,” which suggests that businesses can benefit their bottom line by giving back to the community in public ways. Corporate philanthropy, done “right” could boost brand recognition, generate goodwill and assure customer loyalty. Many companies aligned themselves with well-known public charities, such as the United Way, and created giving programs for employees within their companies.
Strategic philanthropy also took on another meaning with the rise of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Rather than thinking solely of how a corporate giving strategy could benefit the company, corporate boards began thinking strategically about how to tackle big societal problems, like climate change, poverty and social inequalities. While the goals are commendable, the approach had significant shortcomings. As Katherine Fulton notes in an article on the Center for Effective Philanthropy’s website, making strategy is not the same as making change.
One of the major shortcomings of the typical top-down giving program lies in the question: Who decides what we fund and based on what knowledge? Fulton suggests that the people making those decisions are often those furthest removed from the problem, and thus, least aware of what’s actually needed to effect change in a community. It also often means that a company is funding charities that are not aligned with the charities and causes that are important to its employees.
A second shortcoming — often directly related to the first — is friction. While Fulton focuses on the meticulous record-keeping and inflexibility that grantmakers often require, the same need for documentation and paperwork can also hamper much simpler corporate giving programs, such as programs that match employee donations. Not surprisingly, the harder you make it for employees to access a donation matching program, the fewer employees will take advantage of it.
Modernizing Corporate Philanthropy
Technology has brought some significant changes to the workplace, to society and to philanthropy. Social media, for example, makes it much easier to publicize initiatives, crowdsource solutions and connect with consumers and other stakeholders.
On the employee side, modern HR technology takes much of the record-keeping burden off the HR department while providing employees with more transparency in managing their own benefits. This extends to businesses who want a better way to provide an employee corporate giving benefit. A modern workplace giving portal makes it easier for employees to engage in charitable giving by removing friction while providing the company with the ability to track trends in corporate giving and evaluate the effectiveness of their corporate philanthropy. By empowering employees to make donations when they want and to whom they want while providing them with particular tax benefits, a corporation can increase employee engagement and retention, improve company morale and attract top talent.
8 Ways To Take Your Corporate Philanthropy to the Next Level
Deciding to engage in charitable giving as a business is always the right move. Whether you’re trying to upgrade an existing program or start fresh with a new community giving policy, these tips go beyond common “best practices” to help you create an effective, engaging program that’s truly next level.
1. Make It Personal
Include all of your employees in the decision-making process when choosing charities to support. Better yet, let each of them decide which charities and causes are most important to them. Employees will be more engaged in your philanthropic efforts when they’re giving to causes that mean a lot to them personally.
2. Support Volunteerism
Giving money is only one way to give back to the community. Volunteering with community organizations offers far-reaching benefits for your employees and your company. Companies that have volunteer days build deeper connections with the community and foster a team spirit among employees. You can support volunteerism in different ways:
- Give paid time off for volunteering in the community.
- Donate a specific dollar amount to a donation matching fund for each volunteer hour worked.
- Have team-building volunteer opportunities, like building a playground or painting classrooms in a school.
3. Make It Easier for Employees To Give
If you already use a donation matching program, upgrade it to make it easier for your employees to access it. If you don’t, consider starting one. According to Double the Donation, 84% of employees say they’re more likely to give to charity if their company offers a donation matching program.
4. Give Them More Reason To Give
Donor-advised funds (DAFs) offer key tax benefits for donors but have traditionally been reserved for those who have tax accountants. The Groundswell platform allows you to extend those tax benefits to your employees, giving them even more incentive to participate.
5. Shine a Light on Giving
The best programs will fail if no one knows about them. Make updates on corporate giving goals and strategies part of your regular internal communications. Highlight volunteers who give back. Be transparent about corporate giving goals and report back to employees on your progress to them. Create a giving corner in your employee newsletter and highlight all the ways that employees can engage in giving back.
6. Put Your Employees in Charge
In addition to making it easier for your employees to make individual donations to the causes they support, get them on the team for decisions about company-wide efforts. No one knows the community better than they do. Not only will you be giving them a bigger role in your company, you’ll also know that your business is doing work that’s truly needed in the community.
7. Celebrate Your Team Publicly
Use those social media accounts to highlight team members who are giving back to the community. Share photos of volunteer days or host fundraising appeals. The publicity will burnish your business reputation in the community and the public recognition will make your employees feel valued and appreciated.
8. Take Advantage of Analytics
A key benefit of the Groundswell app is the ability to set funding goals and track progress toward them. Track key metrics to analyze and adjust your corporate giving strategy, and communicate your progress to help employees recognize their role in the bigger corporate picture.
Elevate Your Corporate Philanthropy
Corporate philanthropy is an essential part of any business strategy today. By investing in modern technology and innovative giving strategies, you can increase employee engagement, improve community relations and improve your bottom line. For more information on how Groundswell can work with you to create a customized corporate philanthropy program, get in touch with us today.
What Is Corporate Philanthropy and Why Should You Care?
If the words “corporate philanthropy” call up images of pink ribbon campaigns, big donations to very visible causes, and big brands improving their image through charitable donations, hang tight.
There’s a lot more to the picture than big-dollar donations to well-known charities and causes. In today’s business world, businesses of all sizes and in all sectors are committed to giving back to their communities through some form of charitable giving — and “charitable giving” takes on many forms.
In fact, as of 2021, 85% of U.S. companies have a formal corporate giving program in place, and they donated a combined $20.77 billion to charitable causes.
But what is corporate philanthropy, exactly, and what are the best ways for your company to give back to the community? The answers to those questions are evolving as a society — and employees — become more knowledgeable, engaged, and interested in how the companies they deal with affect the world around them.
What Is Corporate Philanthropy?
Corporate philanthropy refers to activities and investments voluntarily made by businesses to make a positive impact on the community around them.
That’s a very broad umbrella. It covers everything from giving money to donating expertise and encouraging employees to volunteer for community organizations. If your company hosts a food drive for Thanksgiving, buys uniforms for a local soccer team, or offers a matching donations program for charitable giving, it is engaging in corporate philanthropy.
Learn more about corporate giving and why it’s important in our resource section.
Who Benefits From Corporate Philanthropy?
The benefits of giving back are many, and not just for the organizations on the receiving end of donations. The business also reaps benefits, as do the employees and the general community.
In a world where consumers increasingly expect companies to be socially responsible partners in our world, having a formal corporate giving program in place is a vital part of doing business. Charitable donations aren’t just a sunk cost of doing business, though. There are clear benefits for the company when they make the choice to give back. Those include:
7 Types of Corporate Philanthropy
The face of corporate philanthropy has been evolving rapidly, especially in light of the last few years of upheaval and technological advances. These are the seven most common forms of corporate giving. Many companies engage in more than one, and many more are rethinking their strategic corporate philanthropy plans as corporate social responsibility takes on more importance to customers and employees. More on that later.
Employee and Board Stipends
Some corporations provide cash stipends to employees or board members, which they can donate to the charities or causes of their choice.
Companies may organize, support or give paid time off to employees who volunteer for organizations in their community. The support may be technical — an accounting firm may provide training and expertise to a startup nonprofit, for example — or more general, such as gathering a team to help paint houses or build playgrounds in the neighborhood.
The Little League team, a fundraising event by the local food bank, a fashion show put on by a local charity — these are all examples of businesses using corporate sponsorships as part of their overall corporate philanthropy strategy. The corporation makes a donation to charity in return for being prominently mentioned during the event.
A company may offer grants to community organizations that apply for them and meet specific criteria to qualify. Walmart, for example, offers grants ranging from $250 to $5,000 to local community organizations. Often, the grants are given through a foundation established by the company for the purpose of making corporate donations.
In-kind donations are donations of goods or services instead of cash. This type of donation is more common among smaller businesses, such as restaurants donating pizza to a local homeless shelter, or providing coffee and donuts free of charge to a weekly parents’ group meeting. Similarly, many companies donate a “portion of x sold” gifts to charity. Stop and Shop, for example, donates a dollar to a local organization for each reusable shopping bag purchased by customers.
Donor-advised funds — DAFs — are a variation on making grants to charities and causes through a foundation. In a nutshell, a DAF is like a personal charitable giving account, similar to a health savings account. The donor can make donations at any time and receive an immediate tax advantage. The funds sit in the DAF until the donor decides to disburse them to the charity or cause of their choice. DAFs offer several benefits that make them the fastest-growing charitable giving vehicle in the U.S.
We saved this one for last because matching donation programs are among the most common corporate giving programs — 9 out of 10 companies have employee matching programs.
Traditionally, an employee makes a donation to a charity or cause, and then either they or the nonprofit submits a form to the company, which then makes a second donation to the charity, effectively doubling — or sometimes tripling — the original amount.
Despite their popularity, matching gift programs account for only about 12% of cash donations received by nonprofits, and an estimated $4 to $7 billion in matching gift money is never distributed. That’s because the entire process can be cumbersome, both for your HR department and for the nonprofit receiving the donation.
A New Kind of Corporate Philanthropy — Philanthropy as a Service
Groundswell believes that it’s time to rethink how matching donations programs work. Groundswell makes it easy for companies to launch a charitable giving program that takes advantage of all the benefits of a DAF for them and their employees. The Groundswell platform unlocks the potential of DAFs reimagining corporate philanthropy using the x-as-a-service model.
Philanthropy as a service — PHaaS — lets you skip the complicated process of setting up a foundation, hiring accountants and handling all the day-to-day nuts and bolts of managing a charity.
Instead, you get a simple, transparent platform that allows your company and your employees to support the causes they believe in without all the friction that accompanies traditional matching donation programs.
Your company reaps the benefits of having a defined charitable giving program. Your employees are more engaged, with their privacy protected and their autonomy honored, and the causes they support get their donations without the hassle of chasing down the matching funds.
It’s a win-win-win solution that empowers everyone in the equation.
Corporate philanthropy has evolved over the years, and it’s evolving faster than ever thanks to technological advances and changing social attitudes. If you’re ready to take the next step in corporate philanthropy, reach out to us to learn more about what PHaaS can bring to your company.
How To Choose a Charity That Aligns With Your Corporate Goals
There’s little question that your company should donate to charity — surveys show that two-thirds to three-quarters of customers and employees prefer to do business with companies that give back to the community. Once you’ve decided to start a corporate giving program and figured out how much your business can afford to give to charity, the biggest remaining question is what charity (or charities) you should donate to.
What Charities Should I Donate to as a Corporation?
While there are many different ways to choose causes your business can support — and you’re welcome to contribute to any that resonate with you — there are some basic guidelines that can help you choose charities that will resonate with your employees and your customers. The tips below can help you find the right causes and charities to associate with your brand and values.
1. Look for charities that align with your company’s values
Choose a charity that aligns with your company’s mission and values. The more closely the charity relates to the work your business does, the more likely the connection is to make an impact on your employees and customers. The connection can be very broad — a restaurant may donate a portion of its profits to a local food bank, for example — or much more specific, as in a seafood restaurant supporting a sustainable fisheries initiative.
2. Choose a charity with a personal connection
Choose a charity that has a personal connection for you and make it part of your story. Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas, for example, was adopted when he was six weeks old. While Wendy’s donates to many charitable causes, their best known is The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, which supports foster care adoption because Thomas believes that “every child deserves a forever home.”
3. Look to your community
Look into charities that are close to home. Donations can be especially impactful to small, local charities that don’t have the same fundraising base as better-known national charities. While national charities can do very big things with the millions of dollars they raise each year, your donation won’t make or break them. It could, however, make a very big difference in the operating budget of a local charity serving a similar purpose in your hometown.
4. Ask your employees
Your employees are experts on their community and its needs. When you give them a voice in choosing the charity or charities your business will support, you are honoring and valuing them as complete, authentic people. By recognizing the causes that are important to them, you are giving them one more reason to love their job.
5. Listen to your customers
You can ask your customers which charities they support directly, either in person or via social media, or you can draw on your knowledge of them to help you choose charities that will resonate with them. REI, the outdoor sports gear brand, for example, focuses on causes that protect and promote access to the outdoors.
6. Let your employees choose their own
Groundswell takes employee choice to the next level. By providing each employee with a personal giving account, you can fully support the causes that are most important to them.
Guidelines for Responsible Corporate Giving
Once you’ve narrowed down a list of charities to consider, you should do some research to ensure that your donations actually go to the cause you want to support. These tips can help you vet charities and organizations before you make a final commitment.
1. Check their website
An organization’s website can tell you a great deal about the organization and its work. Look for clear details about the charity’s programs and how they use their donations. The more transparency they offer, the easier your decision will be. At a minimum, it should include the organization’s address and phone number, as well as stating its nonprofit status.
2. Look the charity up online
There are a number of organizations dedicated to helping people choose charities to support. Their websites will include a rating, as well as specifics such as how much of your donation goes to programming and whether or not they are registered charities. They include:
Some things to look for when checking out a charity checklist include:
- Administrative/overhead costs: As a general guideline, look for charities that spend less than 25% of donations on administrative, marketing and other overhead costs.
- Financials: Check the organization’s form 990 or other financial reporting for information on their financial health.
- Complaints or actions against them: Look for any regulatory irregularities or complaints that have been made against the charity and what actions, if any, they’ve taken to resolve them.
- Impact: Givewell lists far fewer charities than the others, but it focuses on charities that have a high rate of impactful work. You can also check the organization’s own website and annual report to learn more about the results they’ve seen in their work.
3. Make a site visit
If you’re choosing to support a local charity, schedule an in-person visit to evaluate their work. It will give you an opportunity to meet the organization’s leadership team, and see the way it operates on the ground. This can be especially important if you also choose to support the organization with volunteer hours or in-kind donations.
4. Ask around about reputation
In addition to basic research, take some time to ask trusted friends and acquaintances about their experience and opinions of the charities you’re considering. Again, this can be especially helpful if your possibilities include local organizations. Your personal contacts may have information about the charity’s leadership, board of directors or history that you won’t find elsewhere.
The Bottom Line
The charities you support with your business tell your customers and employees a great deal about how well you put your values into practice. If you do your due diligence, follow your instincts and choose carefully, you’ll have the pleasure of knowing that your donations are benefiting your business, empowering your employees and making an impact on the world. How much more can you ask for? Start your corporate giving program with Groundswell.
Taylor Amerman: Empowering Employee Giving
At Groundswell, we are privileged to connect with industry professionals that share our vision of rethinking and reigniting corporate giving. We love to sit down with smart folks, and learn about their perspectives on key CSR topics. Taylor Amerman is the Senior Manager of Corporate Social Responsibility at CDW, a Fortune 200 company that is a leading multi-brand provider of information technology solutions to business, government, education, and healthcare. Taylor believes that empowering employee giving can positively affect CSR practices. She is a proponent for CSR, sustainability, transparency and efficiency.
Hello Taylor, It’s great to have you here. To begin, could you please tell me a little bit about your background and your journey into the world of CSR in general?
My journey with CSR started when I was young.
I was very involved in the community, and had some transformational experiences through volunteerism.
In middle school and high school I had the ability to travel abroad, and that really inspired me for my career. However,I was in undergrad during the financial crisis and really needed a strong degree, so I ended up getting my undergrad and accounting with a minor in Community Leadership and Development. I went through tons of career paths, and during this time I started to learn about a field called CSR or Corporate Social Responsibility.
I studied abroad at Queen’s University in Belfast. During that time, I saw that there were master’s degree programs in CSR. I graduated and went straight into my first master’s at the University of Nottingham in England.After I graduated, I ended up moving back to the US. I had interned twice at Brown-Forman, a spirits and wine company, during undergrad and landed a job in CSR there after graduation. I led Alcohol Responsibility for many years but was ready for something new and went back to school while working. I received my Global Executive MBA from Duke University and graduated in December of 2020. I then took a new role as the Senior Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility for CDWin May of 2021.I lead all of our global social impact work here at CDW.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has compelled everyone to adopt a new way of life. For better or worse, we’ve all changed the way we think about ourselves and our interactions with others. What kinds of things do you see as important for companies to support this new normal?
I think that mental health is at the top of the list. Not seeing people in person provides the opportunity to cover and hide a lot of behaviors that might be more obvious if you’re in an office setting and seeing someone all day. Companies need to truly discuss supporting mental health and put the well being of people first. There’s also a unique position that looks different when you’re a leader or you have a team and leading numerous people.
Each person needs something unique and different. We should really be focused on what’s important and try not to cut any corners.
We need to start investing in our people. There is also the cost of living while working at home. Companies did a pretty good job early by providing Wi-Fi subsidies and office equipment. However, really ensuring that people have all the tech that they need is really important.
Another point to consider is the empowerment of every situation. Trusting your employees to complete their tasks when they are due and focusing on the job’s objectives rather than the hours worked.
Don’t think about the hours. Instead, concentrate on responsibility and accomplishment rather than the amount of time they spend at their desk.
During this time, everyone is struggling with culture and relationships. I believe that simply being proactive about listening to your people and listening to their needs is extremely important.
In reference to what you just discussed, how connected is what you do in your work, and are there specific programs that you have developed to help support employees?
Right now, we’re still building, building, building. I’m all about collective impact. I love hearing things from different departments. This way I can offer insights like, “I heard you’re about to launch this massive sponsorship. That’s great. How have you thought about social impact as part of that sponsorship?”By asking these questions I can potentially provide an add-on to make something bigger.
We are also looking to help individual employees make connections in their local community by engaging in one-on-one dialogues. I usually ask questions like, “What is your community? What are you passionate about? What are you wanting to get out of this? How are you wanting to learn and grow?”Knowing this information, I can work with HR on opportunities for coworkers, whether that’s to volunteer, or access to one of our museum partners, or the zoo. Leveraging our corporate community partnerships, we can provide connections to our employees.
We’ve got a long way to go. Alignment to digital equity is our new focus. We want to know how we can support employees, help them communicate,tell more stories, and be more transparent.
We want our employees to be proud members of our company. And our work with CSR can definitely help make employees feel good about being a part of the organization.
Is there a link between a company’s social impact or CSR strategy and what we’re seeing with The Great Resignation? And, if so, what are some of the broader business implications?
With the great resignation as a whole, I think a huge part of that comes down to management. Leaders and managers should care about the person before the job. I firmly believe that there’s usually a reason if an employee’s performance is poor, and you need to figure out what’s going on. Remember, people bring their whole self to work along with the stress and struggles of life. Simply finding a new job is not always the solution to happiness. Good people management is incredibly important. Managers need to care about their people.
Remember, people usually leave managers and bosses, not jobs.
When it comes to CSR, having 100% authenticity matters. People are tired of hearing one thing and seeing something else. For example if a company claims that they care, but you see contrary behaviors despite what the company says they stand for, it becomes less convincing.
People are done seeing the pretty words, the PDFs, and the presentations, they want to know what is actually happening.
Remember, people are focused on action. They’re over the words, commitment, strategy, and goals. They want to know what is actually happening on a day-to-day basis.
Is there a positive outcome or opportunity to be had from this?
CSR has too many boxes around it. I’m in many peer groups, and I can’t believe how many rules there are about how you can go use your volunteer hours. That’s crazy, because if you care about volunteering, you should be able togo volunteer wherever you want to volunteer. We need to remove those barriers, policies and guidelines and just enable the freedom to do it in order to make a difference in the world. We should go and connect, because the psychology of helping someone else is huge.
As it relates to Groundswell, what I really like is the empowerment around giving. I ask myself, “Are we overly processed in philanthropy and getting the money out?” That’s what we need to think about right now. Let’s just empower everyone to make philanthropy accessible. The process and system should not be complicated. We need to ask ourselves, “How can we simplify things for employees and our community partners?”
Nobody wants the application to take two hours or even 30 minutes. We need to create more equitable access and processes to funding.
How important is it for a company’s CSR strategy, or social impact strategy, for CSR professionals to have that deep knowledge on employee sentiment around social causes? How does the entire process work for you?
There are pros and cons, but I think it’s helpful to have employee input. However there’s also times where CSR and Social Impact professionals are the expert, and that’s okay.
A challenging thing at a company like ours, is that we have a ton of people who care, it is a very caring company. But we also recognize that our employees are individuals with varying desires and sometimes they don’t align with our brand. We need to have a strategy and focus.
This is why I like what Groundswell’s doing – giving employees at companies the opportunity to choose where they want to give. They make the process very easy and give donors empowerment.
Sure, I’m losing control of the company match, and I’m also losing control of what employees give to – but I think that is better. Groundswell opens up more opportunities.
What, in your perspective, are some of the most critical issues that professionals in your industry should be working on in 2022? What are the specific trends, or what should be the primary focus for the coming year?
One thing I’m proud of is not only do we have company values, but we created values for philanthropy, and those have been a game changer. We’ve had to make the judgment call a few times on whether or not a potential nonprofit partner is aligned with our values, and that is okay. The reason I’m saying that is because transparency, internally and externally, is important. I have nonprofit partners thanking me all the time just for being honest if we aren’t aligned.
As Brene Brown says, “Clear is kind”, remember don’t waste anyone’s time, just be clear and direct.
A lot of CSR professionals are incredibly intelligent, talented, well educated people, and yet, we don’t know how to solve all the world’s issues, we just don’t. We tend to push nonprofits to “perform” and align to a brand’s KPI’s, but I don’t agree with that approach. We trust that our nonprofit partners are the experts in solving what they’ve set out to do. So we come up with shared goals and then give them full autonomy in where they spend the dollars we provide and trust that it will go to support impactful work.
Addressing the Great Resignation through Smarter CSR
“I think the idea to simplify corporate giving to put it in employee’s hands – and potentially make it a benefits offering for a company – is extremely compelling.”
– Thomas Gaissmaier, Global Chief Human Resource Officer (Formerly Match Group, 21st Century Fox, Boston Consulting Group)
You’ve seen the news: The so-called Great Resignation is upon us. A whopping 4.3 million U.S. workers quit their jobs in August, with that number rising to 20 million if extended back to April.
Why? The reasons are complex. (It’s been a strange year or two.) But one big reason is that the modern employee will no longer settle for profit without purpose. They want their work life to integrate with their values, and they want their employer to help them express their values.
This is doubly true amongst Gen Z, for whom a professional life imbued with meaning and impact is more important than ever.
Unnerved by this nationwide mass resignation, how should leaders react? By reinventing corporate social responsibility programs to meet this new reality. By decentralizing CSR, and driving it through employees, companies can create a new type of benefit – a benefit with impact.
How Can Companies Adapt to the Great Resignation?
The Great Resignation is sending employers a message: The modern employee isn’t willing to settle. They aren’t willing to clock in and clock out like an automaton. After the pandemic – when all of us were reminded of things in life that really matter – this is truer than ever.
As a BBC report puts it,
“The intensity has increased in terms of expectation; people are expecting more from companies. The early days of the pandemic reminded us that people are not machines. If you’re worried about your kids, about your health, financial insecurity and covering your bills, and all the things that come with being human, you’re less likely to be productive. And we were all worried about those things.”
These worries have morphed into new expectations, and are a big reason why employees leave their jobs in 2021.
And the youngest generations of talent are the most discerning. 63% of millennials – essentially workers under 35 – said the primary purpose of businesses should be “improving society” instead of “generating profit”. This demonstrates that millennials place a higher importance on making a difference in the world than simply earning a wage.
And Gen Z are even more committed to their causes. On social media, they share content related to environmental, human rights, political or social issues even more than Millenials.
Steps to a Smarter Form of CSR
How can leaders adapt to the needs of the modern employee to ride out the Great Resignation? By getting smarter with their CSR.
Historically, philanthropy has been slow to innovate. Many companies, brands, and vendors have popped up with new ideas and tools – but these have often worked within the status quo. They don’t really offer the satisfaction that employees need to consider their workplace a socially responsible company.
Real CSR innovation means decentralizing the program, and empowering employees. Leaders need to recognize that everyone’s circumstances are unique and diverse – as are the challenges they attempt to resolve.
The key here is the individual. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all CSR solution. It’s time for employers to recognize the need to give employees a say in where corporate impact happens.
Here are some ideas on how to bring your talented and passionate employees into the CSR conversation.
Align Your Company Values with Benefits
Brand consistency is important, and it doesn’t need to stop at your employee benefits. Thomas Gaissmaier, former Chief People Officer at Match Group, tells us how to take a human-centric approach that aligns with your brand.
“What I’m passionate about is benefits that really help employees with their life situation. One of the things we did at Match Group was real fertility support. When the company is about dating, the company is about relationships, and ultimately about long-term relationships. From a benefits perspective, thinking through relationships and then family. It was these things where we believed they can have a real impact on life and have brand consistency. If the business is about relationships, we invest in relationships.”
Encourage Employee Volunteerism
One of the reasons we are living through the Great Resignation is because people lack the time to do things that matter. They are quitting their jobs so they can spend their time on activities that have purpose.
Leaders can give employees what they want – but retain talent – by giving them dedicated time off for volunteerism. Volunteering is a great way to take a meaningful break and has proven mental health benefits, including reducing feelings of stress and overwhelm and increasing the sensation of fulfillment.
Giving employees 16 hours of PTO to volunteer where they want, or work on a topic they care about, is generally more effective than trying to get 100 employees to all show up for a one-off event. A group exercise can feel like busy work and may not promote a cause that each individual is personally interested in. But allowing people to select where they want to make a difference, and targeting their efforts there, strengthens diversity.
Show Employees That You Value Things Beyond Profit
Amidst the turbulence of the Great Resignation, companies need to differentiate themselves from apathetic competitors, and signal their values.
Today, people want to work for (and buy from) businesses that have an active involvement in their community and in good causes. To retain talent, leaders should strive to integrate with their local community, and find causes to back.
This could be on social media, it could be through live events or webinars, it could be through partnerships or sponsorships. Whatever you choose, these genuine actions will demonstrate to employees that they are a part of something more than a money-making machine. This type of morale boost will leave employees feeling fulfilled and inspired – and far less likely to quit.
Let Employees Drive Your CSR
Here is the most powerful way to evolve your CSR and maximize your chances of retaining your best talent: Put your employees in the driver’s seat of corporate philanthropy.
Solutions like Groundswell revolutionize how companies approach employee compensation and corporate philanthropy by empowering employees with their own personal donor-advised funds (just like what the 401k did for retirees).
Groundswell’s CSR technology gives employees their own personal foundation, and a payroll integration will let them automatically divert their charitable giving into their account — with the option for the company to match those funds or gift money directly into it, eliminating the antiquated post-donation matching programs that companies operate today.
Fighting the Great Resignation by Making Giving to Charity an Employee Benefit
For leaders, the Great Resignation is an understandable worry. Losing good staff is a bruising experience for any company, and it can be tricky to know how to offset this risk.
What we need to do is work with the reality of why so many people are quitting: because they want more than a paycheque, because they want their workplace to be an empowering place that helps them make a difference.
With Millennials and Gen Z-ers accounting for an ever-larger majority of the workforce, leaders urgently need to innovate on their CSR. As we move into the coming years, providing purpose alongside profit will be crucial to the companies who want to hold on to their best talent. Today, for young employees, social responsibility is more important than a large salary or a corner office.
At Groundswell, we’ve built the tech to help companies unlock a smarter CSR. We help companies support employees in having the social impact they desire – driving satisfaction, retention, and growth.
Contact Groundswell today helps employees give more.