Everything You Need to Know About Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace

Having a workplace that promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion is essential for creating a work environment that is respectful, supportive, and equitable for all employees.

Diversity in the workplace can bring about a variety of viewpoints, experiences, and skills that can help an organization become more productive and successful.

Equity in the workplace means ensuring that everyone has the same access to resources and opportunities regardless of their background or identity.

Inclusion in the workplace means valuing each person’s unique perspectives and creating an environment where everyone feels welcome and respected.

By creating such an environment, organizations can attract and retain top talent, increase employee engagement, create a positive working environment, and drive innovation and growth.

Moreover, promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion is important for creating a workplace free of discrimination and bias and fostering a sense of belonging and acceptance for all employees. Ultimately, a diverse and inclusive workplace can help organizations achieve their goals and objectives in an ethical and successful manner.

What is DEI?

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are three interconnected concepts that are important for creating and maintaining a fair and just society. This idea is also important for business.

Diversity refers to the range of differences among people, including but not limited to: race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, ability, and socioeconomic status. It is important to recognize and value these differences, as they bring a variety of perspectives, experiences, and ideas to the table.

Equity refers to the fair and just treatment of all individuals, regardless of their differences. This means providing the necessary resources and opportunities for everyone to succeed and thrive. This can involve things like addressing structural inequalities, such as systemic racism and discrimination and implementing policies and practices that promote fairness and equal access.

Inclusion refers to the active involvement and engagement of all individuals in a given community or organization. This involves creating a welcoming and inclusive culture where everyone feels valued, respected, and heard.

Why DEI is good for business?

DEI is important for business for a number of reasons. First and foremost, a diverse and inclusive workplace can lead to improved decision-making, creativity, and innovation. When there is a range of perspectives and experiences represented in the workplace, it can lead to a broader range of ideas and solutions to problems. In addition, a diverse and inclusive workplace can also improve the company’s reputation and attract top talent.

DEI is also important for business because it is the right thing to do. Discrimination and inequality are wrong and have negative impacts on individuals and society as a whole. By promoting DEI, businesses can play a role in creating a fair and just society.

Finally, DEI is important for business because it can improve the bottom line. Studies have shown that diverse and inclusive organizations tend to have better financial performance and higher levels of customer satisfaction. Customers are increasingly seeking out companies that reflect their values and prioritize DEI.

Overall, DEI is important for business because it leads to a more positive and productive work environment, helps to attract top talent, is the right thing to do, and can improve financial performance.

DEI for Small Businesses

Businesses of all sizes benefit from DEI. 

In the case of small businesses, DEI is crucial to the success and growth of the company. That’s because the focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion has a greater impact on the company’s employees. Because each employee has a greater influence on the company’s outcome, it’s even more important that each individual feel they’re being properly represented in the company.

Though the size of the company is much smaller than mid-market and enterprise-sized businesses, the magnitude of its impact can be felt to a much higher degree. 

This opportunity gives company leaders of small businesses the opportunity to start building the company culture that supports DEI in the workplace.

Challenges with DEI

DEI can be a challenging and ongoing process, as it requires acknowledging and addressing issues of power, privilege, and bias. It also involves ongoing education, self-reflection, and communication. It is important for individuals and organizations to be open to learning and growth in order to create and maintain a truly diverse, equitable, and inclusive society.

A major hurdle for companies who want to align themselves with DEI best practices is building a program that lends itself to fostering inclusion without making others feel left out. 

How to practice diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace.

Organizational leaders want to build a company culture that reflects the principles of its workforce and the society it operates in. Practicing DEI ensures companies stay aligned with their workforce, their customers, and all stakeholders involved.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Offer a diverse range of job opportunities
  • Create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all employees
  • Have a diverse representation in management and leadership roles
  • Listen to and address employee feedback
  • Educate staff members on bias and inclusion
  • Promote an equitable work environment
  • Implement policies that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are essential to a successful workplace. Companies need to ensure that they are actively supporting these values by taking steps such as: providing equal access to resources, ensuring fair treatment of all employees regardless of background, and recognizing and valuing different perspectives. 

By doing this, they can foster a culture of acceptance, respect, and belonging that will ensure everyone in the workplace feels included and appreciated.

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.

7 Trending Corporate Social Responsibility Programs People Leaders Should Know in 2023

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a business framework that promises a sustainable outcome for the society it operates in. Businesses that align with CSR best practices operate in an economically, socially, and environmentally conscious way.

Generally, those practices can include reducing carbon emissions, supporting diversity and inclusion, and engaging in fair labor practices, as well as contributing to local communities and charitable organizations who are making a difference in the world.

The goal of any business that aligns with CSR best practices is to balance the interests of the company with those of the society and environment as a whole.

In recent years, there has been a large growth in the popularity of the number of companies that operate in a socially responsible manner. From this growing trend emerged a handful of programs that resonated especially well with both leaders and employees.

Here are 7 trending corporate social responsibility programs for 2023 that modern companies should consider:

1. Workplace giving and corporate matching programs

Enabling a workplace giving program is the easiest, most time-effective way to launch a campaign that aligns with corporate social responsibility best practices.

A good workplace giving program decentralizes corporate philanthropy and empowers employees to support the causes that mean the most to them, leading to a much more diverse and equitable workplace.

Building a workplace culture around giving often starts with a workplace giving program, making this a popular option for corporations who want to inject strong values into their company workforce.

Learn more about a workplace giving program

2. Support Causes through Local Partnership

Companies can partner with a nonprofit aligned with broader CSR goals as a way of making a social impact in their local community. As companies grow, their impact on local nonprofits gets larger.

Some companies, like Patagonia, start their own nonprofit to tackle the issues that directly affect their business.

Partnering with local causes is a great way to outsource the duties that come with social responsibility. One downside with partnering with local organizations is the limitations on the causes it supports and the diversity that comes with not only acknowledging but also supporting employee interests.

3. Food Drives and Donation Campaigns

Clothing drives, food drives, and other donation campaigns are amazing opportunities for employees to make an impact in someone’s life directly by giving those less fortunate the things they need to survive.

Food drives are perfect campaigns during the seasons people are in most need of aid, such as during winter.

While the popularity of these campaigns often goes up during holiday seasons, food drives and donation campaigns can be held at any time throughout the year.

4. Recycling

Just like with Apple Inc.’s recycling campaign that we mentioned earlier, companies that find a way to recycle and repurpose used materials often serve the secondary purpose of aligning themselves with a great corporate social responsibility program.

Recycling campaigns and programs not only help the environment, it can help a business’s bottom line, too.

5. Environmental

Programs that focus on preserving earth’s natural resources are excellent options for building a CSR campaign around. That’s because environmental issues affect everyone.

Companies making an effort to defend nature are making earth a better place for future generations to do business.

6. Social Impact

Causes that include fighting homelessness, offering aid to the less fortunate, or making an impact in the local community all fall under “social impact.”

These initiatives focus on helping people in one way or another, whether that’s by providing support through longer-term programs around education, job readiness, mentorship, etc, for people in need of immediate aid or assistance, through food banks, shelteres, and medical clinics.

7. Volunteer Programs

Volunteer programs are a great way to improve employee morale while providing a public service. 

Volunteer programs have historically seen much more participation rates when compared to other CSR programs.

The WSJ reports “targeted do-good efforts such as volunteering attracts nearly triple the participation rate compared to activities without such incentives.”

Read why corporate donating is often the better choice instead of volunteering.


If you’re looking for a way to become more socially responsible as a company, consider one of these seven trending corporate social responsibility programs options.

Groundswell is an affordable workplace giving program built for the modern business. We give organizations the infrastructure and tools to make it easy to empower employees to support the causes they care about during moments that matter most.

Subscribe to our newsletter and reach out to our team to learn more about Groundswell.io.

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.  

Volunteer Support

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. 

Corporate Sponsorships

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. 

Community Grants

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

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

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.

Matching Donations

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

The Problems With Corporate Volunteer Programs and How To Avoid Them

Why Corporate Volunteering Programs Are Often Ineffective

The concept of corporate volunteering is one of the fair-haired darlings of the corporate social responsibility conversation. Corporations who are looking to give back to the community in a meaningful way often turn to corporate volunteer programs as an easy win-win that provides benefits for everyone involved. 

The proponents of corporate volunteerism tout it as an effective way to communicate company values, cement teams and boost employee engagement and loyalty, while improving relations with local organizations and community, all wrapped up in a neat “socially responsible” bow. While those benefits are real, companies that set out to build corporate volunteer programs often overlook the other side of these widely used programs. 

If you’re seriously considering a volunteer program for your business, it’s important to weigh the benefits against the work you need to do to create and manage an effective, engaging program that works for your company, your employees and the causes you support.

What Goes Into a Successful Corporate Volunteer Program?

Running a successful, effective volunteer program within your company is a lot of work, and the work starts well in advance of the launch. 

Volunteer Hub, which provides software for managing an employee volunteer program (EVP), lists eight steps to launching a successful EVP, each of them time consuming but essential to success. 

A couple of key steps highlight some of the most common pitfalls these companies encounter.

Assess Community Needs and Employee Interest

Far too often, companies start an EVP because someone in the company leadership saw a cool idea and thought it would be a good fit for their company. They launch into it without taking the time to research the community needs or consulting employees for ideas and interest. The end result can be a program with low employee engagement that is a headache for the causes they hope to promote and support. 

Partner with the Right Organizations

If part of your incentive in creating an EVP is to raise your profile in the community, it’s important to choose organizations that align with your business’s objectives and values. Ideally, those will be causes or charities that resonate with your employees, but that might not be the case for all of them. Programs that focus narrowly on one or two organizations risk shutting out some employees who may have other priorities for their volunteer time.

Assess and Quantify Impact

Record-keeping and assessment are an essential part of managing a successful, ongoing EVP. Collecting and managing the info — especially if your EVP includes paid time off or volunteer stipends — is an additional, time-consuming burden on your HR department. 

Publicize Your Program

Marketing your EVP has two main targets: your employees and the community. In both cases, it requires time, effort and expense on the part of your company and those who are managing it. 

The Pitfalls of Corporate Volunteer Programs

While the benefits of employee volunteer programs are widely known, there’s not as much conversation about the problems that often arise in running and managing them. Beyond the time and expense involved in managing an EVP, companies may run into one or more of these issues that diminish the impact it might have.

What Employees Say

Recent research into employee motivations and lived experience of employee volunteer programs highlighted some of the challenges and negative outcomes they experienced. Some of the issues included:

  • The pressure to volunteer makes some employees feel that they are being judged or evaluated for their commitment to the company, especially if they aren’t connected to the volunteer work.
  • Many employees felt that they didn’t have enough time to do volunteer work and still keep up with the demands of their job. 
  • Volunteer programs may inadvertently shut some employees out of participation. For example, volunteer activities that involve physical activity, such as building houses or fundraising walks, may be difficult for employees with mobility problems. A single parent may find it difficult to participate in activities that happen outside working hours because they don’t have child care.
  • When volunteer programs limit opportunities to one or two events, some employees may find nothing that interests them.
  • Many employees want more control over their volunteer opportunities, from choosing causes to support to planning activities for the team. 

What Nonprofits Say

Volunteer management is a specialized skill in the nonprofit world, and many larger organizations that depend on volunteers for their operations have staff dedicated specifically to that task. That’s not always the case. 

In fact, some corporate volunteer programs can make extra work for a nonprofit without a tangible gain. These are some of the issues highlighted by nonprofits who accept corporate volunteers.

In short, an EVP that isn’t planned and coordinated with a nonprofit partner, and focused on filling their needs rather than those of the corporation, can be a drain on the nonprofit’s resources.

Practical Alternatives to Corporate Volunteer Programs

The challenges described in the previous section often result when programs are conceived, planned and executed from the top down, without considering the other stakeholders — the employees and the nonprofits — they’re intended to benefit. Many of these can be alleviated by following specific best practices, including:

  • Involve employees in the planning from the start.
  • Engage in meaningful assessment with potential nonprofit partners to assess their needs and capacity.
  • Tailor volunteer activities to the needs of the nonprofit and your employees.
  • Provide wider choices in corporate volunteer program activities.
  • Measure the impact of your program periodically and make adjustments where needed.

What if, after doing the research and evaluating your capacity, you realize that typical corporate volunteer programs aren’t the best fit for your company and your employees? There are some practical alternatives to consider, alternatives that give your employees more choice and autonomy while still allowing your company to support them and the causes most important to them.

Give Them More Money To Donate

The one thing that every nonprofit always needs is more money. While volunteering feels good, nonprofits can often make better use of cash donations that they can apply to their own needs. 

Expand Your Definition of Volunteering

If you offer paid time off for volunteering, expand your definition to include the informal volunteering that many people do as a matter of course. Paying employees for the time they spend supporting the causes most important to them sends a powerful message that your company values them. 

Empower Employees To Donate in the Ways That Are Most Meaningful to Them

Employee giving programs — including employee volunteer programs — are most effective when they empower employees to support the causes and charities that are most important to them. By removing barriers to giving and volunteering, your company can provide the opportunity and means for your employees — and your business —  to make a difference in the world.

The Groundswell Difference

Groundswell makes it easy to get an employee giving program up and running with a minimum of effort on your part. It’s designed to empower employees to support the causes and charities that are most important to them, while respecting and supporting each of their diverse perspectives. You choose how and when your company disburses funds into your employee giving accounts — such as paid time for volunteering — and they choose when and how they donate those funds.

To learn more about how Groundswell can help power your corporate giving strategy and empower your employees to make an impact, contact us and ask about the benefits of an equitable, inclusive employee giving program.

Giving Tuesday Donations: Best Practices and Ideas for Businesses

Giving Tuesday is fast approaching, so we wanted to give you great Giving Tuesday ideas. Now’s the time when nonprofits ask their patrons and donors to dig a little deeper to finish off the annual donations drive with a strong push.

Normally December is the month when donations peak. Giving Tuesday donations serve as a kickoff, establishing the momentum for this important month of generosity. 

Although the proceeds from Giving Tuesday benefit nonprofits, businesses play an important role. It’s a great opportunity to help the community and invest in causes that support the company’s values. Employees, too, will appreciate the chance to participate in meaningful ways.

What Is Giving Tuesday?

Giving Tuesday rolls around every year on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, or perhaps, more appropriately, after Black Friday. But it’s not nearly as old. It was started in 2012 at the 92nd Street Y in New York City by soon-to-be-CEO Henry Timms and co-founded by the United Nations Foundation. 

Timms’s idea was to reverse the trend of heavy consumerism surrounding Black Friday and encourage everyone to give back. 

Sure, people like Bill Gates tweeted about it and helped to spread the word. But the idea was supercharged by families and small communities that embraced the idea and ran with it, asking themselves and their children what they stood for, and then donating and pitching in to help the causes they really cared about.

According to Timms’ interview with PBS, “We need to stop seeing people as donors and start seeing them as owners.” 

In the new paradigm that Timms envisioned, the role of the donor extends far beyond money. It also includes giving time, a voice and ideas to confront the problems in an increasingly interconnected world. 

What surprised and delighted Timms most was that, from the very beginning, the idea captured the hearts of people around the world who wanted to make the idea even better. Today, Giving Tuesday has become part of their traditions. 

Why Is It Important?

Giving Tuesday provides a boost to donations for the year, encouraging businesses and individuals to give in whatever ways suit them best. It’s a chance to raise more money than on an average day and serve to kick-start the year-end giving campaign. Those who want to take advantage of tax-deductible donations will be looking for opportunities to contribute. Further, Giving Tuesday donations leverage the generosity that has long been a tradition of the holiday season. 

Giving Tuesday can provide a boost to your brand. You can leverage the opportunity to let customers know about the good things your company does year-round. It’s well established that customers care about purchasing from companies that are charitable. 

And it’s not just about feeling good either. Recent research has discovered that people purchase from companies that demonstrate corporate social responsibility (CSR) because they believe that the company’s products and services are safer and of higher quality.

Giving Tuesday is also an opportunity to remind employees that they are part of a company that cares. Employees who work for companies with generous giving initiatives are likely to be happier and more engaged than employees who work for other companies.

How Companies Can Make a Difference When It Comes to Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday is more than a once-a-year symbolic movement of generosity. It’s about individuals who ask what they can do and then act in powerful ways to help others. It’s about mobilizing communities so that they are empowered and self-advocating. But it’s also about companies, both large and small, doing what they can to support the communities they serve. Everybody and every organization can make a difference.

Companies with CSR initiatives are uniquely positioned to do more than individuals. CSR is all about companies taking a positive role in the community. In addition to considering the ethical and environmental impact of their operation and making sound fiduciary decisions, the most progressive companies are proactive in their philanthropic pursuits. That means making the world a better place. There are many ways to do this including donating to worthy causes and creating their own trusts.

Giving Tuesday is a great opportunity to highlight your company’s ongoing activities such as volunteering, matching donations and other activities. Treat it as part of your overall corporate philanthropy strategy

Giving Tuesday Best Practices

Here are some best practices that companies have used to ensure that their Giving Tuesday event is successful. 

Set Your Values 

It’s important to have alignment between the company’s values and its decisions and actions. This is equally important with your philanthropic efforts. Revisit why charitable giving matters so that as you develop your strategies you develop a long-term plan.

Define Targets

Before you establish goals, you’ll need to think about the targets. Your Giving Tuesday initiative should have something in it for the community as well as for your customers and employees. For example, giving a portion of sales is a good way to include customers.

Inventory Your Resources 

There are always more needs than there are resources available to help. But just remember, Giving Tuesday goes beyond dollar donations. There is also employee time, goods and services, managerial talent, facilities and social media reach. 

Establish Goals 

Take stock of your resources and commit to specific and measurable goals. Edit and prioritize so that you can devote sufficient time to achieving the goals you set.  

Make a Plan 

Choose some ideas and decide how to implement them. Start planning early so that you have time to fine-tune the details. To support your efforts, ensure that your communication strategy is buttoned up. Include, for example, an email campaign, social media outreach and a robust webpage.

Establish Metrics 

Measure so that you will have benchmarks for your future efforts. In addition to the ROI, you will also want to know who benefited from your efforts and what to repeat or improve next year. Did you actually increase your overall giving?

Giving Tuesday Ideas

There are hundreds of Giving Tuesday ideas that your company can implement. Following are just a few suggestions on what you could include in your initiative.

  • Ask employees to nominate and select a long-term charity partner.
  • Create a Giving Tuesday hashtag and donate each time the hashtag is shared.
  • Match the proceeds of a fundraising event planned by employees.
  • Coordinate with other local businesses to host a charity auction.
  • Host a meet-and-greet for nonprofits with local businesses to extend their network.
  • Donate a portion of sales to a nonprofit group.
  • Give employees a charitable stipend to give to a nonprofit of their choice

Make It Easy

The best way to manage Giving Tuesday ideas and all your philanthropic initiatives is with a corporate giving platform. Groundswell can help with its frictionless setup and administration. We can have your program up and running in no time with minimal investment of your staff and resources. Contact us today.

68% of Nonprofits Say This About Donations vs Volunteers – “Show us the money!”

Recently, leaders have stopped organizing employee volunteer events and shifted towards gifting and matching programs for good reasons.

That’s because company leaders have discovered that they’re not the only ones that think volunteering isn’t the best place for highly-skilled employees to spend their limited time. In fact, two-thirds of nonprofit leaders agree that donations are often better than organizing and overseeing volunteer events.

A recent poll conducted by Groundswell of 500 nonprofit leaders indicated 68% preferred receiving monetary contributions over facilitating a corporate volunteer event.

If you’ve considered putting together a volunteer event for your employees or setting up a corporate gifting and matching program, you’re in the right place.

This article helps you decide what programs are best for you and your organization, what benefits and drawbacks come with organizing volunteer events, and why companies are moving away from sending their employees out and moving towards offering employees a gifting and donation match program that sends money directly to nonprofits.

Volunteers or Donations?

Volunteering is at the heart of many charity and nonprofit organizations. Without people willing to volunteer their time to support the causes they care about, some nonprofits would fall short of their goals.

However, while the act of volunteering is noble and well intentioned, not all volunteers and volunteering activities are created equal. Most organizations that rely on volunteers to deliver services strive for volunteers who are willing to show up consistently, complete training, and execute tasks according to standards.

For example, the Boys and Girls Club’s lifeblood is community members who sign up to mentor at-risk youth. Mentors who consistently meet with, coach, and encourage their mentees can have a profound impact on that child’s life. Conversely, a volunteer that quits after two meetings can devastate a child’s self-esteem.

Similarly, Feeding America – the largest network of foodbanks in the U.S. – relies substantially on volunteers to help operate its food warehouses. But, just like any Amazon fulfillment center, maintaining an efficient operation requires effective human capital management, including volunteer scheduling and training on tasks like storing, packing and shipping different types of food items. Having dedicated volunteers that commit to consistent work shifts allows FA operations leaders to plan effectively.

There are countless examples of how committed volunteers can make a difference, but anyone considering a day of volunteering should ask themselves important questions about what the nonprofit they’re aiming to support needs most: time or money?

The Truth About Why Companies Love Corporate Philanthropy

Corporations love sending employees to help nonprofits because they see it as a win-win-win:  nonprofits get support, employees get engaged, and the company burnishes its reputation.. 

It’s clear that an army of employees adorned in color-coordinated shirts emblazoned with the company’s logo, deployed out into the community with rakes or paintbrushes, makes for a great photo op. The activity sends a message to the community that the company cares, and that’s a good thing as corporate stakeholders increasingly demand that company’s focus on social impact.

There’s also no doubt that the activity engages employees. It often gets them out of the office and mingling with one another in a low-stress, lighthearted way. Many will return to the office grateful that their employer prioritized making a difference. 

But what about the nonprofit? Have they received the resources they need most to execute their mission best?

The Pros and Cons of Hosting Volunteer Events

Corporate volunteer events are events organized by nonprofit organizations at the request of a company, often through a corporate social responsibility (CSR) team.

These events generally last a few hours, typically around the same time as an employee all-hands conference or retreat. They can be hosted at the company’s headquarters or at the nonprofit’s location. Often, employee volunteers are untrained, and despite wanting to make a difference, likely have no direct tie to or passion for the nonprofit’s mission; meaning most will conclude the event with no intention of volunteering with the organization again.

If coordinated with the nonprofit effectively and resourced appropriately, corporate volunteer events can create value.

Here are the pros and cons of corporate volunteers.

Benefits of volunteering:

  • Positive employee experience – employees that volunteer often walk away with a good experience and positive outlook on aiding others.
  • More hands on the project – some projects benefit from more people on a project, like with community clean-ups.
  • Positive company image – Employees that volunteer contribute to the philanthropic values of a company and improve its public image.

Drawbacks of volunteering:

  • Additional work for the nonprofits – Organizing an event, training new volunteers, and managing an unfamiliar person can take a lot of effort and resources away that could have otherwise been used on supporting the organization’s cause.
  • Reduced efficiency – The best nonprofits build efficient systems to do their work. Oftentimes, corporate volunteer events operate outside these systems. This can happen geographically, by dictating the location be at the corporate office, or otherwise by having to accommodate volunteers unfamiliar with the established system or process.
  • Volunteering isn’t always equitable and inclusive – Not every employee can participate in a volunteer activity. For example, if you’re cleaning up a beach employees with mobility issues could be left out.
  • Smaller return on investment – Volunteer events take a lot of work to plan, coordinate and execute, and sometimes – especially absent an additional monetary contribution from the company – the effort doesn’t yield sufficient impact.
  • Unpredictable effort and labor – The skills of volunteers can range from amateur to expert, which can make it tough for organization leaders to get high-level contributions.
  • No time — Businesses are busy. Not all employees, executives, investors, and board members have the time to commit to volunteering, making it easier to donate money instead of time.

While volunteering can have a handful of benefits, it can sometimes come with a great deal of unnecessary administrative duties that take valuable resources away from an organization’s limited resources.

Four Valuable Insights From Nonprofit Employees

Along with uncovering the reality about corporate volunteer programs, our poll revealed important insights into the truth about how nonprofits leaders felt about shifting trends in corporate philanthropy.

According to our research, 79.4% agreed that corporate volunteer events are often more focused on employee experience than generating desirable outcomes for the organization’s causes.

Notably, 56.2% experienced a corporate volunteer event that didn’t lead to efficient outcomes for the organization’s cause.

Perhaps in light of that, 72.2% believe corporations should make monetary contributions to offset the effort required to facilitate corporate volunteer events.

Finally, a remarkable 42.2% believe planning volunteer opportunities for companies is actually a distraction to their core mission.

Here’s Why Donating Is Better Than Volunteers.

Just like any business, having working capital is crucial for charities to deliver consistent outcomes.

For nonprofit organizations, donations help fuel campaign initiatives, purchase supplies, pay for employee salaries, cover the cost of insurance and support efforts made by the entity. Even volunteer events cost money! Who do you think covers the cost of those bottles of water, ham sandwiches, and cans of paint?

In other words, donations support nearly every facet of an organization, from supporting their infrastructure to facilitating initiatives and backing campaigns.

In nearly all cases, donations are much more flexible than volunteering. Donations can be used for anything related to the organization’s operation while volunteering is limited to labor-specific tasks. Volunteering is also limited by the volunteer’s level of expertise, whereas donations can be used to hire experts to accomplish the same task using less effort and resources.

Have You Launched Your Company Gifting and Matching Program?

Since donations generally contribute directly to the organization’s central mission while providing them with ultimate discretion in how to deliver impact, corporate leaders and their employees are realizing their contributions can go a lot further when donating money instead of time.

If you’re curious to learn more about how corporate gifting and matching programs work, you’ll find more resources on our blog.

What Is “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion”?

Diversity. Equity. Inclusion. The concepts aren’t new but they’re more important than ever. Most companies have some sort of DEI initiative. But diversity, equity and inclusion in today’s workplace go beyond the concept of equality. Whether you’re looking to optimize the framework you already have or are starting from the beginning, it’s good to understand DEI in greater detail. As the world becomes increasingly diverse, DEI is a business imperative. 

The Components of DEI

So, if DEI is not equality, what is it? It’s perhaps best to address that question by first understanding each of the components of DEI and how they look in action.

What Is Diversity?

Workplace diversity starts with hiring people from different backgrounds and life experiences. Although early definitions centered around race and gender, diversity also applies to ethnicity, age, sexuality, language, background, education, personality traits and more. And it’s not just about bringing in diverse people, it’s also about ensuring that these valuable employees can participate and contribute in ways that benefit the individual, the company and society at large. 

What Is Equity?

Equity is a term frequently conflated with equality. The terms are similar but when companies pursue equality over equity the outcomes will be strikingly different. Equality is about treating everyone the same regardless of what they need to succeed and despite the systemic inequities that have existed for generations. Equity, on the other hand, recognizes that historically unequal access is inherent in economic, educational and social structures. So what’s required is the application of different methods so that everyone has an opportunity to succeed. That’s how equity differs.

What Is Inclusion?

When the workplace is inclusive, employees feel valued and accepted as part of the larger organization. It happens without them having to become something they are not. Inclusive companies celebrate and encourage diverse ideas and approaches, giving everyone the same opportunities for advancement.

What Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Looks Like

As useful as it is to understand what DEI is, it’s equally important to understand what DEI is not. Superficial treatments of DEI initiatives predictably lead to less-than-stellar outcomes. Here are a few examples.

This is DEI:

  • A visually impaired worker is given a large, high-quality monitor and other low-vision accommodations.

This is not:

  • The weekly staff meeting is always held in the late afternoon even though the single parent who must attend has a childcare issue. 

This is DEI:

  • Resume screening during the hiring process is blind, eliminating names and addresses.

This is not:

  • Job candidate information on the resume helps decision makers identify candidates by gender, race, ethnicity or neighborhood. 

This is DEI:

  • The company conducts a regular pay gap analysis to ensure gender pay e quality.

This is not: 

  • Salaries are never included in job postings despite suspected discrepancies between men and women. 

This is DEI:

  • Religious and cultural holidays are acknowledged and employees are automatically given the time off to observe these occasions.

This is not:

  • The company holds a yearly Christmas party and other holidays, like Rosh Hashana, pass by without mention.

It’s not unusual for management to feel overwhelmed by the number of small details that impact their DEI efforts. It can seem impossible to do everything. It’s important to remember, however, that small gestures go a long way toward ensuring that DEI is ingrained in the culture and is a responsibility assumed by all, not just a yearly check-box initiative. Once DEI becomes business as usual, it will be as natural as taking a breath. When that happens, you’ll reap the benefits that accrue to a truly diverse organization.

How To Set Up DEI Strategy That Actually Works

Diversity, equity and inclusion isn’t new, but it’s more important now than ever before. That’s because the world is changing and so is the marketplace. Companies need diversity to innovate and grow to meet evolving needs. Diversity is important in the upper ranks, as well. In fact, when it comes to gender, companies in the top quartile of diversity are 25% more likely to experience above-average profitability than those in the bottom quartile. 

Companies that currently have a DEI initiative can optimize it to ensure that it accomplishes their objectives. Those with no DEI framework can ensure that they build in certain components from the beginning. 

Here’s how to set up a strategy that works:

Start From the Top

A committed DEI program must have committed leaders. You don’t just need a sponsor; you need a top-down commitment to make change a priority. Your DEI effort goes beyond lip service. It changes the way employees work together. Tie DEI goals into your company objectives and values. That means that in addition to organizational data and metrics that really matter, you’ll need someone to hold managers accountable for meeting the objectives of the program.

Hire Good Resources 

Ensure that you put the right people in place. You may have the people internally to lead the effort but it never hurts to bring in outside consultants to facilitate the setup. DEI conversations can be tricky and the last thing you want is a ham-fisted approach that puts the people you need most on the defensive. DEI is going to be everyone’s job. 

Find Mechanisms to Expand the Dialogue 

Every good DEI initiative begins with a conversation. You’ll need to keep the conversation uplifting and productive. Affinity groups can help. They can give a voice to those who are underrepresented, provide input into critical decision-making processes, and help companies decide how and when to weigh in on important social issues. 

Recognize the Culture Change

DEI is a cultural change in most companies. You’ll need to examine your systems and policies, your language and even your values. Diversity doesn’t just happen. Companies that are diverse and inclusive get there through a series of deliberate and proactive decisions. There are reasons why there may not be qualified people from every community and identity in your workplace and why, when they do come, the outcomes may not be as expected. Culture change will require aligned systems to support the beliefs and behaviors you want to instill.

Find a Common Cause

Companies that truly believe in diversity reflect those values by showing up in the communities they serve. One of the best ways to participate in the many underserved world communities is through philanthropic activities. Such efforts are good for humanity, good for the planet and a great way to engage employees. It can be a challenge to find something the company can do together to embrace diversity, equity and inclusion values. Groundswell is one way to make giving an employee benefit as well as to embrace diversity as a corporate value.

Groundswell can get your corporate giving program up and running effortlessly. No more tracking of donation receipts or vetting nonprofits. Each employee is set up with a personal giving account established just for them. It works just similar to a 401(k), only it’s for charitable giving. Now your company can easily support diverse perspectives with a giving program that is equitable and inclusive.

Diversity Is Increasing. Are You Ready?

In the years to come, the people you hire will be increasingly diverse, coming from different backgrounds and life experiences. This diverse perspective will help shape both your culture and your destiny. Your company will need to invest time and energy to yield the benefits promised. 

In the ever-changing business landscape, companies must be able to adapt and evolve. The concepts of diversity and inclusion are not new, but are becoming more important than ever before. With a diverse group of employees, companies can gain new perspectives, learn from one another and become stronger as a result. Start today with Groundswell.

Why You Should Consider Providing a DAF in Your Financial Wellness Benefits

With 42% of employees in full-time work struggling to make ends meet, financial wellness benefits are no longer a bonus perk that Human Resources can offer. They are a business priority. Uncertain economic conditions, from the aftershocks of the pandemic to rising inflation, compel employees to make their money go further. Financial wellness benefits offer a framework for investing in the future, and no more so than with donor-advised funds (DAFs). Employees don’t have to compromise on their charitable giving because of financial health challenges. In fact, DAFs can unlock some attractive tax advantages

What Are Financial Wellness Benefits?

Employees are increasingly looking at the financial wellness benefits a company offers with the same interest they pay to the starting salary, health and well-being perks, and flexible working options. That’s because financial stress is on the rise. When workers are preoccupied with their personal finances, they’re not only less productive. They’re also likely to seek a more attractive offer from an alternative employer. Workers want the most sought-after financial wellness benefits:

  • Retirement planning ranks as the #1 priority. Employees want to feel secure about their future after work.  
  • Insurance is another must-have. Health, life and disability coverage provides a safety net should circumstances change.  
  • Financial education can help employees save, limit their tax liability, and build a budget that supports personal growth. 
  • Investing opportunities allow employees to put their money to work so that they’re earning even when they’re away from the office. 

Why It’s Important

Personal and professional lives are never completely separate and that’s why employee benefits are so important. Bearing in mind that one in four employees claim that financial worries negatively impact their professional performance, companies who take the initiative with financial wellness packages should look forward to:

Salary isn’t everything, particularly to Gen Z. One of the issues that the Great Resignation highlighted is that workers are fleeing roles that don’t align with their personal goals, but they will invest their skills in a company culture built around strong values.

Corporate giving is one of those values that still register high on the wishlist. There’s a sense that a company’s obligations don’t stop at its internal gender equality, diversity and inclusion goals. The impact a business makes on the local and wider community is just as important, and philanthropy is a key measure for supporting that vision. 

Why You Should Include Donor-Advised Funds

The benefit that a DAF brings to corporate giving is that it balances philanthropy with financial benefits for the employee. By donating through a DAF to a public nonprofit sponsor organization, employees can gift cash, stock, real estate or other assets. Donations of the latter (real estate and assets) tend to happen at the corporate level, but individual employees can unlock immediate tax advantages by gifting cash or stock through a DAF. The advantages of giving through a DAF include: 

Reduce Tax Liability

Individuals can claim a tax deduction of up to 60% of their adjusted gross income if they give through donor-advised funds — and there’s no need to submit piles of extra paperwork to the IRS. 

Avoid Capital Gains on Stocks and Securities

That’s particularly attractive for workers at tech firms or startups, where stock options and signing bonuses are a key employee retention strategy. Employees at Amazon, for example, receive restricted stock units (RSUs) that yield big dividends in years three and four. 

The only restriction on giving through DAFs is that the threshold is usually high. Although the minimum donation with some brokerages is as little as $5,000, these are the exceptions. Morgan Stanley and Vanguard, for example, start at $25,000, making them more suitable for giving at a corporate rather than individual employee level. 

That’s why Groundswell is so innovative within the corporate giving space. Employees can have their own DAF and get started with as little as $1, meaning that any employee can access a personal giving account and enjoy the tax benefits immediately. Find out more about corporate giving as an employee benefit by contacting us today.

How To Become a Philanthropist: 7 Steps To Change the World

If you’re wondering how to become a philanthropist, it’s easier than you think. Anyone can do it and, contrary to popular belief, it’s not just for the wealthy. Make no mistake about it: Humans are social creatures. We love to help one another. That’s why philanthropy is so popular. It’s a feel-good activity that improves our world. And the benefits far outweigh the costs. 

Before you start contributing to worthy causes, however, it helps to understand the options available to you. You’ll want to make good decisions so that you maximize the impact you want to make in the world. No worries, either, about how much — or how little — money you have. All you need is a vision and a plan.

What Is Philanthropy?

A philanthropist is an entity, either a person or a corporation, that provides time, money, or resources — and perhaps all three — to people or nonprofits in need of assistance. The overarching goal is to make lives better for others (or the world we inhabit). Philanthropy is often associated with large sums of money and wealthy people. But, as mentioned, philanthropists can be any person or entity. Even a tiny business can be philanthropic.

Some philanthropists rise to rockstar status and are known for their generosity. For example, Warren Buffett, Melinda Gates and Oprah Winfrey are just a few among the mega-rich who have given large sums and had an impact on important social and environmental issues. But you don’t have to be a millionaire, and indeed – many nonprofits are supported by hundreds of thousands of people who give modestly. Even a relatively small donation – alongside hundreds of others who also are giving a small amount – can add up to hugely impactful levels of support for nonprofits working to support communities in need.

What Philanthropy Looks Like

Philanthropy can take a number of forms. These include, for example:

Money: Donations may be one time only or on a regular basis. Philanthropists may also bequest money after death or establish a trust.

Time: Those who don’t have money to donate or prefer to contribute in other ways can donate time and labor. Examples include volunteering at a homeless shelter or tutoring students after school. As with monetary donations, these can be one-time, yearly or more frequent contributions. Many small, community-based nonprofits are dependent upon the generosity of their volunteers’ time to extend the impact of their mission.

Resources: These donations, known often as “in-kind,” include furniture, vehicles, food, clothing, toys, computers, etc. 

Benefits of Changing the World With Philanthropy

It may seem to be a cliche, but the benefits of philanthropy are immeasurable for those donating time, money or other resources:

  • Lends perspective: Philanthropy heightens your sense of connectivity to the world and the things that really matter.
  • Better health: Your mental health and physical wellbeing both improve when you give back.
  • Lower stress levels: Volunteering has been proven to lower stress and enhance feelings of well-being by releasing dopamine.
  • Tax reductions: Donations may be written off on personal taxes.
  • Social interaction: Volunteering can offer opportunities to network and meet others who are committed to similar causes, and connections can be formed among a group of donors providing financial support.
  • Improved skill set: As a volunteer or a donor who has researched the causes that nonprofits are working on, you will learn new skills, both hard and soft, and improve your leadership acumen.

How To Become a Philanthropist

As with any good strategy, you’ll need a road map to get to your final destination. Follow these seven steps to become a philanthropist:

1. Clarify Your Goals

Before you decide where to put your time and effort, you’ll need to understand what’s most important to you. What do you value? Where can you make a difference? What would feel good to do? Include your personal or professional goals such as expanding your network. Whether it’s working for climate change or helping your community’s underserved population get the resources they lack, make sure that you feel passionate about the issue.

2. Determine Your Commitment

Before you decide what to do, you need to determine how to do it. Do you want to give money or time? If it’s money, what can you afford? If you plan to volunteer, how much time do you have? When can you volunteer? 

3. Choose Your Organization

Once you know the type of commitment you can make, research and vet organizations. Do they align with your mission and values? Where do they work? If you know you want to focus on homelessness in your community, determine if the organization is serving the homeless population in your city. Most organizations share information about their programs, their leadership and how they use their charitable donations. If you have questions, ask. The organization should be transparent and credible. 

4. Check With Your Company 

Before you completely nail down a target nonprofit, check out the support your company may offer – whether that be a match or volunteer opportunities. 

5. Establish a Plan

Based on the causes you care about, the resources you want to commit to and the organizations you want to support, determine your giving cadence. For many, setting up recurring, monthly donations means you can ‘set it and forget it.’ But you might also want to consider setting aside some funds for donating during an emergency – whether it’s a hurricane on the Gulf Coast, the war in Ukraine, or a social justice issue. 

6. Stay Engaged and Curious

Find your community, and learn about other organizations that are doing important work in support of the causes you care about. You might find that in order to tackle an issue that you’re passionate about, multiple organizations are needed to make change. You can create social connections in-person or online to discover more organizations. 

7. Trumpet the Cause

Now that you’re a practicing philanthropist, tell others about the organizations you support and why. They may be inspired to help or to find a cause of their own.

Have Fun With It!

Philanthropy is something anyone can do. Whether you donate time or money, it offers great benefits and improves the lives of others. Find the organization or cause you want to support and go for it. It’s a fun and easy way to give back to the community and expand your horizons.

If you would like to know more about a corporate giving program, contact Groundswell. We can help turn philanthropic giving into an essential employee benefit.