How workplace giving can boost employee engagement

When it comes to employee engagement, a company’s employees tend to be happier working for companies that support generous giving initiatives.
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There are no shortage of local nonprofits and most of us probably have our favorites.

One thing workers have demanded more of in recent years are workplaces that care just as much about supporting the local nonprofit organizations that their employees support.

Employees today are more likely to seek employment in socially responsible organizations, and one way that employers can commit to helping those in need is by offering a charitable giving program at work, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

A survey of approximately 1,200 workers across the U.S. by Fidelity Investments, a provider of employee savings plans, found that:

  • 66% of respondents said they feel it’s important for companies to be philanthropic and to support different causes. Among millennials, it was 75%.
  • 42% of respondents said it was important for employers to match employees’ charitable contributions through a workplace giving program. Among millennials, it was 75%.
  • While 66% of respondents said they’d be more likely to donate through their employers if offered a matching contribution, 24% percent didn’t know if their employers offered matches.

The research showed employees already donate to charitable causes on their own, outside the workplace, according to Shannon Bullock, marketing director for Fidelity Workplace Giving. “Any employer that offers a benefit that helps support [an employee’s charitable contributions] wins favor in the eye of the employee.”

If you need more convincing, there is ample evidence why workplace giving and employee engagement programs are good for business. According to America’s Charities:

  • 86% of corporate leaders believe that employees expect them to provide opportunities to engage in the community; 87% of corporate leaders believe their employees expect them to support causes and issues that matter to those employees.
  • However, 30% of employee donors say the reason why they do not give through the workplace is that the causes they care about are not available as choices through their employer’s giving program.
  • 88% of company leaders believe effective employee engagement programs help attract and retain employees.
  • Employees most committed to their organizations put in 57% more effort on the job — and are 87% less likely to resign — than employees who consider themselves disengaged.
  • 84% of donors say they’re more likely to give if a match is offered, and one in three say they would give a larger gift if matching were applied to their donation.
  • However, average employee participation in employer matching gift programs is 10%, demonstrating a marked opportunity for growth.
  • Nearly 60% of companies offer paid time off (PTO) for employees to volunteer, and an additional 21% plan to offer release time in the next two years.
  • 75% of U.S. adults feel physically healthier by volunteering. The mental and emotional benefits of volunteering are even greater, with 93% reporting an improved mood, 79% reporting lower stress levels, and 88% reporting increased self-esteem by giving back.

A 2020 Fidelity study, Doing Well by Doing Good, drew on a 2019 survey of 138 U.S. companies of various sizes and industries by Fidelity and the Association of Corporate Citizenship Professionals. The study reported that:

  • While many companies (60%) self-administer their workplace giving programs, fewer than half use a workplace giving platform. Bigger companies were almost twice as likely than smaller companies to use online tools to manage the program.
  • Companies that robustly promoted their programs were more effective in getting strong participation among a wide range of employees.
  • Incentives — such as paid time off for volunteer work or matching employee donations — also help promote employee participation in workplace giving programs.

Among best practices around charitable giving programs, the study advised that employers:

  • Set goals for your workplace giving program. Whether you establish a goal for number of employees who participate, number of volunteer hours served, amount of match funds given, or amount of in-kind goods donated, ensure you can track and report on your company’s progress toward those goals.
  • Use tools that measure program impact. These tools allow companies to track all aspects of their workplace giving programs, from employee donations to volunteer hours, match dollars, and company contributions.
  • Promote your program often and via many channels. Email, intranet, on-site signage, and social media are all ways to tell employees about your workplace giving program.

Need help finding local nonprofits to work with?

A comprehensive list of local nonprofits is available just a click away from the Madison Community Foundation. The Greater Madison Nonprofit Directory lists 6,245 local 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organizations located in Dane, Columbia, Green, Iowa, and Sauk counties, and allows users to:

  • Explore nonprofits in your community ;
  • Understand an organization’s financial health over time;
  • Find organizations by cause area;
  • Assess the leadership composition and compensation; and
  • Analyze an organization’s programs, operations, and impact.

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