Corporate giving is a key element in building connection within an organization. When people come together for a greater purpose they build a natural connection that is strong and enduring and they are united in a special way. When their organization supports and encourages them to give back, the feel-good energy is palpable and it crosses over into all aspects of corporate life. This is particularly important during times of uncertainty and change, and as we get used to the new world of work, feeling connected through corporate giving is even more important Plus, giving back is just good business because helping the community where you work and operate lifts up everyone.
In our work with Volunteer Canada and the Corporate Council on Volunteering in 2019 we learned that employees not only want their workplace to be committed to the community, they also want the opportunity to participate directly and be supported in giving-back as part of that commitment.
- 68% of Canadians, given a choice between two jobs, would choose the one at the employer with the stronger volunteering culture.
- 70% of employees would be more loyal to a company that helps them contribute to social and environmental issues.
- 78% of millennials only wanted to work for an organization with purpose and 69% would leave their company for a similar one that was more purpose driven.
Post pandemic these findings are even more relevant as companies focus on attracting and retaining top talent. We know people want to get involved in causes, and with organizations, that make their community and the world better for everyone. It’s this sense of community connection that resonates with people, particularly as people heal from the hardships of the pandemic. As an organization, creating connections through corporate giving also creates pride; and pride and connection are two key elements of work culture that drive employee success and satisfaction. The Best Workplaces for Giving Back™ understand this relationship and they take time to understand what resonates with their people to build a strong foundation for their corporate giving.
Giving Back Creates Pride
At the Best Workplaces for Giving Back™ employees’ responses to survey questions related to pride enjoyed an average of 89% support. Statements included:
- 93% of employees are proud to tell others where they work
- 93% of employees feel good about the ways their company contributes to the community
- 88% of employees say people at their company look forward to coming to work
This sense of deep-rooted pride is something all organizations can work toward and corporate giving is one key means of doing so. Giving back to the community sends a strong and clear message that your organization cares about more than just profit and is willing to invest in people and causes that make the world a better place.
Pride is also closely related to engagement, and organizations that give back also enjoy high rates of employee engagement. Employees at the Best Workplaces for Giving Back™ feel they make a difference (90%), are willing to give extra to get the job done (89%) and believe their work has special meaning beyond “just a job” (85%). This level of connection with a deeper meaning and purpose only serves to enhance employee experience and create a strong bond that is able to withstand unexpected pressures and disruption in the workplace.
Giving Back Creates Connection
Beyond connection to a deeper purpose, corporate giving creates deep connections between people. When people come together for a greater purpose they build bonds and friendships that are uniquely beneficial to a robust and healthy work culture. These bonds can be relied upon to mitigate the stresses of work as well as the stress, and perhaps even despair, people feel as they manage their way through a world where turmoil and divisiveness is seemingly streamed or broadcast 24/7. Having people around that you can trust and count in is the best remedy and at the Best Workplaces for Giving Back™ employees enjoy an average 91% agreement rate on statements related to camaraderie including:
- People care about each other here. (92% agreement)
- You can count on people to cooperate (89% agreement)
- This is a fun place to work. (88% agreement)
Bringing people together to participate in a common cause not only strengthens bonds between them; it allows employees to see each other from a non-work perspective and may showcase skills that aren’t readily apparent in their work-related tasks.
Giving Back – Start Now
There are so many opportunities to give back and no matter what you do, it will make a difference. To maximize your impact with employees and create long-lasting culture benefits, the key is getting your people involved. Find out what they are passionate about, support their individual community based projects, and start small and build on what works. Not all organizations will be able to develop a charitable foundation or sponsor a large-scale community event however most are able to adopt environmental good practices, match employee donations, or get involved in a local charity.
The Best Workplaces for Giving Back™ come from a variety of industries, some are small and some are large, and they have all committed to corporate giving in meaningful ways. Here are some ideas to inspire your giving back initiatives:
- Position volunteering as a corporate value and make giving back a core part of the culture and something that employees consider integral to the way they operate and the decisions they make.
- Use internal messaging and dashboards to keep employees informed and up-to-date with the impact their actions are making.
- Encourage broad participation in volunteer events and include children and other family members, retirees, customers and suppliers. The more engagement with the community, the deeper the connection with giving back.
- Beyond using corporate skills and assets to help non-profit partners, leverage specific employee skills to provide services needed in the community. Employees who sew can help tailor dresses and suits for underprivileged grads or those with first aid certification can lend official help at events.
- Encourage ERGs to include community investment as part of their mission and support them to plan activities and partnerships that are meaningful to their members.
- Provide a variety of ways for people to get involved so employees can choose what fits best for them. This can include an annual giving program to support one or a few charities that resonate with your people, employee donation matching, and paid time off to volunteer at an organization of their choosing.
- Build camaraderie by establishing a ‘Volunteer Day’ where the whole organization volunteers together, sponsoring corporate teams, and hosting fun events to raise money for the team.
- Sponsor community-based drives for specific populations (books for schools, shoes for developing countries, diapers for young moms and blankets for shelters).
- Think global with a local connection, as more and more people want to be part of large-scale change initiatives.
Volunteering and giving back creates a substantial, lasting impact on your people and your culture. Corporate giving brings people together and creates a robust sense of pride. By developing deep roots and connections with your people you can withstand a variety of pressures and maintain a strong and healthy culture while at the same time enjoying all the satisfaction and pride that comes from serving others and contributing to a great community.