Employee Giving & Volunteering - What Matters Most

Feb 8, 2011 10:07 AM ET

Realizing Your Worth

For me, the question is never, “How much did you do?” 

The question is, “Why does what you do matter?”   This perspective colors every headline I see and article I read, which is why one title particularly piqued my interest. “The Best and Worst of Corporate Giving in 2010” by Caroline Preston. Immediately, I wanted to know the criteria for measuring the “best” and “worst” when it comes to corporate giving - and naturally, I assumed I might have a disagreement or two. (Which is all the more fun for me.)   Admittedly, I clicked on the article and before a minute passed, found myself distracted by one company that seems intent on surprising (and delighting) CSR enthusiasts across the globe: the Microsoft Corporation.   First, a good idea:   As one of the best examples of corporate giving listed in Ms. Preston’s article, she describes “Microsoft’s move to train more out-of-work people in technology skills, in part to compensate for its declining cash contributions amid the recession.” Combining the skills of current employees with the needs of the people is a good idea.
Next, tools to make it work:   I took a second to poke around on Microsoft’s website where I found an impressive array of support tools for nonprofits and individuals. The site “aims to help you get the Microsoft tools you need, whether you're a student, entrepreneur, nonprofit worker, technology professional, parent, or you just want to brush up on your IT skills.” (A lot of the resources here are free - I highly recommend checking them out.)
And finally, belief in your employees:   Microsoft made realistic changes based on the recession by providing cost-effective, hands-on training. At the same time, they empowered their employees to make their own choices and give as much or as little as they wanted. As you may have read in our previous article, Microsoft and their Smooth Kung-Fu Moves, the opportunities for employees to contribute at this company are endless.   Maintaining these opportunities for employees may have been the most genius choice of all. This past year, Microsoft employees gave more of their time and money through the company’s annual employee giving campaign than ever before. Despite concerns around the recession, 2010 turned out to be Microsoft’s most successful year of giving. They raised more than $96 million (that’s a 9.2% increase over 2009) for more than 16,000 community organizations of all sizes.   Impressive. ...And distracting.   Now, don’t get me wrong. There is no doubt that $96 million is a number worth broadcasting. That caliber of giving has the potential to quite literally change the world. But let’s get back to the original issue:   CONTINUE READING HERE: