International Giving and Volunteering, and Their Impact on Employee Engagement

It’s time to look beyond your borders and internationalize your Goodness Program
Apr 5, 2016 8:25 PM ET

International Giving and Volunteering, and Their Impact on Employee Engagement

International giving and volunteering are on the rise, a phenomenon that translates to opportunities beyond simply making a charitable impact on a worldwide scale. In a study recently published by the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship (2015 Community Involvement Study), companies are expecting a significant increase in international giving over the next two fiscal years (rising by 25%), with the goal of improving their operations in global markets, strengthening community ties internationally and building their reputation with employees and customers outside their headquarter countries. So, could 2016 be the year your company dives deeper into international waters? 

Not just for global companies
When looking only at companies with an international footprint, a full 67% make contributions to charities and nonprofits outside their headquarter countries. No real surprises there. But even when strictly domestic companies are included in the mix, an impressive 42% of all companies surveyed give to causes based abroad, with 13% of companies who currently only give domestically reporting that they plan to open up international giving within the next two years. That suggests there is still much to be gained for companies who might not have any foreign presence. 

Why go global?
The most obvious upside is employee engagement, which many companies drive with giving and volunteering programs. In the same BCCCC study, the number of companies offering workplace giving programs has climbed to 84%, with 80% of those companies offering matching incentives. Today’s internationally conscious workforce is more likely than ever to mobilize around disaster relief campaigns (which often have a global focus) and the corporate world is taking notice with everything from pro bono volunteering to dedicated giving campaigns they can spin up in a hurry as part of a rapid response engagement strategy. A perfect example is the Syrian refugee crisis, which captured worldwide attention, and translated to workers across the U.S. prompting their companies to assist with the coordinated response.

Read more about going global on the Benevity blog