Watch Your Employee Participation Skyrocket With These 5 Giving Trends

Aug 5, 2022 11:30 AM ET

Over the past decade, volunteer events and matching programs have become the gold standard for launching and expanding a successful corporate social responsibility (CSR) program, engaging employees, building brand awareness, and driving investment. However, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we witnessed a momentous shift away from traditional corporate philanthropy programming. With a dispersed workforce and an onslaught of unengaged employees, companies were forced to push the envelope. They enabled flexibility, prioritized equity, and aligned programs with current events and employee-led causes to create new forms of giving that drive greater engagement, more participation, and in turn, maximum social impact.

The results are a new wave of social impact and CSR programs that make it easier for employees to participate any time and anywhere. Check out the latest trends in corporate giving below!

Emerging Trend #1: Action-Based Initiatives

In recent years, the definition of volunteerism has shifted drastically to encompass a broader spectrum of behavioral habits, acts of kindness, and green acts. Think giving blood, donating goods, or getting a booster shot—these are all ways to give. So why not incorporate them into your company’s volunteer activities to inspire greater engagement?

By broadening the scope, you can make volunteerism more flexible and accessible than ever before, which allows employees who can’t give back through monetary donations or don’t have time for traditional volunteerism to participate in your company’s corporate philanthropy programs. As an added bonus, even more causes reap the benefits—it's a win-win!

Here are a few actions to consider incorporating into your CSR programming:

  • Pick up litter around your neighborhood
  • Deliver groceries to an elderly neighbor
  • Participate in a blood drive
  • Get a COVID-19 vaccine or booster shot
  • Clean out your closet and donate unwanted clothing to a local charity
  • Donate non-perishable goods to a local homeless shelter
  • Use energy-efficient lightbulbs around your home

Emerging Trend #2: Dollars 4 Doers (D4D)

A great way to incentivize participation in your expanded volunteerism programming is through a Dollars 4 Doers (D4D) initiative.

When your employee completes an act, whether it's delivering groceries, donating blood, or picking up litter (the list goes on!), match their efforts with a monetary donation to a local nonprofit or charity of their choice. In doing so, you’ll demonstrate that you recognize and appreciate their work to give back and you’ll double their impact.

Want to learn more? Download our latest eBook to see how Impact Makers like you have already begun to harness the power of D4D programs.

Emerging Trend #3: Charitable Spending Accounts

Consider transferring the budget from a matching gift program to a charitable spending account for employees to support a nonprofit of their choosing. You can select the budget ($25, $50, $100, etc.) and the time frame (monthly or annually), but the rest is up to your employees! They can make a donation where and when they want, creating a sense of immediacy that matching gift programs don’t always offer. It also removes the need to request a match and donations are recorded immediately, making it easy to give. The efficiency and simplicity of these programs can help to build a more confident, robust, and recurring donor base.

Emerging Trend #4: Paid Volunteer Time Off

When it comes to charitable spending accounts, don’t limit yourself! This model can also be applied to volunteerism. Consider offering your employees an allotted amount of paid volunteer hours (VTO) to spend working with organizations they care about.

Many volunteerism activities take place during the workday, making it difficult to balance both giving back and collecting a paycheck. Volunteer time-off is a form of PTO that allows employees the flexibility of volunteering during the workday while still getting paid. At first glance, it may seem like employee volunteer time off is just another benefit to manage. However, VTO can be easily built into your paid time off plan so it's just as easy to manage and track as vacation and sick days.

But you have to see it to believe it! Download our guide, The Emerging Participation Paradigm, to witness the magic of charitable spending accounts through real-life examples.

Emerging Trend #5: Employee-led CSR

Employee resource groups (ERGs) weren’t born because of COVID-19. However, they’ve increased substantially at organizations throughout the pandemic. In 2021, 40% of companies had ERGs, a 9% increase from the previous year. ERGs play an important role in CSR and wield the power to boost employee engagement when paired with workplace giving and volunteering. As ERGs become more prominent within the workplace, employees have a greater say in how or where they can give. And your employees want the opportunity to give to causes that matter to them! As a result, more and more companies have aligned their CSR programming with causes their employees want to support. The outcomes are obvious—higher engagement and participation rates!

Stay On-Trend With The Right Giving Platform

It’s no secret that the realm of CSR is constantly evolving. The way your employees want to give is ever-changing and your organization must be prepared to meet them where they are. For more on emerging trends in employee participation, tips for maximizing your CSR budget, and real-life examples from Impact Makers like you, download our latest eBook—The Emerging Participation Paradigm.

If you’re ready to learn more about how the right giving platform can bring all your workers together—from wherever they are—for more engagement, more connection, and more impact, contact us today

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