“We’re All in this Together” – Wait, are We? Lack of Alignment between Corporate Giving and Employee Giving & How to Fix It

Aligning Corporate Giving and Workplace Giving Helps Companies Realize Greater Social and Business Impacts
Aug 17, 2011 12:30 PM ET

Just BeCause Blog

From the Benevity Just BeCause Blog

Let’s start with the goal of workplace giving programs (from a corporate perspective). The fact is, it’s not purely altruistic. It’s also about employee engagement, extending your brand, and resonating positively with employees and the community at large. However, companies are struggling to bring their increased investments in corporate philanthropy and community investment closer to their target audiences/behaviors - both on the consumer and employee fronts - and correspondingly, struggling to realize the social and business impacts that they want to achieve.

A growing number of companies, aware of the link between workplace giving and employee engagement, have a heightened interest in employee giving and volunteering programs. Mounting research shows that employees want to work for companies that care, that social responsibility is a consideration in employees’ decisions to join, stay with or leave companies, and that there is a link between social responsibility and engaged, productive employees. This is especially important for certain segments –like Millennials and Moms. Nearly 70% of Americans say causes factor into where to work; for Moms that increases to 79% and for Millennials to 87% (2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study). So if part of your people strategy is geared toward any of these segments, this is pretty important stuff! Despite this increased demand, the employee element of corporate giving often lags in attention and innovation behind the focus given to the community and consumer-facing aspects of corporate philanthropy.

The Challenge: A Lack of Alignment Between Workplace Giving and Corporate Giving

Here’s a common scenario: one the one hand, the company has a corporate philanthropy or community investment strategy that clearly outlines its goals and the focus areas or pillars of causes that are important as a company (e.g.: Health, Environment, Kids, etc.); on the other hand, the workplace giving program for employees is a distinct program that doesn’t include the focus areas or pillars (i.e.: the workplace giving program doesn’t communicate what the corporate focus areas/CI pillars are, nor does it provide ways and reasons for employees to easily support the corporate focus areas/CI pillars). In some cases, the workplace giving program is a third-party campaign, so workplace giving is not delivered under the company’s brand. A lack of alignment between corporate giving and employee giving means companies are missing an opportunity to connect with their employees and build giving and strategic CSR into their corporate culture. Not to mention bringing corporate giving into the community through your employees – because your employees are your brand!

The Solution: Better Align Workplace Giving with Your Corporate Giving Strategy & Goals

How can this challenge be addressed? Let’s come back to the corporate goals of workplace giving programs: employee engagement, extending the brand and resonating positively with employees and the community at large. These objectives make it important to design your workplace giving program to tightly align with your corporate goals. You don’t need to select the “killer cause” to achieve this: your organization can create portfolios of causes that align with your philanthropic or community investment pillars, regional strategies and goals. Promote them to employees with featured campaigns, blog posts and real-time matching offers.

Another key aspect of alignment is to roll out workplace giving under your company’s brand. Create branded portfolios that address your corporate CSR/CI pillars and goals and roll them out for both employee facing and consumer facing community investment and philanthropic programs. When giving occurs in a branded environment it helps build direct, strong connections with your employees.