Empowering Employees To Give Back

Businesses frequently have a set of values that they try to embody in their practices internal and external. Too often, however, they find themselves paying lip service to these values rather than truly seeking to make them a part of their culture. In recent years, the public eye has shifted to corporations that have failed to uphold their social goals, leading to a widespread effort to reevaluate and practice corporate social responsibility.

Part of this cultural shift comes from employees themselves, many of whom are more likely to stay with and support a company whose values align closely with theirs. While donations from corporations are seldom a bad thing, corporate responsibility efforts tend to work better when everyone is involved.

Company leaders should recognize that every employee is going to have different desires and goals for a corporate social responsibility program. Often, the best recourse for this is to get them involved in planning. Here are a few ways to encourage grassroots giving at your company.

Keep giving flexible.

A company may routinely examine its strategy for ways to improve, but what of its values? If the company has an organizational foundation that its employees are ambivalent about, it does not accomplish its mission effectively. Bring people on board with programs such as donation matching, in which employees can choose to donate to an organization of their choice and have the company give the same amount.

Do research.

In the same way that any business strategy requires some level of research and preparation, so too does any corporate giving plan. Get feedback from employees about the causes they’d like to support. Loop them in on any initiatives you might be starting; getting opinions from the bottom up often goes further than just including leadership.

Make it easy to participate.

Employees are less likely to become engaged in a giving project if they have to go out of their way to participate. Whether it’s donations or volunteering, laying the groundwork for success can make others more enthusiastic and willing to give back. For instance, a company may be flexible about times in which employees can volunteer, even giving them the chance to do so during work hours.

Work with the community.

Many modern companies have approached philanthropy as a way to reach out to the community. Partnering with local charities is a great way to both make a business active locally and diversify the ways in which employees can give back. Whether it’s tutoring students, cleaning up garbage, or organizing a shelter, these outreach efforts can make an immediate and tangible difference.

Ross Sanner

Ross Sanner is the Founder and CEO of Think Growth Consulting LLC, a leading company that guides both nonprofit and for-profit businesses through smart, expansive investment and growth opportunities.

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