Posted on January 13, 2016

Trends in Corporate and Employee Giving

The holiday season is full of good feelings, cheers, and generosity. There’s no reason that warmth can’t carry over to the corporate world and, in recent years, smart companies have made community outreach a big part of their wintertime (and all-the-time) traditions.

A business that gives back to its community doesn’t just help its reputation, it gives its employees more reasons to feel good about the work they do and whom they work for.

More and more companies are getting on board with charity drives, volunteering, and other philanthropic efforts. There are plenty of different ways for businesses to give back that go beyond just gathering cash donations. Many workplaces are getting more creative and involved than ever while finding new benefits.

Volunteerism makes employees happier

Good corporate outreach both improves the community around you and the people in your company. Service and nonprofit organizations appreciate cash donations certainly, but giving time can be more helpful and more fulfilling (while also serving as some great PR for your business).

It’s easy to give money without understanding what the donation is actually going to be used for. Organizing gift drives, serving meals to the needy during holidays, decorating and visiting health care facilities—these are all great holiday efforts to help the less fortunate, build camaraderie among your employees, and make everyone involved feel better about themselves and the community.

Seeing the good that a little work can do is inspiring and motivating! Such good feelings are wonderfully contagious in a workplace.

Authentic outreach is also an investment

Doing volunteer work for the community is a chance to develop meaningful partnerships with charitable organizations. It goes a long way for your company’s image—having recurring volunteer or fundraising events shows how much your neighborhood, town, or city (and the people in it) means to your business.

In another way, building a network of partners can help with future growth. Many service organizations have wide reach that can stretch regionally or globally. Starting meaningful relationships with them by giving back can provide new opportunities in the future when you’re looking to expand.

Younger employees have ideas about doing more

Being an active part of the community is a big principle among millennials especially. They’re more aware of the world around them and society’s issues. Thus, being a part of a company that shares that principle is very important to them.
Not only is active giving and charity work a selling point to younger potential hires, it also serves to give younger employees a greater sense of belonging in your company. Organizing volunteer efforts gives them a chance to show their leadership and creativity while your business develops them into future leaders.

On top of that, your younger workers are sure to have some new ideas for community engagement. Their passion and awareness can end up providing interesting and valuable new opportunities for giving.

Size doesn’t matter—effort does

Service organizations need help of all sorts and aren’t just looking for it from large corporations. All they want is the help of a business who cares about helping.
Whether you’re a large or small company, the little things are important in community outreach. Having employees of all status levels involved—from entry-level all the way up to management—makes your charitable efforts more genuine. It also builds a more tight-knit corporate culture when everyone pitches in.

This time of year is about spreading joy. We do what we can to bring cheer to our friends and family on our own—now, business owners know they have an ability to give holiday spirit through their resources and time.

There are many little benefits that help a company’s stability and growth, but above all else is the incomparably good feeling of giving back. That is, after all, what this season is all about.

Get more tips on creating an organization that thrives and gives back by watching our 30-minute on-demand webinar, "Pursuit of a Healthy Workplace."


Sources: Forbes, CECP (Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy), Akron Community Foundation, Harvard Business Review