Nurturing philanthropy grows employee morale

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Friday, September 01, 2006

An important component of business giving is providing avenues for employees to be personally involved in a company’s commitment to corporate citizenship. It is widely understood that supporting local causes is a good way for a business to develop a positive image and reinforce its relationships with customers. In the process, it can also build morale and cohesiveness among employees.

Indeed, employees who have a high Corporate Philanthropy Index (CPI) — an index developed by Walker Information and the Council on Foundations — are much more likely to be engaged with and support their company.

According to the Walker Information 2002 National Benchmark Study Measuring the Business Value of Corporate Philanthropy:

  • Seven in 10 employees with a high CPI will recommend their organization as a good place to work compared to fewer than four in 10 (37%) with a low CPI.

  • Employees working for organizations engaged in corporate philanthropy are much more likely to be truly loyal (engaged at work and planning on staying) and far less likely to be classified as high risk (neither engaged at work nor planning on staying long).

The report notes that this latter finding isn’t to suggest business giving is the primary reason employees remain loyal, but it concludes that giving is definitely a factor in how employees evaluate their employers. In all, employees whose companies participate in good corporate citizenship and business giving reported feelings of pride in their workplace, a sense of belonging as part of a family and admiration for the good deeds their company accomplished.

Beyond those positive feelings that emerge among employees, many companies find one of the greatest benefits of their business-giving program can be seen on a daily basis in job satisfaction and enthusiasm generated among employees. The more employees perceive as positive the good things the company is doing, the more likely are they to act in ways that positively benefit the company’s bottom line. Business giving programs have also shown that they:

  • strengthen employees’ organizational, leadership, communications, financial management and decision-making skills.
  • reduce employee stress and increase morale, loyalty and productivity.
  • encourage teamwork.
  • enhance/increase employee recruitment and retention.
  • create a better quality of life where employees live and work.
  • positively impact profitability.
  • improve communications and relations between management and workforce.
  • increase employee awareness and interest in community issues.

As companies seek to build employee support for their philanthropic efforts — and ultimately realize the positive benefit — the following are some ways businesses can encourage employee participation in giving strategies:

  • Involve employees in community involvement/outreach decisions. Many companies create committees to make decisions about contributions or company volunteer activities, which include line employees.

  • Give priority to employee requests. In determining giving criteria, it is common for a company to direct contributions to organizations employees recommend or that employees are affiliated with.

  • Offer matching contributions. Some businesses match employee contributions (financial or volunteer) to specific organizations. Matching contribution programs generally designate a ceiling amount for the aggregate match for each employee.

  • Implement a workplace giving campaign. Typically an annual event, a workplace giving campaign can allow employees to recommend and direct contributions to a range of recipients, engage in friendly interdepartmental competition through a week of activities focused on fundraising and can include an option of giving through a payroll deduction, making it easy for employees to participate.

  • Encourage volunteerism. When employees volunteer, companies reap the benefits: Employees gain a sense of satisfaction from making a difference in their community — and the community benefits as dedicated workers help meet critical needs. Some businesses encourage employees to pursue volunteerism by providing paid time off for them to devote time to a nonprofit of their choice. Others structure an annual company-sponsored employee volunteer day or series of ongoing events.

Now, more than ever, businesses are realizing the value of a commitment to responsible, community-centered business practices. In addition to improving the quality of life in the local community, having a business-giving program offers a tangible way for companies to strengthen employee skills and morale, and ultimately develop a more positive and productive workplace.

— Greg Chaillé, president,
Oregon Community Foundation
www.ocfl.org

 

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