I want to work for a company that contributes to and is part of the community. I want something not just to invest in. I want something to believe in.”
– Anita Roddick
You may not even be aware of it, but many companies not only encourage their employees to give to and volunteer time to nonprofit organizations in their communities, but will also match those efforts with dollars or other means of support. Corporate giving is no longer just about giving; it’s aboutcreating unified opportunities to engage employees.
Workplace giving programs can operate in a variety of ways. They may offer donations through things such as – payroll deductions, volunteer support programs, employee matching gifts, and annual giving campaigns.
- Donations Through Payroll Deductions – Set up for employees who desire to easily donate to a worthy cause. Companies usually limit the type of nonprofit to which their employees can contribute.
- Volunteer Support Programs – These programs basically reward employees who donate their time to a nonprofit organization. For instance, a company might offer a mone tary stipend to an organization for a specified amount of time that an employee volunteers there. Some companies will also help groups of employees organize for various nonprofit projects and make a corporate donation on top of these team efforts.
- Employee Matching Gifts – Donations an employer makes to match its employees’ charitable contributions. They are often dollar-for-dollar, but some companies will give double or even triple the original donation! And when employees participate in fundraising events, their employer may match the money they raise through sponsorships or other donations.
- Annual Giving Campaigns – These use payroll deduction to channel donations to charities, but these take place during certain times of the year. One of the leading fundraising drives in the United States is the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), sponsored by the U.S. government. (A number of states have workplace giving campaigns of their own.)
Another popular giving practice is when businesses take up collections to donate to a local cause. They may also choose to sponsor a family in need or give to a local shelter. This seems to be as effective and morale-boosting as volunteering. If you don’t have one already, you may want to help set up a canned food drive in your office. Employees can bring in canned goods and drop them in a box, which can then be taken to a local food bank.
If your workplace is short on options, consider doing some online research to find a respected charity that matches your desire to give. Charity Navigator, the nation’s most-utilized assessor of charities, rates them on one to four stars, and gives a top-ten list. Those that make the cut have all received Charity Navigator’s highest rating in financial indicators as well as integrity and transparency.
It is easy to find your perfect match, as you can browse by categories in alphabetical order, which include: Animals, Arts, Culture, Humanities, Community Development, Education, Environment, Health, Human Services, International, Human and Civil Rights, Religion, and Research & Public Policy. This is also a good way to get children and family involved, inspiring long-term awareness of the issues in the world both near and far.
Whatever you decide to give and however you decide to do it – you will have a sense of belonging to a greater cause and knowing you have made a difference in someone’s life.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
– Margaret Mead