I remember working at MTV early in my career and doing community service on ViaCommunity Day. While I don’t remember exactly which project I served on, I distinctly remember the staff being enthusiastic about getting out of the office to give back. It didn’t make sense then but as time would tell, corporate philanthropy was at the heart of the Viacom business. The idea of an organization being committed to its surrounding community and activating it through employee volunteerism instilled in me the value of corporate citizenship. It was simply: the right thing to do.
HuffPost Impact featured an article last week on corporate giving and how simple monetary gifts aren’t cutting it anymore. Sure most major companies have employee donor matching programs but how much of an impact can that really have after a while? Patricia Devereux, group head of Corporate Philanthropy & Citizenship at MasterCard worldwide, stated in the article, “Corporate social responsibility isn’t just about writing checks anymore, it’s making important ties with what is going on in your community.” In other words, included with a financial contribution, corporations also receive slots for their employees to volunteer with the non-profit organization. This is a testament to the volunteer work of many corporations I have come to admire for their CSR initiatives, including American Express, SAP, and JP Morgan Chase. Companies with employee volunteer programs support the volunteer-led efforts of non-profits such as KaBOOM! and New York Cares; getting their employees to help build local playgrounds and participate in city-wide community spruce days, respectively. Sometimes, non-profits even use their volunteer opportunities as leverage for financial sponsorship for fundraisers. For example, New York Cares is offering fall and spring service day registration fee waivers to top level corporate sponsors for their upcoming spring Soiree.
The fact of the matter is most employees actually enjoy being engaged outside of the work place. Over the holiday season and into the New Year, I’ve had a number of companies contact me at KaBOOM! to learn how their employees can volunteer. According the findings in the ForbesInsights study featured on HuffPostImpact, allowing workers to pursue their passions and support causes they care about, helps increase employee loyalty. Such hands-on experience has also been found to improve creativity in product and market development.
So what should you do if your company isn’t mobilizing its employees to volunteer? Take your voice and enthusiasm for service to your HR or Corporate Responsibility department. Download the ForbesInsight study and prove to them corporate volunteering matters- in a big way. Number don’t lie! Add a cherry on top by finding a few local initiatives your company can beta test with a small group of employees.
If you’re already on a stellar corporate team, volunteering year after year, then pat yourself and your Employee Engagement Officer on the back! Job well done!
If service is the rent we pay for living, then corporate giving through volunteering is the refund check we owe to those who make our businesses profitable.
That’s all I have for you today. 🙂 Until next week….Stay Good.