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Explore how energy companies can unleash community impact

November 02, 2021
An employee who works for an engineering company with a matching gift program smiles at the camera.

Companies in the energy sector are uniquely positioned within the social good landscape to make a difference by reducing their environmental footprints. With rising global challenges like climate change, pollution, and deforestation, corporate giving programs are more than just good business. 

As a result, leading energy companies have made strides to implement robust corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs to address top-of-mind issues and weave philanthropy into the fiber of their corporate purposes. 

At Bonterra, our energy-based customers align their workplace-giving strategy with their company’s objectives, purpose, and values to ensure their CSR strategy is a part of the end-to-end employee experience. We help our energy customers execute—and measure the efficacy of—foundation grantmaking, disaster relief, and employee giving and volunteering programs.

In this article, we’ll demonstrate through real-life examples how your energy company can implement and execute a meaningful CSR program. 

Unlock a streamlined grantmaking process

Grantmaking helps nonprofits in your community contribute toward your energy company’s purpose by providing them with the funds they need to fuel their programs. Of course, properly reviewing grant applications can be a time-consuming process and requires a single source of truth to measure and report on your organization’s impact effectively. 

Leading energy companies invest in CSR software to streamline the grantmaking process and demonstrate community impact through deep reporting capabilities. This allows CSR leaders to focus on delivering meaningful services to the causes that matter most. 

Customer spotlight: Xcel Energy 

The Xcel Energy Foundation donates millions of dollars each year to support needs unique to communities across its eight-state footprint. In 2022, the Foundation launched a grant program framework, Energizing the Future, which lays the groundwork for strong community impact, aligns with business priorities, and reinforces Xcel Energy’s continued commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

That year, through its focus area programs and investment in Bonterra’s CSR Grants Management, the Xcel Energy Foundation contributed $4.4 million to 426 nonprofits working to create strong, vibrant, and inclusive communities.

Deliver more funds to communities in need

Energy companies can be at the frontlines to help those in need when disaster strikes. Whether you and your community are facing a local crisis, or you’re responding to emergencies at the international level, the need for support is constant and you need not look further than your employees and the community to find people willing to take action. 

While you can’t always predict when or where the next crisis will hit, you can ensure you have the programs and technology in place to execute a scalable and sustainable response. CSR software offers a powerful opportunity for companies to band together, respond to urgent needs, and drive social change. Here are a few ways Bonterra’s platform enables rapid disaster relief:

  • Partner nonprofits: When a crisis hits, feature nonprofit partners on your CSR platform that need support, donations, or supplies. The increased visibility is sure to inspire action from your workforce.
  • Recurring giving: Enable automatic, recurring giving for your employees. While disasters call our attention to immediate needs, recovery efforts are often needed for years afterward. 
  • Employee volunteerism: Make it easy for your employees to get involved with volunteer efforts by promoting volunteer opportunities through a personalized employee interface. 

The flexibility of Bonterra’s Grants Management platform allows you to tailor your program to the specific needs of affected communities. As a result, your employees can participate with the knowledge that their efforts are truly making a difference. 

Customer spotlight: Alliant Energy 

Alliant Energy’s purpose is to serve customers and build stronger communities. That means staying focused on innovative solutions to bring clean, renewable energy to homes, schools, and businesses. 

In 2019, when a derecho—a windstorm—swept through Iowa, the company and its foundation found themselves focused on something much more basic: getting the lights back on. By the time the storm passed, more than 256,000 homes were without electricity. Even as power became available, some homes were too damaged to connect back to the grid. Those homeowners needed electrician repairs first, which cost up to $1,500 per household. 

The Alliant Energy Foundation created Project ReConnect to help low-income customers afford these repairs. The foundation invited Alliant Energy employees, board members, and even retirees to donate. Using the Bonterra system, they raised $105,000 in just a few weeks. The Alliant Energy Foundation matched Project ReConnect gifts two-to-one, bringing the total impact to $315,000—enough to afford repairs for everyone who sought assistance, as well as help with other critical recovery efforts. 

Drive deeper engagement with employee programs

When it comes to employee giving, offer more than just programming that aligns with your business objectives or corporate purpose. Engage your workforce by meeting them where they are with programs that offer flexible ways to participate, align with your employees’ passions, and are accessible to multiple types of workers. 

With Bonterra’s CSR platform, not only can you unify all of your employee giving and volunteering programs, but you can also enable multiple types of participation to meet the varying needs of your workforce. Plus, when all of your programs exist within a single platform, you can easily manage multiple initiatives and get a holistic view of your company’s impact through real-time updates and data visualizations. 

See how Bonterra can unite your giving programs and drive employee participation:  

  • Promote opportunities: Quickly and easily add organizations that have volunteering or giving opportunities for your employees. Highlight featured events and ensure that people have all the details they need to participate. 
  • Create viral engagement: Drive immediate increases in buy-in, participation, and contribution by harnessing powerful, peer-driven capabilities such as individual dashboards, gamification, and activity feeds. 
  • Rules-based approvals: Streamline your matching gift review and approval process. Remove complexities, reduce administrative burden, and eliminate the back-and-forth by automating approvals using set guidelines.

For even more ways that Bonterra can enable greater employee engagement and reduce administrative burden, explore our CSR solution and request a demo.

Customer spotlight: Schneider Electric Foundation

To drive awareness and increase employee engagement from day one, the Schneider Electric Foundation implemented a New Hire program. New employees receive $25 to donate to their charity of choice and receive 20 paid volunteer hours to spend working with organizations they care about. 

The foundation’s focus on giving back to the communities it serves and encouraging its employees to do the same has become an essential part of the employee experience. New hire participation has increased by over 10% and is only expected to grow year after year, fueling an employee population that is engaged in Schneider Electric Foundation’s corporate giving programs. 

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    Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Environmental change
  • Disaster relief
  • Corporations
  • Energy
  • Corporate social responsibility