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Skyrocket employee participation: 5 workplace giving trends

Bonterra Author
July 12, 2021
This image shows two young professionals sitting at a table looking at a paper about workplace giving trends.

Over the past decade, volunteer events and matching programs have become the gold standard for corporations launching and expanding their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs, engaging employees, building brand awareness, and driving investment. With the rise of remote work and dispersed employees, companies are now prioritizing flexibility, equity, and programs aligned with current events and employee-led causes. This shift has led companies to create new forms of workplace giving to drive greater engagement and employee participation, resulting in maximum social impact. 

New social impact and CSR programs are focused on making it easier for employees to participate at any time and anywhere. Let’s dive into five emerging workplace giving trends that you can implement for your employees!

1. Action-based workplace giving initiatives

Over time, the definition of volunteerism has shifted drastically to encompass a broader spectrum of behavioral habits, acts of kindness, and green acts. Giving blood, donating goods, or getting a booster shot are all ways to give. So why not incorporate them into your corporation’s volunteer activities to inspire greater engagement?

Reward social good actions through your workplace giving programming. Some of these actions may include when your employees:

  • Pick up litter around their neighborhood.
  • Deliver groceries to an elderly neighbor.
  • Participate in a blood drive.
  • Get a vaccine or booster shot.
  • Clean out their closet and donate unwanted clothing to a local charity.
  • Donate non-perishable goods to a local homeless shelter.
  • Use energy-efficient lightbulbs around their homes.

By broadening the scope of your workplace giving initiatives, you can make volunteerism more flexible and accessible than ever before. Employees who can’t give back through financial means or don’t have time for traditional volunteerism will be able to participate in your company’s corporate philanthropy programs. As a bonus, more causes will reap the benefits of your CSR strategy—it's a win-win!

2. Dollars for Doers

Another trend to incentivize participation in your corporation’s expanded workplace giving programming is through a Dollars for Doers initiative. The way these initiatives work is that your company will give monetary grants to nonprofit organizations that your employees give back to.

When your employee completes an act, whether it's delivering groceries, donating blood, or picking up litter, match their efforts with a monetary donation to a local nonprofit or charity of their choice. In doing so, you’ll both double their impact and demonstrate that you recognize and appreciate their work to give back to their community. 

3. Charitable spending accounts

Consider transferring the budget from a matching gift program to a charitable spending account for employees, allowing them to support the nonprofits of their choice directly. Select a budget for each employee and the time frame for the budget, and leave the rest up to your employees.

They can donate where and when they want, creating a sense of immediacy that matching gift programs don’t always offer. It also removes the need to request a match and records donations immediately, making it easy to give. The efficiency and simplicity of these workplace giving programs can encourage employee participation and build a more confident, robust, and recurring donor base for nonprofits.

4. Paid volunteer time off

Many volunteering activities take place during the workday, making it difficult to balance both giving back and collecting a paycheck. That’s what makes volunteer time-off (VTO) a great offering, as it’s a form of PTO that allows employees the flexibility of volunteering during the workday while still getting paid.

Offer employees an allotted amount of VTO to spend working with nonprofits they care about. You can easily build these hours into your paid time off plan, so it’s just as easy to manage and track as vacation and sick days.

5. Employee-led workplace giving

Employee resource groups (ERGs) play an important role in CSR, as they can greatly boost employee engagement when paired with workplace giving and volunteering. ERGs have increased substantially at organizations—in 2021, 40% of companies had ERGs, a 9% increase from the previous year.

As ERGs become more prominent within corporations, employees have a greater say in how and where they can give. And your employees want the opportunity to give to causes that matter to them! As a result, more and more companies have aligned their CSR programming with causes their employees want to support, leading to higher employee engagement and participation rates.

Workplace giving trends and giving platforms

The realm of CSR and workplace giving is constantly evolving, with new trends emerging on the regular. The way your employees want to give is ever-changing, and your corporation must be prepared to meet them where they are.

To increase employee participation and maximize your CSR budget, consider investing in a dedicated CSR platform such as Bonterra’s Corporate Social Responsibility solution (formerly CyberGrants). These platforms allow you to easily run and manage matching gift programs and create virtual or in-person volunteer opportunities, helping you skyrocket your corporation’s employee engagement and participation.

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Written by

Bonterra Author
    Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Volunteerism
  • Corporations
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Employee giving
  • Employee volunteering