Getting the most out of charitable donations requires some planning and forethought, but it’s well worth it. Apart from the positive contribution you can make to any number of worthy causes, recent research claims that spending money on others enhances the giver’s happiness, and can even have positive health impacts. The question is, how do you give back in a way that’s relevant to you, your cause, and your employees?
Here are five unique approaches you can take to charitable donations.
Option 1: replace employee gifts
Earlier this month, Google parent company Alphabet reportedly announced that they are forgoing any holiday gifts for employees this year. Instead, they donated $30 million worth of Google gadgets and tech support to schools. It might seem like a bold move, but it actual builds on last year, when employees reportedly had the choice of getting a Nexus 5x or donating to charity. A donation on employees’ behalf can make a big impact, but doesn’t have as much interactivity as some of the other options below – a compromise might be to let staff vote on the cause that their gift donation will benefit.
Option 2: make it an activity
Volunteer days are a great way to practice team building with your staff. A month-long food drive at the office, for example, could culminate in a day of volunteering at a food bank. Or, the team could learn new collaboration skills by working at a job site for Habitat for Humanity. These projects can be especially motivating to staff if you put them in charge of organizing and overseeing it from start to finish. And don’t forget to take lots of pictures throughout the process – it promotes your company’s corporate stewardship, and also make for great employer branding. Deloitte, for example, has blog posts and a promo video on Impact Day, its annual event where employees spend the day volunteering.
Option 3: create a productivity incentive
According to a recent study, when workers are given a social incentive (like a charity donation), their performance increases by 13 per cent – and that number increases to 30 per cent among the lowest performers. Set milestones for individual employees, project teams, departments, or the whole staff that trigger various levels of donations. Alternatively, you can use “charity dollars” as a reward for jobs well done – employers and managers can thank each other with donation credits that can be used toward company causes or other charities.
Option 4: give time off for volunteering
Additional paid time off for volunteer work is one of the most popular new perks among trendsetting employers. PNC, for example, gives staff 40 hours off annual to volunteer with its Grow Up Great initiative, while Autodesk gives permanent staff 48 hours a year. The latter encourages staff to log all volunteer time – whether it was done on company time or not – and for every 10 hours logged per quarter, they award $100 to the employee’s charity of choice.
Option 5: match donations
The concept of matching is simple: when an employee donates, the company donates. While some companies encourage donating to their featured causes, others encourage employees to choose any registered charity. Set a donation cap per employee – or for the initiative as a whole – to ensure the company can follow through on its commitment.
A final note on charitable donations at work: it doesn’t have to derail efficiency. There’s a wide range of tools to help log hours and track funds. YourCause, Causecast, Benevity, and others provide easy-to-use platforms for managing donations and volunteering, and engaging employees through workplace giving.