To effectively create a culture of giving within your business, your company efforts must extend beyond just the annual food drive during the holidays. Giving must become a strategic initiative embedded into your business’ core. The benefits of giving—including increased employee engagement, improved employee satisfaction, stronger brand awareness, and reinforced brand trust—truly emerge when it becomes a core pillar in your company’s culture. Read on to discover five ways you can make giving a fundamental value in your company’s culture.
#1 Commit to Social Responsibility
One of the most effective ways to establish your company’s intentions when it comes to giving is to create a Corporate Social Responsibility initiative (also known as CSR). A CSR is a business initiative that describes the efforts your company takes to improve society socially or environmentally. By putting your company’s purpose and values into words, you can improve your brand image and build employee morale. In addition to a CSR’s contribution to business results, Harvard Business Review highlights that the main goal is to align a company’s social and environmental impact with its purpose and values.
For Bridge Partners, our CSR initiatives revolve around sustainability, diversity and inclusion, and community impact—and were launched with the involvement of our employees. This helped identify projects that were relevant to our core business focus. Allowing an internal team to lead initiatives and measure success ensured that initiatives were relevant to the business and meaningful to employees. A social initiative should be transparent—to allow for openness and inclusivity, which are at the core of CSR. Engaging both employees and customers allows all voices to be heard—and for all parties to have a hand in the resulting positive social impact.
#2 Let Employees Lead
Another way to encourage a culture of giving is to promote employee-led initiatives—which lets the voices of the people who make up your company ring out loud and clear. Through open committees that discuss business or social topics and are led by employees, you’ll discover what matters most to your workers. This is a great way for important initiatives within the business to be grouped together and gain a stronger voice through a committee system. Among the Bridge Partners committees are groups like Sustainability and DE&I that lead CSR programs, events, and training.
#3 Invest in Contribution Matching
One of the strongest ways to boost employee morale when it comes to giving is to invest in matching employee contributions. By matching employee donations each year to a certain amount, businesses can show they care about issues that are important to employees. Your spirit of giving becomes infectious and in turn, will excite and motivate your employees to take advantage of the generosity of your matching contributions.
An estimated $4-7 billion in matching gift funds goes unclaimed per year. To combat this, Bridge Partners hosts an annual Triple-Match campaign on Giving Tuesday, in which employees contribute to a designated charity and receive a matching donation from the CEO, the company, and the policy. Campaigns such as these are a great way to increase your business’s impact and encourage your employees to use the charitable matching employee benefit.
#4 Keep Up the Spirit of Giving
When you extend giving beyond just internal efforts, you connect with customers and the public—and increase your business value. According to the Cone Communications CSR Study, “63% of Americans are hopeful that businesses will take the lead to drive social and environmental change.”
Consumers expect businesses to lead the way to a sustainable and equitable future—and they specifically seek out companies to patronize that display these qualities. Using your company’s policies, processes, and behaviors, you can illustrate your company’s values internally and in your supply chain. According to Gartner and the Association for Supply Chain Management, supporting companies whose values align with their own is a growing trend for consumers.
When your business participates in discussions—and contributes to social issues that affect the community—it motivates consumer loyalty, because customers want to support businesses they respect. Through thought leadership, social posting, or charitable donation gifts, you can remind your customers about your values, and demonstrate how well you align with theirs.
#5 Impact the Community Effectively
When you see employees involved in donations or volunteering, you know that they are selecting causes that mean the most to them. Rather than a top-down approach to community impact, find a way to include employees in the strategy and planning for community efforts. This will increase their engagement and sense of purpose in these efforts.
Start Giving Today
No matter how big or small your business is, there is always an opportunity to create a culture of giving. These are just a few ways to start building a company culture that makes giving more impactful and effective. Incorporate these five tips into your business initiatives in a thoughtful and inclusive manner and don’t let giving be an afterthought, a marketing effort, or an empty donation. By doing so, you will make a positive impact on employees and the world.
For ideas on fundraising, check out the Double the Donation’s guide on Corporate Giving Programs and start enriching your giving culture today. Happy giving!