Employee Engagement is Important! Increase Engagement through Matching Gift and Volunteer Grant Programs
By Sarah Ford on October 15, 2014
Guest Post by Adam Weinger, President of Double the Donation
More than ever before, organizations are relying on employee engagement and loyalty for overall success. On the same spectrum, today's millennials (individuals aged 18-35) are not starting their "forever careers" at such an early age. Many young individuals get their first jobs out of college, gain some experience, and move on. So, it may come as no surprise that only about 30% of employees are considered fully engaged in their work. Why is this, and what are some ways to increase the low levels?
Let's first discuss the benefits of a high employee retention and engagement rate. They can be considered mutually beneficial - a higher retention rate means greater overall success for the business, as well as a higher satisfaction level with one's career. As a win-win situation, corporations should really be aiming to make their employees happy in their work environment, and this is often done with benefit packages, higher salaries, and paid vacation.
But, a study done by Dale Carnegie and MSW Research on employee engagement showed something a little outside of the box: 54% of employees who were proud of their company's contributions to society are engaged in the workplace.
We find this interesting because this brings in yet another participant who can benefit - nonprofit organizations! Briefly put, employees work better and happier when they are proud of their company's work in the community.
As mentioned above, we want to discuss some ways to bring this whole issue to fruition. One great opportunity to do this is for companies to offer corporate giving programs, which in itself is multi pronged.
Corporate Giving Programs
Corporate giving programs are charitable programs created by corporations in which the company provides something beneficial (be it time, money, expertise, or equipment) to nonprofit organizations. The benefits are wide-reaching.
According to America’s Charities, through giving campaigns, employers can:
- Build a sense of community among the workforce.
- Demonstrate that the organization is being a good corporate citizen and help improve the image in the community and among stakeholders.
- Provide employees with team building experiences.
- Improve employee morale, relations and retention.
We'll discuss two main corporate giving programs, as well as identify specifically how these can benefit corporations, employees, and nonprofit organizations.
Matching Gift Programs
Matching gift programs are when a company will match, usually dollar for dollar, a monetary donation made by an employee to a nonprofit. For example, if an employee of PricewaterhouseCoopers donates $500 to a local university, then PWC will match that gift, resulting in a total donation of $1,000. And it isn’t just PWC. Many of the world’s leading companies match donations to charity.
How is this beneficial to the above participants? A nonprofit benefits from the donation made by the employee and the match from the corporation. The corporation benefits because the employee can see the dedication to a cause they believe in, and the employee benefits because they see the employer is committed to ensuring employee satisfaction.
Nonprofits and corporations should work together to develop guidelines and standards if they don't already exist. And if they do, nonprofits should be sure to reach out and build relationships with local companies to encourage participation with matching gift programs.
Volunteer Grant Programs
Volunteer grant programs are when a corporation offers a monetary grant to a nonprofit organization where employees volunteer their time.
Most programs are based on two methods:
- Threshold Grants - when an employee has volunteered for a certain number of hours in a calendar year, then the company will award a fixed monetary grant to that nonprofit.
- Hourly Grants - when an employee volunteers with a nonprofit, the company will offer a per-hour monetary grant (generally in the $10-$20 range).
Again, this is beneficial to the nonprofit organization in that it not only receives volunteer hours from individuals, but it is now receiving a monetary grant in addition! Employees feel motivated and encouraged to participate in volunteer events with local and national nonprofits, making it more likely that they appreciate the work their employer is doing in the community.
As with matching gift programs, volunteer grant programs are best utilized when nonprofits and corporations work together. Through one company’s study it was found that employees who volunteer through company sponsored events are up to 24% more engaged than employees who do not volunteer. Companies can do the necessary research to find volunteer opportunities for their employees, but it may work best when the nonprofits reach out to local companies and offer volunteer hours! Some companies may even offer team volunteer grants to motivate employees to get together and work toward a common cause.
Corporate giving programs can be considered a type of benefit package for employees. When employees feel motivated to give back to the community and can see that their employer is actively involved in these causes as well, then the likelihood of employee engagement and retention is going to be higher. People don't like to shop at places they don't believe do well for the environment and local communities, so why would they work there?
Corporations will see less turnover and more success when they develop partnerships with nonprofits and a reputation in the community for giving back. And nonprofits will benefit from these relationships with bigger companies, both local and national, whether in the form of corporate giving, media opportunities, or just spreading awareness about the cause.
Adam Weinger is President of Double the Donation, an organization that heps nonprofits fundraise via matching gifts and volunteer grants. Adam studied finance and economic development at Emory University and abroad at the Singapore Management University before working in the private sector at Comcast and Capital One. Both companies offered generous corporate giving programs, yet most employees were unaware of them.
After speaking with a host of nonprofit organizations about the need to access matching gift funds in a cost effective way, Double the Donation was born.