When people do good, they feel good.
Do good= investing in the community through acts of kindness.
Feel good= enriching local communities and fulfilling their deepest human needs.
Doing good extends beyond an individual changemaker’s desire to give back. With only 36% of employees committed to their work and workplace, according to Gallup’s Latest Insights on Employee Engagement, community investment opens up new opportunities to engage your employees, encouraging them to do good to feel good.
Community investment means finding and implementing meaningful charitable initiatives that your employees will be excited to participate in while feeling like they are making a real difference.
Thinking outside the box from your typical volunteer days or walk-a-thons, this blog explores five unique community investment ideas for your business. Not only will these positive actions increase employee engagement, but secondary to that, investing in your community is beneficial, giving your business achievements to be proud of and one-of-a-kind successes to share with the world.
Fund-a-need provides countless options to fund equipment, infrastructure, or even a specific program. For instance, you may learn your local hospital is in need of an MRI machine. After determining how much money needs to be raised to fund the new equipment, your business can create a crowdfunding campaign to receive donations and leverage the support of your employees to share this centralized page with their personal network.
Through fund-a-need, donors can visualize how their money is being used to fund a specific initiative, helping them to feel good about where their money (and their connections’ money) is going. As fund-a-need increases donor transparency, your employees will be more inclined to reach out to their network, share the fund-a-need’s objective, and solicit donations on the cause’s behalf.
2: Cause-related merchandise
To attract support from outside a cause’s membership base, sell cause-related merchandise such as hats, sweaters, and t-shirts. As causes operate with limited human capital, selling merchandise is an opportunity to bring in the knowledge base of your employees.
To sell cause-related merchandise on behalf of a charity or nonprofit, below are some steps to creatively enlist the help of your employees:
- Involve your graphic design team to create the branding for the hats, sweaters, and t-shirts that you would like to sell on behalf of your selected cause.
- Utilize your web development team to create a separate landing page on your website where this merchandise can be exclusively sold.
- Another option would be to utilize a social impact platform, setting up a separate page under your company profile to sell branded merchandise to a large network of community supporters (aka users of the platform).
- Bring in your marketing team to spread awareness around your cause-related merchandise. How can they get the word out to your customers, prospects, and other individuals in their network?
3: Donation matching
Not every employee will have the financial means to make a donation; however, employees who are in the position to donate can be rewarded for their financial contributions through donation matching.
When an employee donates, your organization will automatically match the amount they are giving (up to a certain limit), doubling how much the charity or nonprofit gets on the receiving end.
Donation matching provides a win-win opportunity for employees who participate: they are financially contributing to a cause they believe in while being supported by their company in the form of donation matching.
Rules for donation matching:
- Set a donation match ratio– most companies offer a 1:1 match ratio. I.e., If an employee donates $50 dollars, the company will match that donation, giving $50 as well. However, some companies go the extra mile offering a 2:1 or 3:1 matching ratio.
- Establish a maximum donation limit– be transparent with your employees about how much you are willing to match each year.
- Keep employees informed– consistently remind employees that your donation matching program exists and ensure they are educated on how to submit a donation matching request.
Money matters to many charities and nonprofits, but many causes are also reliant on individuals to help them run their programs through volunteering. That is where a dollars-for-doers incentive program comes in handy.
A dollars-for-doers program incentivizes employees to volunteer a set number of hours with one charity or nonprofit. Volunteering for one cause over a period of time helps employees familiarize themselves with the cause’s mission, staff, and objective.
Setting up a successful dollars-for-doers campaign:
- Set the number of volunteer hours an employee must complete with one cause in order to receive a reward.
- Establish a time frame- inform employees how long they have to complete the set number of volunteer hours. For instance, is it one quarter or one year?
- Regularly notify employees of the dollars-for-doers incentive program and encourage them to discover volunteer opportunities independently.
- Track employee volunteer hours through a social impact platform.
- Once an employee has reached the desired volunteer hour target you have set, reward employees with a gift card to a retailer of their choice.
5: Online auctions
Many nonprofits and charities host online auctions throughout the year. Auctions are engaging events that have the potential to draw up a large audience of bidders (and some friendly competition among participants).
Your organization should remain on the lookout for any charitable auctions in your local community. Is your local afterschool Boys & Girls Club auctioning off tote bags to help fund its upcoming programs? Why not bid on the item to see if you have a chance of taking the prize away?
Bring your employees in on the fun, too. For example, if your organization is registered with an online giving platform, encourage employees to sift through the different cause pages to see which nonprofits or charities are hosting online auctions. Once opportunities are discovered, employees can place their bids online to be entered into the auction pool for a specific item.
Invest in your community, invest in your employees, and invest in corporate social responsibility with these 5 unique ideas. No matter which option(s) you choose to pursue at first, remember that every community investment idea benefits those in need and supplies your employees with purpose.