Encourage Employee Engagement With End-of-year Philanthropy

My Investments November 30, 2017

Employee engagement is mission critical to the success of small and large businesses. This holiday season, consider using philanthropy as a tool to increase your overall employee engagement, both in the company and the community.

It is important to note, philanthropy isn’t limited to financial donations. And it can benefit your company beyond the tax breaks for which you may qualify. For example, it’s great PR if your company’s name is used in promotions of a local 5k run to help raise funds for a nonprofit. And if your employees are also involved in promoting your business via their charitable efforts, the benefits are unmeasurable.

It’s essential for business owners to work with their financial planners to develop plans that align with their passions, and how they can achieve their company’s philanthropic goals. Some strategies include:

Become a sponsor: Seek out and sponsor local events celebrating the best and brightest in your community. Host an awards dinner and invite local politicians, your employees, the media and other organizations that are connected to the type of recognition. It’s a great way to involve your employees in helping with arrangements, gathering nominations and/or selecting the final award recipients.

Encourage volunteerism: Volunteering takes time, and time may be an extremely limited resource for your employees. Encourage your employees to go out in the community and help their favorite charities by providing them with a paid vacation day specifically dedicated to volunteering with a nonprofit. Word will spread about how much your company cares about the community, and that’s advertising that can’t be bought.

Set up a matching grant: The value of the dollar goes much further when a matching grant incentive is available. Offer a matching grant of a specific amount, or even a 2-1 match where you double your employee’s gift up to a pre-determined limit. Because employees often know their charities personally, also ask if there’s a special project your matching donation should be earmarked toward. This personal involvement allows your business to connect better with your employees’ interests.

Arrange for a give-back week: Create an environment of enthusiasm for volunteering that spreads beyond your employees by pulling in their families and friends. If you have a local food bank, animal shelter, disaster relief organization or other charity that your employees connect with, consider arranging several events during a short period of time to focus on helping that charity out. For example, in support of a week-long food drive, ask your employees, their children, and friends to get out and collect food. Have a location at your business where the items can be dropped off during the week. Then sponsor an end-of-week lunch for all who contributed (including family and friends) to celebrate.

Specific charitable organizations matter to employees, already creating a level of engagement. It’s not difficult to increase that with a philanthropic environment where employees don’t feel pressured to necessarily give money, but instead can bring their children to a volunteer event and give back with their time and energy. It’s one of the best ways to create a sense of community right in your office.

Jason Whong
Jason Whong, Wealth Planning Strategist for U.S. Bank Private Wealth Management

U.S. Bank and its representatives do not provide tax or legal advice. Each individual's tax and financial situation is unique. Individuals should consult their tax and/or legal advisor for advice and information concerning their particular situation.