Workers are an important part of corporate giving

In today’s business environment, corporations place a high priority on the development of corporate giving programs. Consumers, shareholders and communities expect a level of corporate social responsibility in addition to providing quality products and services. And with the rapid escalation and use of social media platforms to express satisfaction – and dissatisfaction – the commitment to corporate social responsibility is even higher.

As corporations and businesses develop their corporate giving strategies, another stakeholder group is equally and, to some extent, even more important than consumers and shareholders: employees. At a recent Nevada Corporate Giving Council meeting, Jonathan Drimmer, vice president and deputy general counsel for Barrick Gold, shared his perspective on the importance of employee engagement in developing ways to assess community needs and why the wishes of employees must be taken into account.

Employees often are the best ambassadors for a company. They are connected to their communities, and many are involved as volunteers with schools, churches and charities. According to Drimmer, corporate leaders are well advised to seek input and involvement from their workforce because it raises employee satisfaction, enhances workforce retention and significantly aids in employee recruitment.

Particularly for millennial employees, who have rising expectations of their employers and seek a closer connection between their jobs and the social fabric of their lives, corporate responsibility is fundamental. To create a positive sense of employee engagement, employers must be creative and move beyond simple giving and matching campaigns. Drimmer noted that some companies offer benefits and time off for volunteer activities and provide internal recognition of external programs.

Employers who seek involvement from their employees in directing and participating in corporate philanthropy initiatives often experience more than just a stronger return on investment; they will create a positive culture of engagement in the workplace and beyond.

This echoes the findings of the 2017 Nevada Corporate Philanthropy Report by the Nevada Corporate Giving Council and Moonridge Group, compiled by Applied Analysis. It showed volunteerism plays a crucial part of corporate philanthropy programs statewide. “Nearly 79 percent of companies surveyed offered a volunteer program, with more than 482,000 volunteer hours reported by employees in the prior year,” the report found. These include activities included park cleanups, food drives, neighborhood revitalization, walks for charity and activities with seniors.

We’ve found that employer-sponsored volunteer opportunities with employee input, coupled with a corresponding corporate giving strategy, results in higher morale and increased participation, benefitting everyone.

Julie Murray is CEO of Moonridge Group and organizer of the Nevada Corporate Giving Council.