Asheville, North Carolina, United States - April 3, 2008: Volunteers for the nonprofit organization Habitat for Humanity work building new energy efficient houses for low income partner families in Asheville, North Carolina.

How to set up a company-wide giving program

Drive-thru:

  • Creating a company-wide philanthropy program can bring many benefits, including more engaged and loyal employees.
  • More than 75 percent of employees report wanting to be involved in a giving and volunteering program at work.
  • Setting up a program is not a one-size-fits-all effort. Instead, it should be tailored to your company culture and the issues your employees care most about.

The holiday season often brings out our giving spirits. While it’s important to volunteer and make donations this time of year, setting up a company-wide philanthropy program will bring year-round benefits.

Creating opportunities for employees to give back to their communities provides workers with a common goal, which boosts camaraderie and productivity, and instills a sense of pride. Encouraging volunteerism, charitable fundraising or other philanthropic activities is especially attractive to millennial workers, who the construction industry is working to lure in as a solution to its workforce shortage.

“Employee engagement through cause is a vital means by which to strengthen employee relationships, enhance employee morale and even build critical skill sets and expertise. Plus, employees are hungry for ways to get involved in a cause,” according to the Network for Good’s Employee Engagement report.

More than 75 percent of employees report wanting to be involved in their company’s giving and volunteering programs, including matching grants, paid time off to volunteer, and other activities, according to the report.

Setting up a giving program is not a one-size-fits all effort. For the program to run efficiently and truly engage employees, you need to choose a cause that makes sense for your company and establish connections in your local community. This will give your company a reputation for giving, which is good for business.

Pick a cause

Selecting the cause that makes the most sense for your subcontracting business is an essential first step. You want to choose something that will engage employees and make them feel like they are making an impact. There are several ways to do this:

  • Poll employees about issues that they care most about, whether it’s education, fighting hunger, pet rescue or others.
  • Find out if any employees are already volunteering or supporting certain organizations, and piggyback on those efforts.
  • Identify community needs or areas that need more support.
  • Think about ways your company could provide free services to benefit your community.

The construction industry is a giving group. Examples of recent philanthropic campaigns include Perimeter Roofing Company in Atlanta, who recently stepped up to help struggling families by paying off school lunch balances for local students. A roofing company in Cleveland, the Garland Company, recently raised more than $60,000 for Achievement Centers for Children, which serves children and adults with disabilities.

Decide on a course of action

Once you’ve chosen a cause, decide how your company will support it. Will you hold donation drives or raise money? Will groups of employees volunteer? Also, think about how often your company will engage with the organization. Will it be monthly, seasonally or another time frame? The best path may be to work on different activities at different times of the year.

Designate a company leader to organize the giving program, initiate donation drives, schedule volunteers, and communicate with the local organizations that you will give to. Charities will welcome the help, especially after the holidays are over. Most charities see an uptick in volunteers and donations around the holidays, but the need exists year-round.

Build a reputation for giving

Think about how your giving program aligns with your company mission and how it can help you build up a philanthropic reputation in your community.

Entrepreneur Magazine warns that you shouldn’t expect a quick or measurable return on your charitable investment. However, engaging employees and creating a more caring culture will increase productivity and boost pride—not to mention enhancing your reputation—so in the end, you’re doing something that benefits both the company and the community.

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