The Surprising Perk That Does Good for Your Company — and the Community
Mar 28, 2016
By: Cathie Ericson
When you think of workplace perks that your employees might value, you probably have considered lifestyle options such as foosball tables, free snacks and Summer Fridays. But what if you could offer your employees a perk that not only creates more workplace engagement, but also improves your community?
This can be the most fun but challenging element of your endeavor. Often the mission is clear: perhaps a colleague is battling cancer, or your office is near a Boys and Girls Club that could use a fresh coat of paint. There might be a cause with a strong tie-in to your industry: a real estate agency might partner with Habitat for Humanity, or a food manufacturer might donate to a food bank.
Employees may also have their own ideas about what they want to support. One strategy is to poll your staff about which nonprofit or community need appeals to them. You’re more likely to achieve buy-in if the idea comes organically from your staff.
Volunteer Matters recommends finding a balance “between a cause your employees will have a vested interest in and finding a cause that is in line with your company’s mission and goals.”
What will your involvement look like?
Many companies participate as a group in a fun run/walk or other event fundraiser. It’s a great way to get started without doing the planning. To increase the camaraderie factor, consider holding a fundraising challenge, organizing group costumes and participating in training exercises together.
But a newer trend is toward hands-on service. The United Way, for example, has seen a large increase in “active” over “passive” philanthropy, especially among millennials, currently the largest generation in the workforce. “In the past, it may have been enough to say, ‘I’m going to give to the United Way,’ but donors now want to see their donation on the ground,” says Daniele Zanotti, senior VP of resource development for the United Way Toronto & York Region.
In addition to providing a valuable service, employees build strong bonds through the camaraderie that comes from working together outside the confines of the office, as traditional hierarchies melt and departments intermingle. Planning and executing the project can also help nurture leadership potential and build skills.
The bottom line? Company volunteer programs can be a win-win-win: for employees, the company and, of course, the community.
About the Author
Cathie Ericson is a freelance writer covering business and consumer topics. She creates branded content for Fortune 500 companies, and her work has appeared in LearnVest, Costco Magazine, Forbes, TheGlassHammer.com and IDEA Fitness. Follow her @cathieericson.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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