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When did it become so important for companies to give back? The short answer is that a giving culture is good for the workforce — and the company.

Support a colleague in a 5K charity race. Donate lunch-time fitness classes to nursing home residents. Lead a team of colleagues to build homes for struggling families. Fly aid workers to hurricane-torn communities on the corporate jet (for free). Make a corporate donation to support an up-and-rising charity.

This giving season, one can’t help but notice the abundance of employers with goodness programs that encourage the “giving of time, money, talent, and services to worthy charities via the workplace.” When did it become so important for companies to give back? Why are so many organizations committed to the greater good?

The short answer is that a giving culture is good for the workforce – and the company.

Community Engagement: #GivingTuesday and More

Employers and employees exist within a broader community. The same community that birthed today’s #GivingTuesday holiday. Now in its sixth year, #GivingTuesday is a “global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration.”

To offset the widely recognized shopping events of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday shifts the focus from material goods to giving back. It launches the charitable season when individuals and organizations turn their attentions to year-end giving.

When companies give back, they are showing employees and clients that they are not just interested in profits. They are dedicated to their employees and the communities they serve.

Recruitment: Millennials and Gen Z Want to Work for Companies that Give Back

Workers of all ages consider salary, benefits, career path, and work environment when evaluating potential employers. What’s different about Millennials and Gen Z is that they care about social responsibility, too. It’s important to them that companies are committed to charitable giving.

Why are so many organizations committed to the greater good? The short answer is that a giving culture is good for the workforce – and the company.HR Dive reported that:

  • 81 percent of Millennials expect a company to commit to corporate citizenship
  • 62 percent of Millennials said they’d take a pay cut to work for a company that is socially responsible (56 percent of other generations said the same).

Retention: Corporate Responsibility is Tied to Employee Engagement

Positive company cultures are signs that organizations value and invest in their employees. To build such cultures, leaders strive to create a workplace where employees not only enjoy spending their time, but also feel valued and fulfilled.

Giving is one element of corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. And CSR can strengthen company culture, when the programs demonstrate a core value of the business, not just a tagline. Choosing charities that resonate with your employees is a step in the right direction. According to a recent study from Project ROI, well-designed CSR programs can:

  • Reduce staff turnover by 50 percent
  • Increase productivity by up to 13 percent
  • Increase employee engagement by up to 7.5 percent

Company Performance: CSR Matters to Customers, Too

Corporate giving and CSR not only help engage employees, but also help to create favorable brand reputation with customers and other stakeholders.

According to the 2017 Cone Communications CSR Report, the stakes are higher than ever. It’s not enough to simply support great causes; buyers now want to know what they stand up for:

  • 63 percent of Americans are hopeful businesses will take the lead to drive social and environmental change moving forward
  • 78 percent want companies to address important social justice issues
  • 87 percent will purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they care about; and
  • 76 percent will refuse to purchase a company’s products or services upon learning it supported an issue contrary to their beliefs

Ready to Act? Research First.

Wondering which charitable organizations are worthy of your corporate gifts? Check the ratings from groups that review charities’ performance and transparency.

Charity Navigator, for example, has evaluated tens of thousands of charitable organizations and developed a numbers-based rating system for more than 8,000 of America’s charities. On their site, you’ll also find suggestions like:

  • Charities with Perfect Scores
  • 10 Most Followed Charities
  • Hot Topics
  • 10 of the Best Charities Everyone’s Heard Of
  • 10 Charities to Watch

Need more inspiration? Here are 5 Companies Doing Corporate Philanthropy Right.

We Want to Know: How Are You Giving Back?

In this year’s CSR study by CECP, in association with The Conference Board:

  • 31 percent of employees, on average, volunteer
  • 61 percent of companies offer paid time off for volunteering

How about your organization? What are you doing to give back?

Interested in building a culture that supports employee recruitment and retention? Contact us for ideas to get started or improve your culture. We’re always happy to help!