Every Company Needs A Giving Campaign

Jason Pankow Benefits, Corporate Social Responsibility, Culture, Jason Pankow

When I write for FOT, I intentionally try to keep a lot of my day to day at Microsoft out of it.  You all know where I work.  If you want to hear me talk specifically about my job or my company, as recruiters, I assume it’s not too hard for you to track me down (whether I respond is another story…BWAHAHAHAHA!). I try to keep it high level and not company specific, as much as I can for a guy who’s been at the same place for 9 years.

However, today will be a bit different.

Recently, I was selected to be a VPAL (Vice President Appointed Lead) for HR for Microsoft’s annual Giving Campaign.  In a nutshell, what this means is that I am helping to lead efforts across our HR teams to get employees to donate time or money to various non-profits during the month of October. I won’t turn this isn’t a big Microsoft PR piece, but did you know that since Microsoft began it’s giving campaign, employees have raised of $1 Billion dollars for charity?

I’ve been a “giver” for a long time. Call it Catholic guilt or whatever.  Bottom line is that I was brought up being told that we need to look out for those less fortunate.  When I joined Microsoft and learned about their giving practices, I was floored.  Here was an opportunity to take the money I gave or the time that I volunteered and turn it into even more money for the organization.  And all I had to do to see this money make it to the non-profit was be employed by Microsoft.  There was no probationary restriction. Guidelines on who I can donate to were clear and rather limited.  And the donation limits are at number I will never be able to afford to donate, anyway.

Right off the bat, I earned respect for my new employer.  Ever year, when the giving campaign came around, I would add my donations to my payroll deduction, I would join my team at the day of caring, and I would participate in the activities going on around campus.  All in the name of charity.

Why the heck am I writing about all this?  In my time, so far, spent as a VPAL, I am watching how excited people get at the prospect of charity. Combine their own efforts with the cooperation of the company and it’s almost like their excitement doubles. Happy employees equal a happy employer. My completely non-scientific hypothesis is that this improves productivity as well as employee loyalty.

I have concluded that every company should have some kind of giving campaign!  Now, I know you’re not all rolling in the dough like Microsoft.  That doesn’t mean there is no opportunity for you.  Here are some ideas:

  • The obvious matching donation. If you donate to charity, the company matches your gift!  Obviously, you would want to put a limit on this and that limit would depend on what your company can afford.  But, even if it’s only $1000, that additional thousand bucks that sends warm fuzzies into the heart of your employee.
  • Grant volunteer time during the workweek. When I worked at Washington Mutual way back when they, you know…existed, one of my favorite perks was that they gave me time every month to leave work and volunteer.  Microsoft doesn’t pay me to volunteer (except on the day of caring).  They’ve one upped that.  They pay the non-profit for my volunteer time.  For every hour I volunteer, MS donates money to the same non-profit.
  • Team volunteer get togethers! This is such an easy thing to do to be a good corporate citizen while at the same time building team moral and camaraderie.
  • Payroll deductions. Even if you opt not to contribute, giving employees an avenue to make recurring donations gives them the opportunity to easy donate and feel good about themselves.

KD was just recently writing about Corporate Social Responsibility.  I firmly believe that companies need to give back in some way.  Huge companies like Microsoft, Google, Amazon (who’s corporate giving leaves much to be desired) are no brainers.  These companies can give back easily.  But, if you’re a small business, you shouldn’t feel left out.  It makes happy employees, it’s good PR…and it’s just the right thing to do!