Employee Engagement

A guide to employee engagement through corporate philanthropy

How to keep staff engaged and motivated

The importance of employee engagement, meaning your employees' emotional and functional commitment to your organization, cannot be overstated. Employee engagement should be a priority for organizations large and small — studies consistently show that engaged employees enjoy their work more, and benefit the organization in measurable ways.

Engaged employees tend to be happier, stay with an organization longer, and are more philanthropically minded. However, finding the best ways to improve employee engagement can be challenging for many organizations.

One method that has proven effective is corporate giving. Offering employees convenient ways to get involved in philanthropic endeavors can increase employee participation rates and overall engagement at work.

🌟 Inspire your employees

Improving employee engagement through corporate philanthropy starts by inspiring your employees to engage and participate. The success of your organization's corporate giving strategy requires the full support of your team. You can help ensure its success by involving your employees in the process and taking steps to motivate them to embrace the strategy and take action.

Make it personal

One effective method of gaining the support of your employees is by personalizing your strategy to meet their interests and social impact goals. While people typically share some interests and values, every individual has unique experiences that shape their outlook and passions. Getting to know what's important to your employees and the communities they live in will enable you to tailor your strategy to meet their core values.

Lead by example

There is truth to the saying that people are led by example. Therefore, demonstrating your commitment to making a positive social impact by helping improve the communities in which your employees live and work is critical. Whatever your strategy, employees will gain confidence in your corporate philanthropy program when you take the lead and make an initial donation before asking them to give.


As with any plan of action, the better informed your team is, the greater the opportunity for success. When your employees understand your company’s philanthropic goals, they are more likely to participate in activities that help reach that goal, increasing their level of engagement and generating more impact.

Education includes not just outlining and communicating the strategy itself, but also why it matters. Along with discussing the benefits to your organization, employees, and the community, also provide your team with information on the most effective causes and the significance corporate philanthropy has at the local and national levels. One of the best ways to accomplish this goal is by holding educational events such as a lunch hosting a special guest speaker.

🎡 Mobilize your team

Effectively mobilizing your team and implementing your corporate giving strategy involves several steps:

Develop a plan

Start your efforts by creating a plan. Assemble a planning committee to brainstorm employee engagement ideas, and utilize employee resource groups (ERGs) to make sure your strategy is inclusive. The planning committee should determine the type of campaign and the tools to use, such as donation matching, peer-­to-peer fundraising, or volunteering. This group will also help determine the program's budget, marketing strategy, and timeline.

Create a sense of urgency

Achieving a goal without specific deadlines is unlikely. Establishing deadlines will help you to gauge progress towards the goal. Deadlines can also be an excellent way to create competition among employees to meet each mile marker along the way.


Communication is key to implementing any strategy, and effective communication takes planning. Develop a tone or rhythm to your corporate giving initiative that makes understanding and involvement in the program as simple as possible.

Reward & recognize

Rewarding and recognizing individuals or departments that meet or exceed goals will further increase employee engagement. Celebrating the success of your leaders can take many different forms and doesn't have to break the budget. Incentives such as PTO, small prizes, a catered lunch, or the opportunity to smash a cream pie in a manager's face can all provide motivation. In addition, rewarding leaders with charitable gift cards, such as GiveCards, will enable your employees to donate their reward to the charity of their choice.

Measure your results

The results of your efforts are what truly matters. Track pertinent metrics such as participation, volunteer hours, and the amount donated to gauge your results and determine if your goals have been met. Survey employees and use their feedback to improve your results.

Grow your corporate giving strategy

All good corporate philanthropy programs start small. As you implement your program, you will discover ways to improve. Testing new ideas and evaluating the results will enable you to enhance your program consistently. If you didn't meet your goal, use employee feedback and metrics to assess your program and look for opportunities to improve in the future.

Often, you can improve results by ensuring that communication is simple and people are clear about how to participate. Providing employees with regular impact reports so they can see the progress made will also spur involvement and deepen commitment. Additionally, expand marketing efforts to increase traffic, awareness, and participation by using a mix of social media marketing and internal promotion by ERGs and senior leadership.

Finally, ensure that your program is easily accessible. Lower any possible barriers and increase involvement by offering virtual and in-person opportunities to participate. For example, make it easy to contribute by using tools like text-to-give, which sends a text message to employees and prompts them to donate to causes from their mobile devices.

🏆 A win-win for everyone

In short, developing and implementing a corporate philanthropy program offers a wide range of benefits for everyone involved. Incorporating tools such as matching gifts and volunteer time off will provide employees with an enjoyable and rewarding team-building experience.

Corporate giving can significantly enhance your organization's reputation in the community. Recognition from community leaders along with positive coverage in the media can have a lasting impact on your business and brand. Additionally, the nonprofits you support benefit from the publicity, increased volunteer support, and funding you bring to their organization.

While there are many ways to increase employee engagement, corporate philanthropy can be one of the most advantageous options for employees, companies, and nonprofits alike.