Cultivating Employee Engagement through Philanthropy

Sarah NavranCorporate Giving

 How does organizing your company’s giving under one structure promote employee engagement?

Employee engagement has become a “buzzword” amidst our current corporate landscape. Now more than ever, companies recognize their role in cultivating a sense of belonging and social impact within their organizations. By creating a corporate foundation, companies can streamline and organize their philanthropic giving, which creates a fulfilling work environment while positively influencing the greater community. Let’s explore four ways corporate foundations can boost employee engagement.

  1. Align corporate values with employee interests and philanthropy.

Corporate giving efforts can sometimes appear as random acts of kindness rather than an intentional program. Strategic planning centralizes charitable activities by providing employees with a clear understanding of the company’s philanthropic goals and focus areas. This clarity helps employees align their personal values with the company’s mission, fostering a sense of purpose and commitment.

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) create a space for colleagues with shared identities, interests and values. According to McKinsey and Company, ERGs foster inclusion and improve diversity in the workplace, which plays a critical role in building a supportive and engaging environment. ERGs influence outside the office walls by driving community social impact. Whether through volunteerism or charitable giving, ERGs connect authentically with external projects that support the causes they care about.

  1. Present opportunities for organizational collaboration.

All employees can participate in corporate giving, so there are many opportunities to encourage collaboration across all levels of the organization. For instance, we have worked with several company philanthropic advisory boards that include representatives from all levels of the organization. Employee involvement in decision-making processes creates a more all-encompassing and participatory work environment.

Additionally, consider organizing volunteer initiatives and other hands-on activities directly affecting charitable organizations. Participating in volunteer projects as a team strengthens connections with each other, fostering teamwork and rapport.

  1. Applaud company philanthropic achievements to boost employee pride.

When employees see their company’s philanthropy in action, they feel a sense of pride in being associated with an organization dedicated to making a difference in the community. This pride fuels their engagement as they become more invested in the company’s philanthropic initiatives, leading to increased participation and active involvement in giving back.

When a company receives media recognition for its charitable giving, volunteerism, or community impact, it’s important to share the news with the entire organization. On a smaller scale, cheering on employees can also look like encouraging departments to share photos from a group volunteering project with the rest of the team or creating an email badge that designates employees who have reached a certain level of charitable initiatives. Sharing the philanthropic efforts of individuals, departments or the whole team not only boosts engagement but also reinforces the company’s commitment to making a positive difference.

  1. Think outside the box to make charitable experiences more enjoyable and fulfilling.

Having a good time in the office can be key in amplifying employee engagement. Corporate foundations set the basis for introducing exciting new initiatives. One example is to incorporate friendly competitions, such as the department with the highest participation in charitable giving or the individual who volunteers the most in a month. By competing for prizes, employees will feel an added element of enthusiasm and motivation surrounding corporate philanthropy. Not only do employees enjoy the rewards, but also the sense of accomplishment that comes with being declared the winner.

There are many other ways to go beyond the fundamentals of a corporate foundation to enhance employee engagement, such as establishing a matching gift program or creating a disaster relief campaign.

For more corporate philanthropy ideas, check out our blog for inspiration or reach out to our corporate services with any questions at