5 Ways to Share Your Employees’ Expertise
We often think of individuals giving away time, talent and treasure. But when thinking about corporate philanthropy, we often skip time and talent and go straight to treasure. Once upon a time, if a company wanted to check the “doing-good-in-the-community” box, all it had to do was send some cash to a local charity. Today, many companies are taking a more innovative approach by sharing their employees' skills with local nonprofit organizations to make a greater impact in the community.
At our most recent Corporate Giving Network, we invited corporate charitable givers in Kansas City to join us for a discussion on sharing employees’ expertise. We heard from a panel that included Catherine Kelly from the Archer Foundation, John Mulvihill from the VML Foundation and Charlotte Lewin from Burns & McDonnell. Here are five ways you can make the most of your employees’ talents, experiences and resources in your corporate charitable giving program:
- Think outside the box when looking for volunteer opportunities, and consider how your company can help a charity run like an efficient, for-profit business. Smaller nonprofit organizations may benefit from training led by your staff members from various departments, like human resources, marketing or accounting. Your company’s executive team may be able to help a charity refine their organizational strategy and goals.
- Discover and celebrate what employees are already doing as volunteers, and take it up a notch by creating a company-wide volunteer day for the causes they champion, or consider offering to do pro bono work for their favorite charities. This creates goodwill for both the community and your employees.
- Offer to pay your employees for their volunteer time outside of the office during normal business hours, but allow employees to take that time in small increments. For example, VML found that when they promoted their paid volunteer time off as 16 hours instead of two days as they did in the past, more employees took advantage of the benefit.
- Consider surveying your employees to determine their interest areas and availability. Then, if your company receives requests from charities for volunteers or board members from your staff, you can reference the results of the survey and match employees appropriately. Also, when considering employees for board service, remember to look beyond your company's senior leadership. Millennials on staff may have more time and energy to devote to board or committee roles. Panelists found that playing matchmaker for employees and charities was particularly beneficial for staff members who have recently relocated to the area.
- Send monthly or quarterly emails listing opportunities for your staff to give back. Your company can also use these emails to share all of the company’s charitable activities, including financial support and event sponsorships.
Authored by: Leanne Breiby, Director of Communications