Work With Your Employer to Make a Difference

Americans are generous. Each year, we donate more than $400 billion to charities and volunteer nearly 7 billion hours of our time. But the truth is, those numbers could be even higher if more donors and volunteers coordinated their efforts with employers.

The opportunity is there, because many companies support employees’ charitable efforts, recognizing that doing so not only improves the communities in which they operate. But, as points out, it also boosts employee engagement, which is a key driver of productivity.

Employees who take advantage of their employer’s charitable programs can enjoy a wide range of benefits, from actually getting paid to volunteer to seeing their donations to nonprofits doubled. Following are some of the best ways to take advantage of employer sponsored programs to make a difference in your community and the world.

Payroll deduction programs. Sometimes we intend to make a donation, but we forget, or we run out of time, or … well, we just don’t get around to it. The solution? Have your employer deduct funds from your paycheck to give to charity. It’s a great give-on-the-installment plan approach that makes it easy to be generous. The downside? Your options might be limited to charities chosen by your company. But, if you believe in those charitable choices, you can do good every time you get paid.

Employee gift matching. Many employers will match employees’ charitable donations dollar-for-dollar. Tapping into that doubling power is often as simple as filling out a form. A recent study suggested that nearly 80 percent of people who work for companies that offer matches don’t realize they have that option.

Team volunteering. These days, a lot of communities have days when companies send teams into the community to partner with nonprofits in their work. Take advantage of those days and you’ll end up getting paid to do good.

Paid time off to volunteer. While volunteering with your team is great, sometimes you’d like to choose your own cause to support with your time. But, fitting volunteer time around work can be hard. Fortunately, some employers are taking that problem off the table by offering paid days off to volunteer as you please. In fact, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, more than one-fifth of all employers offer this option.

The opportunity to lobby for your cause. Many employers that support charities make their gift decisions based on their employees’ interest. Make sure your employer knows about organizations and causes important to you and you just might find that your favorite charity gets a check from your firm.

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