When children are asked what they want to be when they grow up, typical responses include “teacher” or “doctor” because they have first-hand experience with those jobs.
I used the same connection theory when I decided to sponsor two children through World Vision, a nonprofit organization that provides assistance to children and families to help communities alleviate poverty. I wanted my kids to be able to relate to the children we sponsored even though they were living very different lives, thousands of miles away. I requested two children who are the same sex and have the exact same birthdays as my own children. Rather than just sending money and an occasional card, my kids have a special bond with our sponsored children.
The idea of integrating real-life connections to broaden understanding can also be applied to engage employees in philanthropy. How much more likely are employees to participate in a corporate event if they can relate to the cause? Over the last decade, most corporations have adapted from being givers to being strategic givers—donating to causes that link back to the business. I suggest taking it one step further and making sure initiatives also relate to employees. Here are four ideas for keeping corporate philanthropy real:
Successful businesses recognize that volunteering, giving and engagement are interrelated, and that they affect the bottom line. Aon Hewitt’s 2013 Trends in Global Employee Engagement Report states that every 1 percent increase in employee engagement indicates a 0.6 percent growth in sales. Ensuring that corporate giving and volunteer programs mean something to employees’ heads, hearts and hands benefits everyone involved.
Leave a comment to let us know how your organization is keeping it real by using corporate philanthropy and volunteerism to increase employee engagement.