• Retention: 85 percent of employees say that the level of their company's CSR impacts their decision to stay at the company1
  • Productivity: More than a third of employees have said that they’ve given more time and effort to a job because of their employer’s sustainability agenda, and research suggests that CSR engagement increases employee productivity by 13 percent.2
  • Purchasing power: 70 percent of millennials say that they have changed their purchasing habits in support of a cause or social issue of interest, and 72 percent of Gen Z considers a company's purpose when deciding what to buy.1

We'll explore the five steps to help build out an effective integrated program for an organization's strong future in CSR, as shared by Brittany Mattfeld Craig, Managing Director of Campaign Engagement, Global Impact and Veena Jayadeva, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Guardian.

Create volunteer opportunities so your employees can champion your CSR program

Nearly 60 percent of companies offer paid time off (PTO) for employees to volunteer on their own personal time.3 Often, companies will provide the volunteer opportunities themselves at various levels and for different stakeholders. For instance, transactional volunteerism might be a day of service within the office such as packing hygiene kits for a local community domestic violence shelter. Or skills-based volunteerism might look like a professional with finance experience holding a long-term mentorship on financial literacy with an underserved community.

Match the gifts of your employees

65 percent of Fortune 500 companies offer matching gift programs with a median percentage of employee donation matching of 10.5 percent.4

At Guardian, we have a nationwide corporate giving campaign underway to assist Team Rubicon, a veteran-led disaster response agency, mobilizing volunteers at vaccination distribution sites in the US to help ensure vaccine equity. Our community partnership puts more volunteers on the ground in underserved areas to provide vaccination distribution support where it’s needed most.

As part of the $1 million grant, we are lending additional support to the largest vaccination campaign in this country’s history by providing a double match for employee donations to Team Rubicon, up to $250,000.

Carefully strategize your grant making and corporate giving plan when funding your CSR program

What is your company able to uniquely provide to have a positive community impact? Think of the alignment of the charity you want to support with the pillars of your core business. Having strong alignment with your corporate purpose and your specific community is of key importance in grant making.

To implement a CSR program, consider the funding required:

  • whether you need a corporate foundation.
  • what your budget needs to be to manage and maintain the program.
  • whether you need several large grants or many small ones.

Most companies don't have the ability to write a check to solve a societal problem. So a good CSR program strives to strike a balance between giving corporate dollars and encouraging employees and executives to act as champions for nonprofit partners, whether by providing funding or through actions.

Give your employees a safety net for hardship or natural disaster with employee assistance funds

The impact of financial stress on workers costs employers 13 - 18 percent of annual salary costs.5 Whether it be in response to COVID-19 or other natural disasters, companies can utilize an Employee Assistance Fund (EAF) or Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to help support employees who may have been impacted by personal hardship. Some organizations provide employees with the choice to give to an EAP, in addition to charitable giving, because coworkers want to support one another in times of need.

Thirty-three percent of all employers offer an EAP that can provide needed support for workers struggling with natural disaster, virtual mental health or substance abuse counseling, and legal services.8 But only 5% of employees utilize it due to lack of awareness.6

Find your biggest supporters in employee networks

Employee resource groups, or ERGs, currently exist at 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies.7 They are voluntary groups of employees who share common interests; these are typically an organization's most community-engaged and socially conscious colleagues. When leading a CSR initiative, this is a key group to tap into to find your philanthropic champions.

Bringing a CSR program to life could take anywhere from 3 to 12 months. Use that time to do your homework: survey your employees to find out what matters to them, consider the pain points within your own community, and explore what your organization can do that is inherent to your core business. And don't forget to share this strategy with your employees. They are your biggest and best brand ambassadors that can put core business values into action. But they can't get on board if they don't know what's in the works. They will help you evangelize your program from the start, and one year down the road, your community impact will be greater.

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