7 Way to Engage Your Employees in Giving
In 2003, Mumbai slowly and steadily began its running journey with the first ever Standard Charted Mumbai Marathon (now known as TATA Mumbai Marathon). Today it’s not only a sought after sporting event but also the single largest fundraising platform for social organisations. As quoted on their website, since its inception the event has raised 266 crores for 700 NGOs working on varied social causes.
In 2008, a group of individuals took it upon themselves to initiate a philanthropic festival organised every year during 2nd to 8th October – the Joy of Giving Week (now known as Daan Utsav). Today after 10 years it is a nationwide movement that engages corporates, students and individuals alike; including events that have found their way into rural India.
In 2013, the Indian Companies Act prescribed a mandatory Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) contribution that brought about sea-change in companies’ approach to CSR and social commitment.
Path-breaking ideas like these have been instrumental in bringing ‘social good’ to the forefront. It is not surprising therefore and research validates that today’s employees like to work with organisations that are ‘doing well’ and ‘doing good’ at the same time. ‘Doing well’ implies that the company is generally profitable. Employees are satisfied with the salaries and benefits that they avail. ‘Doing good’ implies that a company is socially conscious and takes an active interest in ‘doing good’ for the world at large. The company creates opportunities to enable their employees to give back to the society.
And to add to all of the above, let me tell you another fact; engaging employees in the act of giving alone can improve your employee satisfaction scores, raise your retention levels and strengthen your employer brand. Because one of the thumb rules of employee engagement is to enable your employees to do what they hold in high regard – whether it is learning, growing or giving.
Here are 7 simple ways in which you can engage your employees in giving time, money or skills:
1. Host a collection drive
This might be the easiest of them all. Identify a cause or an NGO you would like to support. Understand from them what is it that they would like to receive in bulk and dedicate an area in your office where empoyees can donate. For example: A children’s NGOs wotking in the area of education might want a supply of notebooks & stationary for all children for a particular academic year.
Collection drive could be held for toys, reading books, note books, educational games – for children; magazines, clothes, medicines – for elderly people; clothes, blankets, food items – for the homeless or as disaster relief.
2. Spend time with someone from another community
This might be a slightly difficult idea to pull off. Especially so because it requires us to give one of our most precious thing – time. But that apart, it is the most inspiring and life-changing experience one could have. For example: Spend time playing games (especially ludo) with elderly people in an old age home. From my personal experience, I can tell you it’s unbelievable to see their child-like zeal to win.
You could choose to spend time singing with the differently abled, reading to the blind, dancing with orphan children, baking a cake with acid attack survivors or conducting a sharing circle with transgender individuals.
3. Host an NGO in your premises
Do you remember your first day in an office? There are just so many things that are awe-inspiring. Imagine the impact an office visit could have on a less privileged individual. There are many NGOs that work with children and youth in the area of career counselling. Identify an NGO, send them an invitation to invite your workplace and give them an opportunity to learn.
For example: youth aspiring to create designs could shadow a designer in office for half a day. We all have had someone who was our guide when we were making decisions about our career. Give someone else the opportunity to benefit from your guidance.
4. Host a pop-up NGO stall
Several NGOs have developed a sincere way to raise funds and support themselves. They do so by exhibiting a variety of handmade products ranging from bags, to books, to folders, to wooden handicraft, to tailored clothes, to hand-printed fabric, and much more.
All you have to do is provide space for the NGO to exhibit their merchandise and let all your employees know which day and what time they can go and patronise the stalls. You can even perhaps invite more than one NGO and host a mela.
5. Host a fundraising lunch or dinner
Fundraising meals are a lot of fun to host. They can be organised in more than one way. All you need is a charity of your choice and a day when all the proceeds of the meals go to the charity. For example: A special Kerala style thali could be made available at Rs. 1000/- each to raise money towards Kerala relief fund.
Employees could do a potluck and every person that joins the potluck contributes a pre-decided amount. The employees could form groups, come together and prepare traditional meals to raise a contribution. The company could order in special food, raise a contribution from employees and match the amount to double the contribution. You could even organise a food fair where employee cubicles double up as food counters, and the funds raised by each employee are pooled together and donated for the common cause.
6. Host an awareness workshop
Often we hear about social issues but don’t feel empowered to participate in change. That’s because we often don’t know how to be of help. For example: Each one of us is pained to hear about child sex abuse. Inviting an NGO that is dedicated to the cause to share ways in which we can participate to prevent child sex abuse is highly empowering.
Listening to an inspiring talk by people who have faced great difficulties, learning about preventive approach toward certain causes, understanding how to work with people with disabilities or holding LGBT inclusivity workshops are some of the many issues that you could sensitise your employees about.
7. Launch an employee payroll giving initiative
Just like certain instruments were introduced in the past, for example, the provident fund, to inculcate a habit of saving. Likewise, Payroll Giving is a contemporary concept, developed to inculcate a habit of giving on a voluntary basis. So, instead of committing to contribute a large amount at one go, payroll giving allows you to choose a minimum amount (as low as Rs. 100 per month) that could contribute on a regular basis and to a charity of your choice.
Give India is the pioneer in the field of payroll giving. You could bring this concept to your company, offer it to employees. Conduct awareness drives, encourage sign up for payroll giving, identify volunteer leaders who could encourage other employees to sign up. Make this into a year-on-year activity to encourage employees to sign up or scale up their giving.
We are bang in the middle of the Daan Utsav 2018, with four more days to initiate a giving event in our company. You could quickly put together one of the events mentioned in the list above or join an existing event by visiting www.daanutsav.org or www.ivolunteer.in. And if you need any further inspiration, an NGO reference or more ideas; feel free to reach out to us.
Employee Engagement is crucial in the equation to achieve high productivity. Yellow Spark specialises in creating a strategic roadmap with built-in milestones to improve employee engagement for our clients. Get in touch with us to initiate a discussion about employee engagement with us – firstname.lastname@example.org
Author Profile: Deepam Yogi is an adventurer at heart, socially conscious in her gut and professionally a strategic consultant. She co-founded Yellow Spark to support organisations to build workplaces that people love being a part of. Deepam describes herself as a shy yet opinionated writer, and firmly believes that most answers to complex issues lie in simple communication.