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How Employee Volunteering & Matching Can Support Your DEI Strategy

Paper hands in all different colors reach together to form a heart

Any individual or team tasked with overseeing corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives and goals will likely stumble on another important area of need: diversity, equity, and inclusion, or DEI. For many businesses, DEI and CSR are separate entities: they may overlap in some ways, but their operations and goals are largely separate. However, there are some pieces of CSR – namely, employee volunteering and donation matching – that allow businesses to actively support their DEI strategy. Volunteerism is an overlooked but powerful tool for teams looking to extend their reach and put DEI goals into action. Let’s take a closer look at why that is.

Table of Contents:

What is a DEI Strategy?

How does DEI overlap with corporate social responsibility?

Employee Volunteerism: A Tool for CSR & DEI Alike

4 Ways Volunteering & Donating Supports DEI Initiatives

  1. Bringing Diversity-Related Goals to Life

  2. Diverse Employees, Diverse Skill-Sets

  3. Expand Your Company’s Reach to New Communities

  4. Building an Inclusive Corporate Culture

The Bottom Line: Groundswell Enhances Your DEI Strategy

First Things First: What is a DEI Strategy?

A DEI strategy (sometimes known as a DEIB strategy) is an actionable plan a business uses to reduce workplace disparities and create a culture of inclusion. In other words, it’s the roadmap that businesses can use to promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in their workplaces.

From attracting and retaining underrepresented candidates to reviewing pay equity and monitoring employee sentiments, DEI initiatives help businesses build an environment where everyone feels safe and welcomed.

No matter what your workplace currently looks like, DEI is worth investing time and attention into. A DEI strategy plays an important role in engaging employees in the work they do and the organization as a whole. According to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, a majority of workers in the US (56%) say that focusing on increasing DEI at work is a good thing, and many employees specifically seek out companies that dedicate resources to creating an inclusive workplace. 

What’s more, a 2020 McKinsey & Company report discovered that diverse companies (i.e., companies with robust DEI strategies and programs) are likely to financially outperform their peers. The report also notes that promoting diversity alone does not seem to do enough to ensure a culture of inclusion – only a business-led approach to DEI creates significant results.

In a nutshell, DEI helps employees feel more included, engaged, and proud of where they work. It also ensures businesses have the resources they may need to thrive.

How does DEI overlap with corporate social responsibility?

The goals of DEI and the mechanisms used to achieve them often overlap with those of corporate social responsibility, even without a deliberate effort on the business’s part. 

For example, DEI encourages creativity and innovation; it pushes companies to develop a reputation that attracts diverse talent and customers. CSR strategies can target the same goals – attracting skilled talent, boosting employee retention, and creating a strong reputation – through philanthropic action and financial resources. 

Both DEI and CSR aim to help businesses empower their workers to reach their full potential. They also seek to make the world a better, more compassionate, and equitable place for all, specifically by leveraging an organization’s resources to make a difference.

Employee Volunteerism: A Tool for CSR & DEI Alike

So, we know that DEI strategies and the programs they support can also align with CSR initiatives and goals. But there’s one specific element of CSR activity that’s uniquely well-suited for the job: employee volunteerism and donation matching.

Employees should always play an active role in both a CSR and DEI strategy. One of the best ways for workers to do that is to get involved in hands-on work, whether that includes donations deducted from paychecks, one-off volunteering events, long-term program involvement, or something else entirely. 

All of this is to say that a strong CSR strategy should consider DEI, especially as it relates to employee efforts like volunteering or donating. DEI leaders and CSR teams should collaborate whenever possible to achieve their mutual goals and enhance their impact. Utilizing CSR initiatives like an employee volunteer program to support DEI strategies helps businesses engage more employees, build a stronger company culture, and increase their reach. 

4 Ways Volunteering & Donating Supports DEI Initiatives

In many ways, we can think of CSR and DEI as two apples from the same tree. But why is it that employee involvement is such a uniquely beneficial medium for both areas of need? 

Let’s explore how CSR efforts like employee volunteerism and donating can support DEI initiatives.

1. Bringing Diversity-Related Goals to Life

When employees volunteer and donate, they have access to new opportunities to help companies achieve diversity-related goals. For instance, workers might volunteer at diversity-focused organizations or nonprofits committed to serving traditionally marginalized communities. 

On the flip side, volunteering and donating to nonprofit organizations can also introduce employees to new experiences or communities. In doing so, CSR programs help employees expose themselves to new ways of thought, new cultures, and new experiences that might shape how they think and work. 

2. Diverse Employees, Diverse Skill-Sets

Volunteerism gives diverse teams of employees the chance to lead and use their unique skill sets. It’s not just about where and what a worker does, but also how – DEI is about diversity in all forms, including diversity of thought, experience, and problem-solving. 

When given the chance to volunteer or donate to a cause that speaks to them, employees not only get to cultivate their leadership skills but also hone in on their sense of purpose. More opportunities to shine means more confidence and recognition for employees from all walks of life. 

Plus, the valuable experience gained through volunteerism helps businesses create a diverse set of future leaders that will keep the organization strong for years to come.

3. Expand Your Company’s Reach to New Communities

Putting boots on the ground to make meaningful changes in diverse communities is enough to expand a business’s reach. But launching long-term volunteerism and donation matching programs creates a lasting connection to people and places from all around the world. 

Businesses that successfully learn from these experiences can integrate their lessons into the workplace. They can also successfully recruit employees and community allies from these diverse spaces, further ensuring that more people and perspectives are reflected in their internal culture.

4. Building an Inclusive Corporate Culture

Everything that volunteering and donating bring to the table – ties to local nonprofits, hands-on experience for employees, quantifiable changes to communities – help support the larger DEI goal of building an inclusive workplace culture. 

An inclusive culture welcomes, but it also seeks to understand. It recognizes all people as the unique, nuanced, and valuable individuals they are, even if their experiences or methods differ. 

Inclusion is also about listening and giving employees a platform, which volunteering and donation matching naturally achieve.

The Bottom Line: Groundswell Enhances Your DEI Strategy

For businesses focusing on crafting and executing a DEI strategy, CSR programs like employee volunteering and employee giving or donation matching are invaluable resources.

By simplifying the process behind each, Groundswell helps businesses oversee engaging and impactful CSR campaigns that also encompass elements of their DEI strategies. The Groundswell platform makes it easy to log employee volunteer hours, quickly find organizations to partner with, approve donation matching, and more. 

Schedule a demo today to see how Groundswell can help you power a DEI strategy through corporate volunteerism and donation matching.

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