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4 Ways That Your Business Can Make Waves of Social Impact

October 3, 2022
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No matter the size of your business, it can have a social impact in the communities that you serve. Maximizing social impact is a good idea for the bottom line. It can raise the company’s visibility and ensure future sustainability by creating a favorable business climate. The bonus? It always feels good to do good, build connections and have a net positive effect.However, for most businesses, none of this happens by accident. In an effort to ensure profitability, it can be easy to forget how important every business is to its employees as well as to the community and society at large. And it’s not just the responsibility of large corporations. Small businesses have always had an integral role in shaping society. In fact, they currently generate 44% of economic activity. That includes your business. So what can you do to create the type of social impact you’d like to have? A good place to start is by understanding exactly what social impact is and why it’s so important.

What Is Social Impact?

Social impact is the effect that your company has on its employees, customers, business partners and the community as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR). It includes the efforts, activities and policies, deliberate or not, that the business makes to address critical social injustices and challenges. These challenges might include, for example:

  • Economic disparity
  • Inequalities due to gender, race, sexual orientation, physical abilities, etc
  • Contamination of air and water
  • Depletion of natural resources and energy
  • Stagnation of economic growth and job opportunities
  • Hunger
  • Poor health care
  • Disparities in educational opportunities

Of course, there are more. These are just some of the types of impacts businesses may seek to address.In addition to actions taken, social impact can also be the result of the failure to act. In this way, business social impact can be negative. But for many companies, probably yours included, it is an essential ethical responsibility to make a positive difference. The question is how.

How Your Business Can Have Bigger Impact

As mentioned, positive social impact doesn’t happen by accident. Companies that make a difference do so by including deliberate action within their strategies. Your organization can get started by defining the areas where you can have the greatest impact and that are aligned with the company’s mission and vision. Then it’s up to leadership to create opportunities that inspire the company and its employees to participate in philanthropic and community-oriented efforts.

4 Ways Your Business Can Have Social Impact

Here are four ways that your company can maximize its social impact. Most socially responsible companies will prioritize one over the others. But the most successful will include elements of each. They are all important to the proliferation of prosperous communities worldwide.

1. Philanthropy and Giving Back

It’s one thing to donate to a worthy cause here and there. It’s quite another to implement a philanthropy program that promotes social value. A well-designed approach signals to employees that the company shares their values while elevating your corporate giving to a whole new level and providing opportunities to community residents. You can capture the hearts and the imagination of your employees by soliciting active involvement, providing matching donations and encouraging volunteer support. A holistic program aims to improve the community and enhance the company’s future viability. Philanthropy can become a vital part of your business success.

2. Exhibit Environmental Social Responsibility

More companies are becoming environmentally aware. Green initiatives save money and the environment while putting the business ahead of the regulatory requirements that will surely come in the near future. Many consumers, as well, want companies to reduce their carbon footprint and be better stewards of world resources. This isn’t just limited to corporations with large energy requirements. It includes small businesses of every type that can make an effort to reduce, recycle and reuse. In doing so, companies may also find ways to innovate and create better internal processes.

3. Support the Local Community

No company can dominate its market in the long run without community support. It may not be feasible to sponsor every soccer team that asks, but most successful businesses recognize a responsibility to be a contributing member of the community. Thriving companies create jobs and generate tax revenue. They make the area a more attractive place to work, live and raise a family. The relationship is symbiotic, however. There could be no business without a healthy and supportive community. Remember, too, that one of the main reasons your business does well is because the business community itself is vital and even competitive. No business wants to be one of the crowd, but remember that if you have no competitors, you may not have a viable business model for long. In fact, complementary businesses help increase your customer base. Further, competition might actually increase your chances of long-term success.

4. Exhibit Internal Social Responsibility

It’s not enough to simply provide jobs within the community. Social responsibility means that employers carefully consider the company’s ethical practices and the impact that these practices may have on the broader society. This means demonstrating fair and equitable treatment, not just to the customers that buy its products and services but to its own employees. Research shows that employees who are treated well can engender loyal customers.Virgin Airlines founder and entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, for one, agrees: “If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”Companies exhibit internal corporate responsibility by implementing policies that go beyond legal requirements. Businesses that are known for creating a great culture do much more. Policies that promote sustainability demonstrate a visible and deeply held commitment to:

  • Pay fair wages in all of the communities and countries that support the company
  • Treat employees equitably
  • Encourage work-life balance
  • Support physically and mentally healthy habits
  • Hire diversity and promote diverse pipeline strategies

Beyond profit, these companies recognize that equitable internal practices are vital to their public image and, hence, to their sustained success.

Benefits of Making an Impact

Increasingly, both consumers and communities alike expect businesses to contribute to societal well-being. Even without this expectation, however, there are many reasons to maximize your company’s social impact. These benefits warrant a complete article on their own, but, briefly, they include:

  • Reducing social risks that may impact the business in the long run, for example, the decline in the availability of critical technology skills.
  • Improving employee productivity, engagement and loyalty by cultivating happier employees who share the company’s sense of purpose.
  • Attract the 60% of customers who increasingly prefer products offered by environmentally friendly, sustainably sourced and ethically responsible companies.
  • Enhance the company’s reputation, its attractiveness to investors and access to capital markets.
  • Support sustainability by helping to promote a healthier marketplace.
  • Gain an early competitive advantage by addressing issues that may eventually come under regulatory control, for example, the overuse of nonrenewable resources.

All of these benefits, individually and jointly, serve to greatly enhance your company’s profitability and long-term sustainability.

Maximize Your Impact

Clearly, the choices that we make today will impact future generations for years to come. It’s both a privilege and a responsibility to be part of the decision-making process. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming, however. One of the easiest ways to get a jumpstart on your commitment to maximizing social impact is to implement a philanthropy program. It should be thoughtfully designed, but that doesn’t mean it must be difficult to put in place. Groundswell can help. We turn charitable giving into an employee benefit that will not only benefit the community, but it will also boost your bottom line. Contact us for more information.

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Unlocking Philanthropy: A Ready-to-Use Corporate Giving Policy for Modern Businesses

Sample Corporate Giving Policy You Can Use Today

In today’s socially conscious environment, more companies than ever are recognizing the value of corporate philanthropy. Not only can a robust giving policy boost a brand’s image and reputation, but it can also play a pivotal role in community development and global betterment. If your company is considering the establishment of a formal corporate giving policy or refining its existing strategy, this sample policy might be the perfect starting point for you.

Download Sample Policy

Pillars of a Strong Corporate Giving Policy

Corporate giving programs range from employer donation matching programs to full blown corporate social responsibility programs with grantmaking and volunteerism.  Many companies find somewhere in the middle that aligns with their size, budget, geographic presence and most importantly company values and commitment to diversity and inclusion. But what truly makes a corporate giving policy stand out? Let’s delve into the key features, from donation matching to the strategic use of platforms like Groundswell.

1. Donation Matching: Doubling the Impact

One of the most effective tools in a giving policy is donation matching. This is where companies match employee donations to eligible non-profits, effectively doubling the contribution. Such programs not only amplify the impact but also motivate employees to participate, knowing their chosen cause will receive twice the support.

2. Charitable Stipends: Encouraging Employee Choice

Charitable stipends are allowances given to employees to donate to a non-profit of their choice. This not only encourages a culture of giving but also empowers employees to support causes they’re passionate about. The stipends can be a fixed amount annually or can vary based on the employee’s role or tenure.

3. Dollars for Doers: Volunteering Translated to Contributions

“Dollars for Doers” programs convert volunteer hours into monetary donations. When employees volunteer their time for a cause, the company makes a donation equivalent to the hours spent. This fosters a culture of hands-on involvement and ensures that both time and money are being donated to valuable initiatives.

4. Corporate Grants: Sowing Seeds for Bigger Change

Beyond individual employee contributions, companies can set aside a dedicated fund for corporate grants. These grants can be given to non-profits, research initiatives, or community projects that align with the company’s CSR objectives. Such grants can lead to substantial, long-term changes and foster strong partnerships with community leaders and organizations.

Why Choose Groundswell for Your Giving Initiatives?

Incorporating these elements into a giving policy requires streamlined management, transparency, and ease of execution. This is where platforms like Groundswell come into the picture.

Groundswell offers an efficient and affordable solution for companies aiming to elevate their philanthropic endeavors. Here’s why it’s the ideal choice:

  • User-Friendly Interface: Groundswell’s platform is designed for both companies and employees, ensuring smooth navigation and straightforward donation processes.
  • Versatility: Whether it’s donation matching, handling charitable stipends, or managing corporate grants, Groundswell offers solutions tailored to each company’s unique needs.
  • Cost-Effective: Groundswell provides a comprehensive suite of tools at competitive prices, ensuring that more of your money goes towards the cause rather than platform fees.
  • Transparency: Track donations, monitor employee involvement, and generate detailed reports to measure the impact—all in one place.

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An effective corporate giving policy is a blend of structure, employee engagement, and impactful contributions. By incorporating elements like donation matching, charitable stipends, “Dollars for Doers,” and corporate grants, businesses can create a ripple effect of positive change. And with platforms like Groundswell, executing these initiatives becomes not just feasible but also highly efficient and cost-effective.

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5 Tips to Boost Engagement & Impact on Giving Tuesday

Leverage GivingTuesday to boost generosity

Every November, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving is known as GivingTuesday, which often serves as the unofficial start of end-of-year giving campaigns. This comes on the heels of holiday shopping deals on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. It is a worldwide phenomenon, inspiring millions to lean into the end-of-year holiday spirit with generosity and compassion. For many charities, GivingTuesday has become their biggest day for donations – and can help resource their ability to have an even greater impact in the year ahead.

For companies, GivingTuesday and the end-of-year giving season offers an opportunity to double down on their commitment to social responsibility, strengthen relationships with employees, and boost their impact in the community and broader world.

At Groundswell, we partner with companies all across the country to design and launch GivingTuesday campaigns – leveraging our easy-to-use platform that makes it easy for employees to participate and send donations to the causes and charities that they care most about. Below are some best practices to boost engagement and inspire generosity during the giving season.

1. Make Giving Easy:

A lot of giving platforms out there make it incredibly hard to donate. Some don’t have all 1.5 million IRS-approved charities listed. Others require employees to navigate through a web of intranet or sharepoint sites to find the giving program landing page. And others require that HR is notified of any donations an employee wants to make. At Groundswell – we are committed to removing all of the friction, and ensuring that employees can find charities easily, through a platform that is accessible from the palm of their hand, so they can give whenever they want to.

2. Launch a GivingTuesday Match Campaign:

Through Groundswell you can customize and launch a special GivingTuesday match campaign in a matter of minutes. Simply pick the nonprofits to include in the special campaign, select the start and end-date for the campaign, and then determine the match – 2x, 3x – along with any overall budget limits, then you’re done!

3. Boost engagement by involving ERGs:

Share nonprofit recommendations from Employee Resource Groups to provide inspiration around causes and nonprofits that matter to your employees. You can feature these nonprofits on dedicated ERG Corporate Spotlights and Campaigns that will be visible to all employees on their Groundswell dashboard.

4. Surprise (and Delight) Employees With A Gift to Give:

Consider sending a surprise “gift to give” to reward those already participating in your giving program (and to incentivize others to enroll). These gifts might be used to further maximize impact through the existing campaign, or to donate to other nonprofits your employees care about. Groundswell’s custom gift feature allows companies to easily schedule and send gifts with little to no administrative burden.

5. Level up with Volunteer Matching:

Groundswell’s Volunteer Matching program – sometimes known as Dollars for Doers – recognizes that some employees may not have funds to contribute, but have time – and rewards them in the same way. It’s an inclusive approach that invites everyone to participate in GivingTuesday, even those who may not be able to donate their own funds.

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12 Employee Benefits Survey Questions Modern Companies Should Ask

In today's business environment, having the right and highest performing talent is more critical than ever. With benefits packages playing a vital role in these decisions, how can companies truly gauge their effectiveness? By initiating regular employee benefits surveys.

Scroll down for a free survey template below.

Let's dive in to the importance of asking the following questions.

Is our workforce satisfied with the current employee benefits package?

Gaining insights from "how satisfied are you with our company’s benefits package?" can offer companies a quick pulse on the effectiveness of their benefits. A dip in satisfaction might signal a need for re-evaluation, especially if you're looking to maximize your budget.

How comprehensive are the employee benefits we offer?

Do employees feel that the organization covers a wide range of their needs? Asking, "do you feel our benefits package is comprehensive in its offering?" can shed light on any potential gaps in coverage.

Are we showing true commitment to Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion through our benefits?

Are the company's efforts in promoting DE&I resonating? This can be gauged by asking if the benefits genuinely support diversity and inclusion. If they aren't, here's an opportunity to collect ideas directly from your employees.

Read more about how to make sure your giving program is equitable and inclusive.

Do our benefits reflect our company culture and values?

The question, "do you feel our benefits package supports our cultural values?" will highlight any potential discrepancies in practicing what you're preaching.

Did you know? Two-thirds of employees say it’s important for a company to align to their values.

Are we catering to the needs of a remote or multi-location workforce?

With remote work on the rise, is the company adapting its benefits accordingly? It's essential to find out if employees feel supported, regardless of their work setting.

Would employees recommend the company based on our benefits?

This is an easy one to skip, but it's a great question to ask. See how influential your benefits package is for employee referrals. Determining if employees would advocate for the company based on its benefits can be a key metric for recruitment.

How do specific benefit categories fare?

By querying satisfaction levels across various benefits – physical health, social impact, mental health, financial health, and fringe benefits – can companies discern which areas are thriving and which need enhancement?

What additional benefits do employees desire?

Is there a particular benefit that could make a difference in employee satisfaction and retention? Discovering this can be as straightforward as asking, "if you could choose one benefit not currently offered, what would it be?"

If your workforce desires a more meaningful benefit, see why decentralizing your corporate philanthropy strategy can achieve greater impact at scale.

How often should I send an employee survey about our benefits?

While every business has their own set of unique needs, conducing a quarterly employee survey at minimum can help you get a pulse check.

There will be some natural and unplanned peaks in valleys throughout the year that can drastically affect employee morale and company culture. By proactively seeking feedback through surveys, companies can foster a culture of continuous improvement, ensuring they remain at the forefront of employee satisfaction.

What are some affordable benefit options we can provide employees?

Corporate matching or giving programs can be a low-cost addition to your benefit offering that supports your employees’ unique passions and perspectives through charitable giving and boosts your company’s commitment to social impact.  Groundswell offers a comprehensive solution with a simple implementation and nearly zero administration burden.

[Free Template] Employee Benefits Survey Questions

  1. How satisfied are you with our company’s benefits package?
  2. Do you feel our benefits package is comprehensive in its offering?
  3. Do you feel our benefits package supports our cultural values?
  4. Do you feel our benefits package supports our commitment to Diversity & Inclusion?
  5. Do you feel our benefits package supports our remote or multi-location workforce?
  6. How likely are you to recommend applying based on our benefits package?
  7. How satisfied are you with our physical health benefits (i.e. health care, sick leave, etc)?
  8. How satisfied are you with our social impact benefits (i.e. corporate matching, volunteering, etc)?
  9. How satisfied are you with our mental health benefits (i.e. vacation time, EAP, etc)?
  10. How satisfied are you with our financial health benefits? (i.e. retirement, student loan assistance, etc)
  11. How satisfied are you with our fringe benefits and perks? (i.e. fitness subsidies, stipends, etc)
  12. If you could choose one benefit not currently offered, what would it be?
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