Employee Giving & Volunteering: Emerging Trends

Check out the latest report from Benevity that provides a deeper look at how their clients, and the employees of those clients, are directing their time, talent and treasure.

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Benevity, a leader in global corporate social responsibility and employee engagement software, recently published a report based on their clients' data from March 1 to April 30, 2020 - the thick of the pandemic.

The data has revealed some key trends in the corporate response to this crisis. We'll share those trends below but recommend diving into their report, Leading with Purpose in Extraordinary Times, to review the details of how these trends come to life.

  1. Business has been quick to respond, despite economic uncertainty and a looming recession. During times of natural or human-made disasters, businesses understand they have a role to play in supporting communities around the world. This pandemic has proven no different. Companies have been quick to provide support while looking inward to develop ways in which to support their impacted employees and to promote opportunities for their employees to safely get involved.
  2. Community investment budgets are being sustained or boosted. Cheers to this great news! We know that often CSR and engagement budgets take influence and results to maintain year over year. However, again in times of crisis, most companies rise to the occasion and may double-down on their relief budget, often creatively finding the financial capital and in-kind contributions that are needed.
  3. Matching donations is the most common response. Even in our own observations, this trend was apparent. Companies were quick to promote their matching gifts program or raise their corporate match especially during the first weeks of this pandemic when other traditional ways of giving back were on hold.
  4. Volunteering has declined, but virtual volunteering is on the rise. Also true in POL's observations! Never before have we seen this level of interest in virtual volunteering. Companies are in the midst of integrating virtual volunteer opportunities into their programs and those that already had were one step ahead of the game. This has been an exciting time for nonprofits that offer their volunteer opportunities virtually, but has been eye-opening to those that do not. 
  5. The types of causes people and companies are choosing to support has shifted. In response to the massive disruption this pandemic has had on our education systems, public health services, employment and food security programs, many companies and their employees are changing where they offer financial support. The report lays out some great examples of how companies have made the shift to support these pressing social programs. Also interesting to us at POL - the number of companies that are relaxing some of their volunteer guidelines to allow for "small acts of kindness" or "being neighborly" without requiring alignment with 501c3 organizations in the U.S.

I highly encourage you to check out Benevity's Leading with Purpose in Extraordinary Times report to fully see how these five trends have emerged and how they might influence the future of corporate citizenship.

Katy Elder

Vice President, Business Innovation, Points of Light

A member of the Points of Light team since November 2012, Katy serves as Vice President, Business Innovation. She brings with her nearly 20 years of experience in employee volunteerism, community affairs and internal communications. After leading Points of Light’s corporate consulting practice for six years, she is now responsible for developing content and innovative learning opportunities to advance the corporate citizenship sector.
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