Is charitable activity the new alternative form of recognition in the workplace?


This year has seen individuals and communities truly appreciate the significance of charitable giving. When the coronavirus pandemic began, the country’s most vulnerable people were relying on emergency donations as food banks across the UK saw record spikes in the distribution of food parcels.

Is charitable activity the new alternative form of recognition in the workplace?

Hundreds of thousands of people set about making face coverings, scrubs and face shields from their own homes, as healthcare services suffered life-threatening shortages of PPE. And 99 year old Captain Sir Thomas Moore, stole the nation’s hearts with his humbling sponsored walk to raise emergency funds of over £32m for our NHS keyworkers.

These examples go to show that even seemingly small gestures of charity can often be a lifeline for the communities who rely on the nation’s support. So, as we head into the last quarter of 2020 and with the importance of charitable giving on all our minds, why not take a look at some ideas you can implement in your organisation. From volunteer days, to payroll giving, and charity partnerships, charitable giving is a great way to attract and retain your employees, and also show recognition.

Volunteer days

Volunteer days give your employees the opportunity to share their interests and expertise with a chosen charity. Employees can volunteer during working hours, taking the pressure off using their personal time to get involved with charity work. This means employees get extra hours away from their desk and can offer their time and knowledge to others.

Wendy Cummins, community manager at Simplyhealth, explains that volunteering not only helps charities, but also improves colleague wellbeing and engagement: “Volunteering is hugely important to charities as many would not survive without the public’s help. And for organisations, it offers colleagues the chance to be active in their communities, and help understand the challenges charities face. Volunteering generates a huge sense of achievement and helps colleagues share their own expertise, and develop new skills.”

Charity partnerships

According to the Charities Aid Foundation: “A charity partnership is a collaboration between a business and a charity who share a passion and commitment to sustainable social change”. Choosing the right charity is key to how your employees engage with charitable activities in the workplace. It’s important that your chosen charity has core values which align with your organisation’s own values. This will help employees connect with the charity; whether they’re taking part in fundraising activities and events, or volunteering for the cause.

A well-nurtured charity partnership will help bring charitable giving to life in any organisation. For example, during the first few months of lockdown, ourcolleagues took part in the 30 minutes movement challenge for the Mental Health Foundation. Research shows that physical activity can be good for our mental health, so for every half an hour of movement completed by a colleague, we donated £10 to the charity.

Give As You Earn (GAYE)

Give As Your Earn (GAYE) is a scheme that enables your employees to give to a charity straight from their gross salary. They also get to donate more money for less as the tax that would normally be paid to the government can be gifted to the charity too. 

At Simplyhealth, we match fund up to £50 per month and pay for admin charges on behalf of our colleagues.

Many charities rely on the regular income from payroll giving, and it’s also a great way for employees to easily and regularly support a cause that is close to their heart.

Match funding

Match funding can also be a huge incentive for employees to take part in charitable activity, and it also helps workplaces to recognise the fundraising efforts of their staff. Research conducted in 2019 by the Institute of Fundraising showed that more than a third of people (36.5%) only gave to a fundraising campaign because it was match funded. Your organisation could offer to match fund on a pound-for-pound basis, or specify the amount you’re able to give.

The feel-good factor

Alternative forms of employee recognition can sometimes be overlooked by organisations. But the feel-good factor of charity work - whether donating money, volunteering, or taking part in fundraising activities - should not be underestimated.

Deloitte’s 2017 Volunteerism Survey revealed that 89% of employees think organisations that sponsor volunteer activities offer a better overall working environment. In addition, 70% believe volunteer activities are more likely to boost staff morale than company-sponsored happy hours, with more than three-quarters saying volunteering is essential to employee wellbeing. 

The benefits of charitable activities can be felt across a whole organisation, from attracting new employees, boosting morale, and fostering wellbeing.

So now would be a good time for any organisation to review their current employee recognition programme and to consider how charitable giving, and along with other forms of recognition, can play an important role in engaging and retaining employees.  

Why not take a look at Simplyhealth’s community impact initiative Simplythrive? Our goal is to build a sustainable business that helps people and communities to thrive. This includes assisting local and national healthcare charities that support adults and children to access healthcare.  

This article is provided by Simplyhealth.


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