“The pandemic changed how we think about work and many workers are no longer satisfied with jobs that only offer a paycheck. An ingrained culture of service in a company gives employees something deeper to connect to.”
Corporate social responsibility shouldn’t feel like homework or exist only in the holiday season. Now, as we tend to find our aspirational New Year’s resolutions fading away, is the perfect time for New York’s businesses and nonprofits to recommit to partnerships that engage whole companies from the top down. New Yorkers are still in need and people are putting more trust than ever in businesses over other institutions to tackle today’s biggest global issues. As two leaders who participated in such a collaboration, we have reflected on how organizations like ours can continue to make meaningful change together. River Capital Group has an existing donor relationship with nonprofit A Chance In Life, and recently the firm’s employees were invited to volunteer at a food distribution event at the organization’s recently-opened Staten Island site. It was rewarding for volunteers to interact with local families and see their donations’ impact with their own eyes. It reminded us of the importance of partnerships that engage businesses at every level.The so-called “Great Resignation” has been a hot topic for months. The pandemic changed how we think about work and many workers are no longer satisfied with jobs that only offer a paycheck. An ingrained culture of service in a company gives employees something deeper to connect to. It builds morale and even boosts retention. One survey found that 90 percent of employees who work at companies with a strong commitment to impact report that they feel more inspired, motivated and loyal. This must be a part of the road to New York’s economic recovery.
When volunteering is woven into a company’s DNA and opportunities are regularly made available, people will naturally participate. After deciding to volunteer with A Chance In Life, a number of River Capital employees expressed such positive feedback that many staff members who hadn’t attended wished they had been there and expressed that they were eager to join next time.
Monetary corporate donations are important to nonprofits, but there is so much more to be gained by both parties with relationships that go deeper. When someone volunteers at a food pantry, for instance, they check their title at the door. Everyone is a member of a team that has come together with the shared goal to serve their community. Staff get to connect with a larger cause and to each other. And it is a chance for nonprofits to benefit from extra hands and a larger network.
In-person volunteering isn’t the only way to engage employees in social impact. Donation drives in the form of friendly competitions can get people fired up while they make a difference. For instance, challenging each department to donate the most toys for a toy drive gets employees working as a team and excited to give back. Gamification like this can increase employee engagement by 60 percent.
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