Guest post by Dr. Steve Francis, first published in ProBono Australia
Employee engagement and the merging of corporate social responsibility is a growing commercial movement fostering increased emphasis on positive workplace culture. All the “buzzwords” coming together to basically support the idea that we are living in a time of shared management, whereby employees push up, influencing senior management on expectations of the workplace and better ways of working.
Companies are becoming increasingly aware that they have more to offer the world than just their primary products or services. Nurturing the idea that work can be a place to give can generate more than a temporary buzz around the watercooler. It has become evident that the relationship between the way employees feel about their company’s involvement in the community and their attitude to their workplace is linked.
An excellent example of a very giving local workplace is FrontStream’s client SA Power networks. SA Power Networks Employee Foundation is a charitable trust that has been in existence since September 2006, as a way for SA Power Networks’ employees to assist the South Australian community through giving. According to their website the foundation’s purpose is: “To enable employees, their families and friends, to make a positive contribution to the lives of the people in our community.”
In December 2017 SA Power networks employee foundation donated it’s 2 millionth dollar to South Australian charities and the key beneficiary of the foundation is Cancer Council SA’s Flinders Lodge, among others such as Hutt St Centre for the homeless, Mary Potter Hospice, and the Women and Children’s hospital in Adelaide being a few notable recipients. They do this through volunteering, making donations of money, goods and services as well as corporate fundraising. Corporate fundraising is huge at SA Power Networks and becoming more popular among other private organisations.
What is corporate fundraising?
Viewed as a team building exercise by management and usually driven and managed by employees, corporate fundraising often refers to groups of like-minded employees banding together as a peer to peer fundraising team.
The results of this type of fundraising are proving to be powerful and meaningful. When more people get involved in the corporate fundraising team’s campaign as donors or participants, more dollars can be raised. This is a fresh approach to adding value to workplace culture and engaging employees in the process by creating a new way to connect with colleagues and enjoying the group motivation of helping people in great need.
Some popular methods of corporate fundraising include peer to peer events such as “mega fun runs” seen across the country whereby large numbers of runners and walkers can participate in third party fundraising events for a cause. The team building happens in the lead up to events as challenge events demand a commitment to training as well as fundraising and advocacy, and the win is measured by successfully completing the event as well as raising a tall tally for charity.
Best practice for giving at work goes much further than the corporate team peer to peer events, it’s workplace giving, corporate gift matching, volunteering days and even workplace foundations. Many high profile corporate workplaces have been giving for decades but the scope and value placed on this gift is becoming more important to more employees. There are searchable lists of the most socially responsible workplaces, flagging them as the best places to work because of their giving practice and strategy.
We have a long way to go but the momentum is building as fundraising becomes an anytime, anywhere affair. At FrontStream we work with hundreds of charities and corporates across the country and overseas so we notice shifts in giving culture. Giving at work has the greatest potential to serve the greatest needs in the community and as mentioned it’s a mix of giving methods that create the greatest impact. Surely this is an accessible idea as we commute to work and all want to feel better about what we do, so we urge you to plant the seed and spread the word because you may be surprised at how many of your colleagues are keen to give too.