Confession. I am a Type A personality and if you know me, that wouldn’t shock you. For those who “suffer” from this disease, it should come as no surprise that I decided to take on the challenge of creating a series of best practices for corporate philanthropy and answer questions that are industry standards about corporate giving or employee volunteerism. I’m doing this because while the information is out there, it isn’t very easy to find or in one succinct place. And it’s my philosophy that once you know what the best practice is, you can then decide if it’s the best fit for your company when devising a corporate giving plan.
Our first best practice blog was on the right amount of money to give to charities. While every company isn’t able to give as much financially, they can, however, offer a really good employee engagement program as a benefit to their staff.
Best Practice #2: Industry Standards for Employee Engagement Programs
An employee engagement program comes in several forms. Some companies give time off to their employees during the workweek to volunteer (VPTO) while others host company-wide volunteer days. Other companies offer matching gifts or dollars-for-doers programs and some very progressive companies participate in volunteer assignments. A company needs to decide which employee engagement efforts best fit their company culture. What I can offer are some best practices for each, starting with Volunteer Paid Time Off (VPTO).
Volunteer Paid Time Off (VPTO):
If you are going to allow your employees time off during the work week to volunteer, the best practice or industry standard is for a company to give 16 hours of volunteer paid time off for the entire year. In a presentation I saw last year, Ford Motor Company now allows all of their 54,000 employees 16 hours of paid time off per year to volunteer in the communities they serve. For some companies, this may be a shock but this is what the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy and the Boston Center for Corporate Citizenship are suggesting.
Companies here in south Florida have embraced this program but have tailored it to their business model. For example, JM Family Enterprises, one of the largest automotive companies in the U.S. currently allows for eight (8) hours of volunteer paid time off while ABB Concise, the largest distributor of soft contact lenses, offers employees four (4) hours of VPTO.
If your company decides to offer VPTO, consider tracking employees’ efforts so that a company can quantify the impact it’s having in the community. Companies with a large employee base may consider investing in a software system like MicroEdge/AngelPoints, Volunteer Hub, Cyber Grants or JK Group that can manage these efforts. Or if that company has a stellar IT department, they may be able to create an internal online system. Smaller companies with less employees can have staff turn in forms with their volunteer times; as you can imagine this is an easy and cost effective way to manage these efforts, but may take a little more “man power.”
There are several ways to engage your workforce and next time, I’ll discuss what the best practice for a dollars-for-doers program. Stay tuned.
Where there any other questions on this topic that you would like to see addressed?