<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1780411755610331&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Sign in

Living and Giving:

Stories And Causes You Care About

Aligning Your Corporate Giving Programs with Millennials

By Leo Ramirez Posted on December 13, 2016

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, millennials are flooding into the workforce.

You know what that means? You will need to tailor parts of your company’s benefits to them.

It’s no secret that company culture is key to attracting like-minded individuals—and if millennials are going to be new additions to your team (hint: they will be), then you’ll need to give them what they want. And that is this:

In the battle between inspire versus aspire, millennials and generation Y will choose inspire. To them, it’s one thing to offer monetary gains—but it’s a better thing if you offer something far more meaningful than anything money can just buy.

Charitable causes that are near and dear to these individuals are worth living for. Ergo, your corporate giving programs need to change.

Here’s what we mean:

How Corporate Giving Programs Look

Thanks to clear benefits of corporate social responsibility, corporate giving teams are expanding and companies are allocating bigger budgets for giving strategies. Even with growing budgets and resources, however, many corporate giving programs have remained essentially unchanged and fall into one of three types.

Employee Giving

In this model, employees are encouraged to donate to a company chosen charity during a specific giving campaign. Often corporations will partner with a large, well-known charity and set a company-wide goal. In this model, employee giving is not part of the company culture year-round, but an annual or seasonal event.

For millennials, who as a generation tend to value helping others in need, occasional giving campaigns probably aren't going to be fulfilling. Another downfall of these employee giving campaigns is that they rely solely on employees to meet the goals. Rather than fostering a culture of generous community engagement, employees can feel pressured to participate by their co-workers and supervisors. While employees appreciate the opportunity to give, most people dislike feeling compelled to give.

Company Giving

If employees are turned off by feeling compelled to give, why not just have the company give a large donation instead?Many corporations have and will continue to use this corporate giving strategy. For example, in the wake of a natural disaster, a large Fortune 500 company may make a $20,000 donation to the American Red Cross. While this has the benefit of not making employees feel pressured to give, it has the downfall of not including them. Corporate giving strategies work best when the employees are actively engaged. When employees aren't involved in either the giving process or determining which causes will benefit, they will likely feel estranged from, not engaged in, corporate giving programs.

Matching Gifts

According to the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP), nine out of ten corporations offer to match employee charitable giving. This corporate giving strategy is so popular, that it has come to be an expected benefit for many millennials. And it seems, on the surface, to solve the concerns of employee only or company only giving. Employees are engaged and feel their donations will have a greater impact as a result of the matching gift. This can encourage more employees to participate who may have felt a small gift wouldn’t really make a difference. Unfortunately, most of these matching programs have a pretty significant downfall: they are extremely limiting. Most of the time, with corporate gift matching programs, employees can choose to contribute to one of four or five charities. Regardless of the amount companies are willing to match, if your employees’ preferred charity is not available, they are less likely to participate.

How Corporate Giving Programs Should Look

Freedom of choice

Let employees give to causes and charities that matter to them. Charitable giving is a way to help others in need and improve the world in which we live.

Some people are drawn to causes that help animals, others to causes that foster research on diseases, and others are drawn to issues of social change. If you offer employees the option to give to causes that are near and dear to them, they will be more likely to give and feel more fulfilled doing it.

Fee Free

When your employees donate through corporate giving programs, they want to know that their money goes directly to the causes they value. No matter how small or large the gift, every single penny should go to the causes. Don’t discourage giving by using a strategy where donations get eaten up by fees. Keep your corporate giving fee free.


Mobile technology has given us the freedom to connect, shop, work, and more on the go – no matter where we are. Corporate giving shouldn’t be any different. An intuitive, simple mobile app is a powerful tool that every corporate giving strategy should include.


If your corporate giving strategy is limiting employee engagement, it’s time to make a change. When you make it easy for employees to make fee-free donations to causes they value, your company and your community benefit. At Encast, we are committed to providing companies with the tools to make that happen.


Millennials, Benefits, CSR

Author: Leo Ramirez

Leo is the co-founder and CEO of Encast, an organization dedicated to improving the way CSR professions create, manage, and measure CSR programs. Leo is passionate about the role that culture plays in business success. Leo has launched and managed social ventures, lead multi-disciplinary teams, and built solid relationships with civic and corporate leaders. His 25-year career has spanned executive management, business development, consulting, nonprofit management, technical support and engineering positions with Southwest Key Programs, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Coremetrics, Trilogy and Apple.

Subscribe to our Blog

Stay connected each week with stories sent straight to your inbox.