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Living and Giving:

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Why Your Charitable Giving Isn’t—and Shouldn’t Be—About “Politics”

By Leo Ramirez Posted on May 30, 2017

It’s a tough time right now. The current political climate is intense and heated. We understand that you have deep, personal beliefs on many issues. We do too! And guess what? So do your employees.

You and your employees may disagree with each other, even strongly, but that is okay. It’s important for your company to accommodate diverse political views, for reasons we talk about below.

How do you do that? One way is through an employee giving program that allows employees to choose who gets their donations. Here's how:

Your Company is Diverse


The fact is, you may not even realize that you and your employees disagree. Given the tense political climate of the time, many people choose not speak about their political beliefs at work.

Empower your employees to give to causes they care about. Yes, that absolutely includes causes that you disagree with, even vehemently.

Why? Because an employee giving program is not intended to be a benefit for your favorite charities.

It is a benefit for your employees. It is a way for you to enable your employees to make a difference in the world in a way that is meaningful to them. It’s not about you or your politics.

When your employees know that they, and their co-workers, can both give to causes that matter to them personally – it can actually bridge the divide a little. No one is being given preference by their employer. You are showing employees that you support them living by their personal beliefs, even if your beliefs differ a lot.

If you want to learn more about your employees—specifically how many of them are leaving your workplace, you can play with our attrition calculator here.

America is a Melting Pot…

As a melting pot, we are a nation of people with a diversity of beliefs and political views. Companies should acknowledge and embrace that. We all co-exist with one another every day anyway.

Giving your employees tools that let them give to whichever charities and causes they want is one way to reflect that. After all, "a thousand points of light" illuminate better than one.

Your Employees' Choices Don’t Necessarily Reflect on Your Brand


We understand that your company and your brand may want to stay unaffiliated from political views. Or, on the other hand, you may want to ensure your brand is strongly aligned with right or left wing political platforms.

But your employees have their own beliefs, which may or may not align with yours or the company’s official stance. Whom your employees choose to give to does not need to reflect on your company specifically.

Let’s consider this fictional example scenario:

Everyone knows where Hobby Lobby stands politically. They are an outspokenly religious company, but they do not require their employees to be outspokenly religious, or even to be religious at all.

If they were to implement a corporate social responsibility program that empowers employees to give to whomever they chose, think of how powerful that would be.

It would essentially be saying, “We understand that your views aren’t our views. However, we still appreciate you. We value that you work here and what you bring to the company. We know it’s okay to have different opinions and still work towards a common goal of creating a successful company.”

In a Way—All Charities Could be Considered Political

The fact is that charities often exist to fill in the blanks between government and business.

A charity identifies a gap, a vulnerability or place where they recognize a need and attempt to fix it. Inherently, that alone could be seen as a criticism of the government or political structure that allowed that gap to exist in the first place.

Additionally, many charitable organizations are founded out of a sense of compassion or morality that is rooted in the founder's deeply held beliefs. These beliefs may be religious, conservative, or liberal, but they are not apolitical.

Saying you don’t want employees to give to political causes makes your employee giving program a moot point.


When you implement an employee giving program, it’s not about you or your political beliefs.

It’s about empowering your employees.

It’s about sharing a common core value of wanting to make a difference in the world and helping your employees do just that.

With a corporate social responsibility tool, you may find that you have employees giving to causes that are diametrically opposed to one another.

If that reflects politically on your company at all, it shows that even in this intense political climate, we can coexist. We can support things that matter to us deeply. We can work side by side to achieve company goals, even when we hold differing political views.

We can be co-workers and friends, although we may disagree.

And that is something you and your company can be proud of, no matter where you stand on the political spectrum.

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Workplace Culture, 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.

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