By: Peter Dudley, Community Health Charities Board Member
Do employees care about your company’s philanthropic priorities? My guess is some do, but if you exclusively build your volunteer programs around your company’s social impact goals, you’re missing out on a huge engagement opportunity.
I see tech companies focusing on STEM, banks working on financial literacy, manufacturers and retailers supporting sustainability through their supply chains. All these make sense when the company is mobilizing its philanthropic and brand resources to achieve social impact goals, but too often companies treat their employees as just another corporate resource to be mobilized.
You may have noticed that not all people are exactly the same. Our upbringing, our life experiences, our cultural influences, our talents, and how we identify ourselves make every person unique. Working for a bank does not mean you are naturally excited about teaching budgeting for small businesses. Being a chip designer does not mean you are naturally excited about helping high school students build robots.
Yet that’s how many volunteer programs are designed—to mobilize employees in support of the impact goal. It’s an easy sell to the C Suite, and it’s also how many nonprofit partners want the programs designed.
Certainly, there’s room for that kind of programming, but you also need to empower your employees to find and support the causes that are important to them. Here are three easy ways to do that:
1) Offer time off for volunteering: Companies that don’t offer paid community service hours are missing a huge recognition opportunity. Community service time is different from PTO because it can only be used for time spent working with a nonprofit. A typical program offers 16 hours a year or more.
2) Create volunteer councils, run by and for employees: Encouraging employees to work together in designing and running local team volunteer events results in higher engagement. It can also build leadership skills and create a great networking opportunity for employees.
3) Recognize independent volunteering: An employee’s hours volunteering as a school crossing guard may not be relevant to your company’s social impact goals, but employees feel great when you recognize them for the volunteer community work they do. And, rather than a typical dollars-for-doers program which is little more than a transaction, recognize volunteerism with e-cards, internal social media mentions, or flexible company grant dollars the employee can direct to a nonprofit they choose.
Peter Dudley is an author and nationally recognized expert in corporate social responsibility, marketing, and employee engagement. He’s worked the last 17 years in CSR running employee giving and volunteerism for Wells Fargo, where his workplace campaign was ranked #1 nine years in a row by United Way Worldwide. Before joining Wells Fargo, Peter held various roles in high tech startups, from Marketing Director to software development to community management.
Peter is honored to serve on the Community Health Charities national board of directors as well as the Charities@Work Corporate Advisory Council, which he chaired in 2015 and 2016. He has also served on and chaired United Way Worldwide’s Global Corporate Leadership Council.
Peter lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and is the proud father of both an Eagle Scout and a transgender daughter.
It’s that time of year again– the NCAA basketball tournament is underway. While enjoying the hoops action, don’t foul out your health. There are ways to keep on track at work, and at home. Stay in the game with these March Madness health tips:
Host a lunchtime basketball game or start a company basketball team
Compete to see who can consistently make the healthiest choices with a March Madness-style bracket
Plan ahead and snack smart with these healthy options from some of our charity partners:
In recent months, concerns were raised about the impact of U.S. tax law changes in 2018 since, among other things, the increase in the standard deduction to $12,000 per individual or $24,000 per couple, could reduce the incentive for some households to get a charitable deduction since fewer tax filers would itemize on their returns. While it is too early to tell if this fear will materialize, those claiming charitable deductions on their 2017 income taxes, should still keep in mind the following fundamentals.
One can claim a charitable deduction for contributions made to organizations tax exempt as charities under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and to veterans organizations tax-exempt under section 501(c)(19) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions to other tax-exempt entities are generally not deductible as charitable gifts. To verify a group’s tax-exempt status visit the following IRS web page: https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/exempt-organizations-select-check
If the charity sends you something of value in response to your gift (for example, a stuffed animal, book, or concert tickets) only the portion of your donation above the fair market value of what you receive would be deductible. The charity will usually remind you about this in their acknowledgement or thank you message.
Direct contributions to needy individuals, are generally not deductible as charitable gifts. While it is clear that one can’t deduct handouts made to the homeless, the deductibility of gifts made to crowdfunding postings can be a bit cloudy depending on the fact circumstances.
If a donor contributes to a charitable project that has been posted to a crowdfunding site that is owned and managed by a 501(c)(3) charity, the donation generally will be deductible. If, however, one contributes to a charitable project on a crowdfunding site that is owned and managed by a for-profit company, one needs to be cautious since the deductibility can be impacted by whether the payment platform used by the site sends the gift directly to the specified charity. If the crowdfunding posting, however, is to help a specific named individual (for example to fund a dream overseas trip) there is little chance for donors to claim a deduction.
Finally, the value of volunteer time or services to a charity is not deductible. Out of pocket expenses, such as gas and travel expenses directly related to the volunteer service will usually be deductible.
Women have been building stronger, healthier communities for centuries— breaking down barriers, advancing research, and making life-saving discoveries.
In 1849, ElizabethBlackwell, MD was the first woman to earn a medical degree. Blackwell co-founded an infirmary to help women gain experience as physicians after her graduation. 167 years later in 2016, there were 253,635 female physicians. Virgina Apgar developed the first series of tests determine newborn babies’ health in 1952. The Apgar Score is used in most hospitals worldwide today and works to reduce infant mortality. Dr. Antonia Novella became the first female and first Hispanic U.S. Surgeon General in 1990. While in office, Novella advocated for the rights and health of women, children, and minorities.
These women, and countless more, have been working to make the world a better place.
Now, it’s our turn. Honor their history by working to improve the future: Volunteer with Alzheimer’s Association, Susan G. Komen, and other charities supporting women. Support Women’s Health and help women live longer, healthier lives.
This Women’s History Month, continue the tradition of building stronger, healthier communities—for everyone.
You take care of your heart and your lungs, but when is the last time to you prioritized kidney health?
Most people are born with two kidneys, and these vital fist-sized organs are responsible for removing waste from the body, regulating blood pressure, controlling the production of red blood cells, producing an active form of Vitamin D that promotes healthy bones, controlling pH levels, and more.
Workplace giving isn’t solely about meeting CSR or company goals—it’s engaging employees by helping them give back to their communities.
SFM Mutual Insurance knows this first hand. For their second annual giving campaign with Community Health Charities, the company focused on giving employees the opportunity to work hands-on with the charity partners they support.
Jaxport, a full-service international trade seaport in Northeast Florida, presented Community Health Charities and other partners with $40,000 from their 2017 Charity Drive. Over the past ten years, employees have raised more than half a million dollars supporting North Eastern Florida.
Celebrate Your Health
February is American Heart Month. Nearly 85.6 million Americans are living with some form of cardiovascular disease or the after-effects of stroke. Chances are, your coworkers are living with a heart condition or know someone who is. This February, start some heart-healthy habits in your workplace.
March is National Kidney Month: Celebrate your kidneys this month by keeping them healthy with National Kidney Foundation’s Tips on How to Heart Your Kidneys.
American Diabetes Association Inspires New Giving Campaigns
Two companies, Carman and Munich, started employee giving campaigns with Community Health Charities thanks to American Diabetes Association recommending us on their website. Be sure to talk about your partnership with Community Health Charities in your communications to encourage more organizations to join. The more we work together, the more we can improve health and wellbeing
Make Plans To Attend Charities@Work, June 27-28
Volunteer Toolbox: Max Straps
This month’s featured tool is the Mask Straps—they are used to improve the comfort level for patients required to wear masks to prevent the spread of infection or protect patients from infection. These mask straps replace the elastic band that comes standard on the mask. Patients say that flannel and fleece material feel much better against their cheek and cause far less rubbing than the original elastic band.
This month’s featured campaign resource is the Olympics-Themed Campaign Plan. Kick off your workplace giving campaign with a breakfast of champions; host office competitions complete with gold, silver, and bronze medals; and hold a closing ceremony. For more details and to explore the rest of our campaign tools, ideas, and guidelines, check out our Campaign Resources.
The third time Judy Halter heard the words, “You have cancer,” she panicked. “I knew there was a possibility that my time here could definitely be shortened,” she said. But even more than her diagnosis of bladder cancer, Judy says she worried about how she was going to get to treatment.
At age 76, Judy no longer drove more than a few miles away from home for fear of getting lost and had no way of getting to all her appointments. “I didn’t know what I was going to do,” said Halter. In desperation, she called American Cancer Society asking for guidance. Judy was immediately connected to a program that could help. Through the program, volunteers donate their spare time and personal vehicle to drive cancer patients in their community to treatment appointments. Judy was matched with two drivers who had both been cancer patients themselves.
Since she began treatment a year and a half ago, Judy says she has never missed an appointment.
Before finding Covenant House, Daniel was living in the streets after escaping an abusive home.
“My dad was addicted to meth and drank a lot,” said Daniel. “He abused my mom [and] sexually abused me for years. And no one knew.”
Daniel’s father’s addiction spiraled out of control after Daniel’s mother left. “I thought she would take us with her, but I guess she was just too scared,” sad Daniel. His father stopped going to work, and they were evicted. His father’s abuse didn’t end when they had to move in with family friends.
“I used to sleep in the truck outside because I was so afraid to be in the same house with him,” said Daniel. It wasn’t long before this innocent child faced a choice none of us should have to make: remain in a violent home or risk the dangers of the streets. Daniel chose the streets.
“When I was 15, I started getting into a lot of fights and ended up dropping out of school,” Daniel said. “One day, I was on the street with one of my friends and a group of boys started taunting us. I ended up trying to ‘handle them,’ and they took out a gun and shot my friend right in the face. To this day I blame myself for his death and that we didn’t just walk away,” he said.
Sexually abused by his father. Abandoned by his mother. His best friend shot to death in front of him. All before he was 18.
Daniel has since found shelter, care, ongoing support, and unconditional love at Covenant House. Covenant House staff are working to help Daniel believe in himself and his future, and that he can change his life for the better.