GiveStream was founded on one idea – To help companies use their corporate philanthropy in a new way to help attract, motivate, and retain good talent on an individual level. By allocating funds to the employees and letting them directly distribute that money to the causes that matter most to them, employees can change their world. This creates a positive effect of happier, engaged employees and positive business results.
So here was the problem: A large majority of today’s workforce is comprised of millennials who have a very different view of work place essentials and corporate responsibility to the community than the previous generation. They’ve been raised on the idea that we all have a responsibility to better the planet and our fellow citizens through our everyday actions. And “we” includes profit-generating corporations, especially those with big revenues because, to quote Ben Parker, “with great power comes great responsibility”. If a millennial feels that their employer is too interested in profits over people or that they themselves are working only to increase the profits of some unknown C-officers, they aren’t going to stick around.
And hiring new employees is an extremely costly endeavor. It’s estimated that recruiting and training new employees can cost up to $20,000 per employee. Not to mention the loss of potentially good talent that could take the corporation into the future. Also, morale can plummet if a company starts losing a lot of employees. All of this can have a disastrous effect on the bottom line.
But, speaking of profits, anyone running a company today also knows that there’s no point in running a for-profit company if you don’t make profits. And I think we can agree that if we don’t make profits, we won’t have the opportunity to do much good. Plus for public companies, explaining low profits to shareholders is no fun.
So how to balance the two requirements – do good but still make a profit – becomes a difficult task corporations must accomplish in order to attract and retain the sometimes fickle millennial talent. Time and money must be spent on research and selection of charitable targets and communicating to employees what and why those charities have been selected. Plus, there’s no guarantee that the employees will feel good about giving to charities with which they have no personal involvement.
The founders of GiveStream got to thinking about this problem. One answer that popped up again and again was “why not let the employees choose causes they are interested in”. Like the local community meal site where they often volunteer, the group that sponsored the 5K they just ran, or the pet adoption service where they got their mutt.
And don’t just match the contribution the employee makes, actually allocate the money set aside by the corporation for charitable giving to the employees to distribute. I don’t want to brag, but it’s genius. It takes the onus off the corporate system to choose a generic charity that all employees can accept AND it gives the employees the power to change their world. To change the things that matter most to them and to reap the personal reward of giving, because it feels good. Plus the company benefits from happier, more engaged employees, positive PR in diverse communities, and attractive tax benefits.
GiveStream also wanted to help foster more employee involvement with their favorite charities by providing contact points to facilitate communication with those charities. They also hoped that providing a list of charitable organizations searchable by location would help employees find local charities they might not have known about, thus getting the word out about lesser known but potentially more impactful causes and connecting them with people who care.
There are many more corporate and community advantages to Innovative’s new idea, but I think I will save them for another post because I don’t want to overstay my welcome. BTW – GiveStream is our simple, easy to use interface that lets employees choose their charities and share their stories.