6 Ways Businesses Can Give Back to the Community

Written by Lindsay McGuire on February 27, 2020

Posted in Human Resources, Nonprofits

On a recent episode of Formstack’s Ripple Effect podcast, Tal Frankfurt chatted with us about the idea of transformational value. The founder and CEO of Cloud for Good touched on a variety of ways someone can create transformational value for others. One that stood out to me was how to do so through philanthropy.

Tal Frankfurt of Cloud for Good discusses giving back on Ripple Effect Podcast

We often believe that to be philanthropic we must have a lot of money or dedicate our entire lives to service. But this isn’t true at all!

There are millions of nonprofits across the globe working to achieve great missions. They could all use more help in one way or another. You can make a difference by simply raising your hand and getting involved. But there’s something more you could do: get your workplace involved.

When people combine forces, so much more can get done. If your employer provides volunteer time off or is looking to expand its corporate social responsibility plans, here are six simple, yet impactful ideas for giving back to your community.


1. Create a philanthropic committee.

If your organization is lacking on providing opportunities for employees to give back to the community, consider creating a philanthropic committee to get the ball rolling! This is especially helpful for organizations that may have a small HR team that cannot easily facilitate launching a philanthropically-focused employee program.

Once you’ve rallied the troops, decide on how often your group will meet, how you will communicate, and what initiatives you want to tackle first. Some projects to consider are planning an employee volunteering event, hosting a fundraiser, launching a web page of featured nonprofits, or creating a grant program.


2. Ask for volunteer time off.

If you don’t currently get volunteer time off (VTO), ask for it to be included in your benefits package.

We all know that giving back is good for the community, but studies prove it also does good for our overall health and well-being. Advocate for VTO to be included as part of your overall benefits to ensure employees feel empowered to give back. Unsure where to start? Check out these VTO plans for inspiration.

Did you know? Formstack employees get 8 hours of VTO per quarter! Check out our Instagram to see how our employees use it.


3. Set up quarterly volunteer outings.

If your organization provides VTO, there’s no reason to not have a quarterly volunteer outing. Start off by surveying employees on what causes and organizations they are interested in. Also ask what times and days work best for their schedule. If your organization does not provide VTO, be sure to include night and weekend hours.

Once you have feedback on dates, times, and locations, contact the organizations that landed at the top of your list. Many will have volunteer coordinators who will plan all the logistics for you. Depending on the number of volunteers you have, they may even have a variety of projects for your group to choose from.


4. Host a volunteer meet-and-greet event.

If your company has a large event space, consider holding a volunteer meet-and-greet event. Invite a variety of local nonprofits to your business to allow them to recruit new volunteers.

Each nonprofit can set up a booth, and the event can flow like a career fair. You could even set up the event like nonprofit speed dating, where people gather at each booth for five minutes and rotate around the room to get a better understanding of each organization.


5. Provide pro bono services to local nonprofits.

Many nonprofits are short staffed and in need of a variety of professional services. No matter what your company focuses on, you probably have skilled staff who could easily offer some pro bono services.

Identify a few local organizations your company would like to support, then create a roster of employees interested in providing some free help. Include their skills and talents on the list, how many hours they have available, and when they are available. Nonprofits can then request people with the correct skills they need to complete projects, staff events, and finalize campaigns.


6. Give employees simple ways to donate.

Connect with your payroll administrator to see if your organization would allow employees to make payroll-deducted donations. This is an incredibly easy way to give back a little every paycheck.

Before launching a new payroll deduction program, ask employees to submit information on nonprofits they’d like to be able to donate to through their paycheck. If you need to limit the options, survey employees once you’ve received all employee feedback on options.

When the organizations are finalized, create a master list or a page on your company’s intranet with all the information on each nonprofit to help educate employees about what their donations do.

Idea: If your employer already provides the ability to make payroll deducted donations, ask if they would match donations up to a certain amount.

Whether you work for an organization of 100 or 1,000, you can make a difference by giving back to your community. Try implementing one of the ideas above at your workplace to see how big of an impact your team can make.


Listen to Tal Frankfurt’s Ripple Effect podcast episode now for more ideas on how you can easily give back to your community. Get inspired by how his organization produces results while making a positive impact.


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