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Should Organizations Encourage Employees to Donate to Charity?

Should Organizations Encourage Employees to Donate to Charity?

It’s common for organizations to encourage employees to support a particular charity. Your organization may have a charity that it supports, or perhaps leadership is currently in the process of choosing one. 

While there is good intention behind the encouragement, it isn’t always perceived as such by employees. Understanding how to properly support the charity without causing employees to feel guilty or embarrassed is critical to maintain a positive workplace culture and employee morale. 



Should Organizations Encourage Employees to Donate to Charity? 

The simple answer is “no”. While employees may not be “required” to support the organization’s chosen charity, employees can often feel pressured or guilted into donating. You know when you’re walking down the street of a large city and you are hassled for money by a homeless man or woman at every corner? Well—imagine that person is your boss. Or the head of HR at a company. Saying “no” becomes exponentially harder and more guilt-inducing, even if it’s asked in the nicest manner possible. 

There can be a myriad of reasons as to why an employee may not want to donate to that particular charity. 


1. They volunteer their time. It isn’t easy for everyone to donate money to charity. Finances are a sensitive topic, and making an employee feel pressured to donate can be harmful to workplace culture. Many people prefer to give to charity by donating their time, rather than their money. Both are extremely important, so one should not be valued over the other. 


2. They donate to (a) different charity(ies). People are passionate about particular charities for a reason. If an employee is attached to another charity already, they shouldn’t feel like they have to switch in order to support the organization. 


3. They don’t believe in the mission. Employees may have personal or religious beliefs that don’t align with a particular charity’s mission. It could make an employee uncomfortable if an organization tries to instill their beliefs in the mission upon them. 


How to Properly Support a Charity in Your Organization 

Now—let me clarify. Supporting a charity as an organization in itself is NOT a bad thing. It’s great! Organizations choose charities to support for a variety of reasons, whether there is some leadership who has personal sentiment towards it or if the mission aligns strongly with that of the company’s. Supporting charity is always admirable, so I am by no means discouraging organization’s from doing so.

What I am discouraging is directly asking employees to donate in order to support the charity. There are other ways to express passion for the charity with employees, without asking them to buy-in to your beliefs (both figuratively and literally). 

So—what can you do?

Rather than asking employees to donate money, you can share volunteer opportunities via email when they arise. You can also share the story behind the organization’s connection to the charity. This can be done by creating a video, which can also capture beautiful moments from volunteer events that employees have attended in the past. This video can be shared with employees or even shown at a company-wide meeting. If creating a video isn’t the most feasible method, the CEO can simply address the organization’s connection to the charity during the meeting. 

There may be a number of employees who resonate with the message and do choose to donate. Those employees will feel a sense of philanthropy in helping out a good cause, rather than feel a sense of pressure to avoid the potential judgment of their supervisor, HR, the CEO, etc. 


Additional Resources

You can stay informed, educated, and up to date with important HR topics using BerniePortal’s comprehensive resources:

  • BernieU—free online HR courses, approved for SHRM and HRCI recertification credit
  • BerniePortal Blog—a one-stop shop for HR industry news
  • HR Glossary—featuring the most common HR terms, acronyms, and compliance
  • Resource Library—essential guides covering a comprehensive list of HR topics
  • HR Party of One—our popular YouTube series and podcast, covering emerging HR trends and enduring HR topics

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