The session on Employee Volunteerism and Workplace Giving featured Tracy Wort, Assistant Director of Community Relations, Symetra and Amanda Course, Communications Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Moderated by Heather Muir of Benevity, this discussion explored the ways in which employees at these companies became involved with nonprofits through volunteering and donations. Both organizations use the Benevity platform that helps their workforce find nonprofits whose causes they care about.
Ms. Wort spoke about the numerous ways Symetra was involved in the community. This includes payment to nonprofits for employees’ days of service, employee matching, training for board members as well as providing meals to homeless shelters and restaurants. They are also involved with pro sports teams such as the Seahawks, Seattle Kraken, Storm and boys and girls clubs to empower youth, support entrepreneurs and promote more diverse career options for girls.
Ms. Course addressed how the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation continues to be involved on many levels including, employee grants, boot camps, matching and more.
Both speakers discussed the ways both corporations and nonprofits can connect during the on-going pandemic. Trend reports like the Edelman Trust Report reveal that nonprofits will be looking more to businesses for giving. Ms. Wort said that businesses like Symetra will be relaxing donation requirements, increasing employee matching and reaching out to existing nonprofits that they support to provide disaster relief if needed. Ms. Course recommended that businesses reduce restrictions and rethink volunteer service days when supporting employee matching and volunteer time to make grant making and other programs more COVID-and employee friendly.
Employees can check the Benevity site for areas in which they can support community nonprofits. Ms. Wort added that nonprofits need to keep their profiles on this database current if they want to attract supporters. She continued that business look for nonprofits that are easy to work with and do not have large staff turnover since establishing personal relationships with nonprofit stakeholders each year a campaign is rolled out can be time consuming – time that could be used for moving the project forward faster.
Ms. Course reiterated that nonprofits need to stay focused on their mission and programs to garner business support. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has always looked at social challenges from a global perspective and continues to do that now through employee resource groups as well as DEI and BLM programs.