Prioritizing Community Investments

Continued Investment in Community Needs

Georgia’s businesses have long been the backbone of strong communities, offering quality jobs and partnering with local nonprofits. This tradition of charitable contributions and volunteering remains important to local communities and employees. In fact, 52% of Gen Z employees (ages 18-27) say they left a job because their employer did not display generosity to the community.

Most executives (75%) remain committed to financial contributions to the community (compared to 76% last year). When asked, more than half of all executives (57%) stated that generosity to the community improves employee satisfaction, and 1-in-4 executives cite financial benefits as a reason to increase investment in generosity toward the community.

This also aligns with what employees want. When asked to select the most important demonstration of generosity to the community, employees named financial contributions (23%) or donations of products/services (20%) in their top three.

Where Are Investments Decreasing?

Companies’ demonstrations of generosity to the community fell, on average, 10 percentage points behind demonstrations of generosity to employees and in business operations.

While 46% of executives say they plan to increase their investment in the community in 2024, when asked what they currently offer their employees, we noted significant decreases compared to last year. 

Fewer executives say they offer company-sponsored volunteerism or make public statements on social issues (down nearly 20 points). The same downward trend holds true for donations of products/services or matching gifts (a decrease of nearly 10 points) and paid time off (PTO) for volunteering (down 4 points).

Some of these decisions align with employee preferences, while some do not. For instance, fewer executives offer company volunteerism (down 17 points from last year). This is in line with the low level of importance employees place on this activity—it was ranked at the bottom of employee preferences with only 9% believing it to be the most important.

So, if executives feel the need to decrease their investments, how can they prioritize limited resources?

Prioritizing What Employees Value Most

Paid Time Off for Volunteering: When asked to select the single most important element, 26% of employees chose PTO for volunteering at the charity of their choice.

Less than half (48%) of executives say they currently offer PTO to employees to volunteer. This continues to be a missed opportunity given the high level of interest from employees. Of note, 89% of Millennials and 85% of Gen X consider this important, compared to 73% of Gen Z.

Matching Gifts: Programs that match employee gifts or donations are another area of missed opportunity for employers, as 45% of employees think this is a very important demonstration of generosity, yet only 25% of executives currently offer matching gifts programs. These programs are especially attractive to Millennial employees (See more here).

Employees Match Demands with Personal Action

Employees may ask for considerable generosity from their employer, but are they personally generous? When asked, employees stated that they had high levels of personal commitment.

Of note, Gen Z is more likely to admit that they will volunteer less (16%), give fewer charitable donations (12%), or donate fewer goods to those in need (21%).

On the opposite end, employees of color are more likely to plan to volunteer (55%), make more charitable contributions (53%), and donate more goods (59%).

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