Much to Do About Workplace Giving
DURHAM, NC, November 8, 2016 – Whether we know it or not, companies that care about the well-being of their employees, in some way, shape, or form apply the Herzberg Theory to motivate their staff; an idea principled on certainty that there are other ways to engage workers than with salary increases. Connecting employees to workplace giving programs is one way companies increase employee satisfaction and productivity, while at the same time reflecting altruism and corporate social responsibility (CSR). Billions of dollars are given to charities each year by private industries. With the growing popularity of workplace giving the process is made easier and more expedient through the use of internet platforms to facilitate these targeted engagements.
Workplace giving is a pinnacle driver in connecting contributors to causes. Last year alone, $18.46 billion dollars went to charities, according to the latest National Philanthropic Trust annual report. But while these numbers might seem flattering, Isa Watson, CEO of Envested, a workplace giving company in Durham, seeks to drive equitable change in how these dollars are distributed. “What we’ve found is that eighty-seven percent of the charitable resources in the U.S. go to just 1% of nonprofits, so a lot of the local organizations get left out,” she said. Envested’s product is described as a next generation workplace giving and employee engagement platform. Watson says, “There is a big gap to fill in terms of Millennial and multi-generational engagement in companies.”
This technology concept of bringing people together through cyberspace tools is not limited to fundraising. Companies like Google and Facebook use it to pool developers to create innovative technology applications. Dell uses it for online brainstorming sessions to harness ideas, and Vitaminwater gives cash prizes to consumers who create the ingredients for their next bottled-water flavor, as part of its marketing campaign. Watson says that, “When you think about the generational composition of the workforce, you see that Millennials are increasing in workforce percentages. Their preference for working collaboratively is important as companies determine what their next solution is going to be.”
Now for some of us, adapting technologies like online workplace giving platforms into our routine is a divergence from the way things use to be – for Millennials like Watson, transferring, retrieving, and exchanging information over the internet is a life-style – and one might even argue second-nature, much like radios, telephones, and televisions were for the X and Baby Boomer generations. Harnessing relationships, ideas, and capital on the World-Wide-Web opens businesses up to a robust global marketplace in real-time. The idea of doing business through electronic communication channels is not a trivial extension of business, but a lifeline for companies that operate with old business models.
The Shaping of an Enterprise
In the basement of the Reed & Strickland building on the beautifully renovated campus of the American Tobacco Company in the Bull City, where once cigarettes were manufactured, the workforce no longer cures tobacco leaves, but cultivates enterprising ideas.
Inside modern, glass-encased offices and conference rooms on the ground floor, from one end of the rustic-style hallway to the next, casually dressed young people are coding incessantly at their desktops; some wearing headphones. Others are brainstorming as they tap away on Macs. Nearby, there is what appears to be a learning workshop in session where Millennials attentively hang on every word of the facilitator, who herself looks to be among their age. Several doors down is Envested, a name derived from the words Engaged Investing. It is led by the bright, well-traveled, and polished Watson, who is a twenty-something graduate of Cornell and MIT. Her credentials reflect senior-level corporate experience with J.P. Morgan-Chase in New York and Hong Kong. She’s even a classical pianist who plays Chopin and Beethoven in her leisure. “I got to a point where I really felt like I had gained such a strong professional skill set, and wanted to take the opportunity to merge it with impact. I wanted to capitalize on achieving impact in very meaningful ways in local communities,” she says. Indoctrinated by her parents who advocate for education, the passionate Chapel Hill native was raised to believe that to whom much is given much is required.
Envested’s product provides a different user experience. It centralizes all forms of corporate/employee giving from volunteering time and talent, to monetary resources, or what it refers to as “treasures”. Watson says, “Companies, employees, and people in general want to engage in their local communities more meaningfully, but with easier and more consolidated digital tools.” A company signs-up for a subscription — that subscription covers the costs to use the platform. Not much is required of the nonprofit because Envested curates the engagement opportunities, not just with the charity but with the corporate customer and its employees. Envested then facilitates interactions between the corporation, its employees, and nonprofits to help advance its customers’ CSR efforts.
Envested reflects the rich diversity of American culture – all spectrums of color, and a plethora of skill sets, from UX product and community partnership leaders, to a senior developer. Aside from her brother who manages end user product experiences and her operations manager she hired through a mutual acquaintance, Watson’s team manifested through online portals and recruiting tools. The heartbeat of Envested is at its core the internet – and these Millennials are driving.
“We come from all different walks of life,” says Watson. “Millennials are very strong and really put emphasis on doing things together. Sums of people together do more than the sum of what we can do individually.”
To learn more about Envested, its team, and product, visit www.envested.org, or contact Michael Leighs, Head of Community Partnerships, at (919) 200-4000
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