iGaive: A Look at Corporate Philanthropy

Why do people give to others? Is it to feel better about ourselves? Is it out of guilt or pressure from friends, family, or a charity? Perhaps volunteering looks good on a resume or a college application? Whatever the motivation, in the end, the recipient benefits from the generosity of others’ donated time, money, or resources. And it cannot be argued that an outcome like that is a very good thing.

Peg Brenner, SPHR, SHRM-CP is Human Resources Manager and Chairperson of GAI Consultants’ corporate philanthropic program, iGaive. Below she discusses how GAI embraces corporate responsibility and shares her advice for other companies looking to increase employee participation in philanthropy.

The iGaive Philanthropy Program

Created in 2010, the iGaive program has evolved to streamline charity and community involvement activities across GAI’s 25 office locations. Past iGaive activities have included The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night, Make-A-Wish campaigns, food drives, Wheels for Kids, holiday toy drives, Thanksgiving turkey giveaways, PBS Pledge Drives, Holiday Cards for Heroes, and much more.

The philanthropy program has a two-pronged approach. With regard to corporate sponsorships and donations, the iGaive Executive Committee researches and recommends philanthropic opportunities to our President/CEO, who ultimately decides which efforts we support at a corporate level. Concerning local volunteering, under the direction of the iGaive Executive Committee, a volunteer from each office location serves as the Local iGaive Committee Representative, representing and spearheading local iGaive efforts and participation. These local activities might include food drives, student mentoring, or participation in any community event that seeks to improve the lives of community members.



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GAI’s 2015 Charity of Choice—The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

In 2015, GAI joined the fight against cancer by partnering with The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) as our charity of choice. Our participation greatly assisted LLS’s overall mission to fight leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. Our entire donation to LLS in 2015 was $60,524.00! GAI employees proudly supported LLS by joining “Light the Night” walk teams, hosting local bake sales, wine tasting events, raffles, jeans-n-jersey days, creating cookbooks, and employing many other innovative methods to raise money. President and CEO Gary DeJidas, PE generously matched funds donated by GAI employees in order to bring the total donation to its final amount.

Promoting Employee Participation In Philanthropy

To encourage employee participation in philanthropy, I recommend that companies ask their employees what speaks to them and what they’re interested in. What kinds of efforts would employees support or recommend? What needs do they see in their community? It’s important to support an effort that employees bring forward so they can feel something back from it. Companies should also consider the money versus time factor…some employees don’t have money to donate, or maybe they have the money, but they don’t have the time to get involved. Employers need to listen to what makes sense for their employees. Once the philanthropic activities are selected, advertising the efforts at a local level is important—signage, emails, and “lunch and learn” meetings all help to increase employee awareness, understanding, and participation in volunteering activities.

Encouraging a Culture of Giving Year-Round

A large amount of charitable giving often happens in the last few months of the year, especially in December, because of the holidays. However, many needs exist year-round, rather than just around the holiday season. Examples include disease prevention, animal welfare, environmental protection, advocacy for homeless students and adults, food drives, and child and/or adult mentoring programs. Efforts to support these needs can and should be conducted on a continual basis throughout the year. If employers encourage and support those types of causes, employees will follow suit and participate as well.

Why Promote Company/Employee Giving Initiatives?

It’s important for companies to have a presence in the communities in which they have office locations and to involve employees in something other than just work—to engage them in the desire and opportunity to give back to their communities.

Whatever the reason we give, it ultimately comes from a good place and the result is nothing but positive. For more information on GAI’s corporate philanthropic program, iGaive, contact Peg Brenner at 407.423.8398.

PegBrennerThrough her 20+ years of experience in the consulting, education, manufacturing, and distribution industries, Peg Brenner has participated in and spearheaded philanthropy efforts to engage employees in serving the communities where they work and live.

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