A once-secret doorway to employee engagement is quickly becoming a trademark of the best places to work – a culture that promotes community engagement.
For years, Bradenton-based businesses have encouraged their employees to find good nonprofit boards to join. Companies have supported them through fundraising events and building campaigns. But there is a growing demand among young businessmen and women to work for companies that champion deep community involvement in new and innovative ways.
That’s especially true among millennial employees (ages 18-34) eager to receive the backing from employers to expand their networks, polish their skills and make contributions to local nonprofit organizations.
This generation has said more consistently than most that companies aligned with causes or meaningful connections to the community are attractive places to work. And engagement in nonprofit organizations isn’t just about money for them – it’s about volunteerism, advocacy and using their networks to build social interest in causes.
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Enter the Giving Challenge, the 24-hour online fundraising event created by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. During the past four years, it has helped hundreds of local organizations earn millions in unrestricted dollars and reach new audiences. It’s a perfect intersection for millennial talent from the business world to be leveraged for the good of the community.
Ron Allen, the president of NDC Construction Company, is one local executive who gets it. His millennial team members are encouraged to get involved, and their voluntary nonprofit work benefits the company through new relationships.
Amy Phillips, a young leader who provides marketing and executive support at NDC, is also a board member of PACE Center for Girls. She’s taking a leading role in the organization’s 2016 Giving Challenge campaign. Her strategies include short videos featuring her peers supporting PACE and issuing challenges to their friends to do the same.
Through a partnership with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Manatee Community Foundation is awarding $20,000 in grants to Manatee-based organizations that build and execute successful Giving Challenge campaigns leveraging millennial talent.
$20,000Amount the Manatee Community Foundation is awarding in grants to Manatee-based organizations that build and execute successful Giving Challenge campaigns leveraging millennial talent.
Phillips and her crew at PACE are great contenders to earn one of these grants. The exciting news: There are 39 other organizations vying for the funding. Many of them are utilizing volunteers who work for businesses. Their experiences overseeing the Giving Challenge projects will be formidable and valuable to their places of employment.
The Giving Challenge and projects like it allow millennials to leverage coveted social-media prowess, be creative, think big and take things into their own hands. It’s exactly the kind of energy our philanthropic sector needs, and the business community needs it, too.
Increasingly, nonprofits want to know how to tap into younger patrons, members and supporters. Businesses want to attract and retain talent.
There’s a win-win here, and the smartest business leaders provide the opportunity.