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Hello everybody, thanks for visiting. I am delighted with our little company's growth, and we have quickly settled into a comfortable rhythm in 3 time zones. Now that we have a US team in place, I am reviewing our policies and benefits.
The question of the day is this: how we can best direct money on behalf of employees to non-profits?
I have just finished setting up our 401ks and Medical Insurance for US employees. This was molto complicato and time consuming, but it's all in place. Watch for future posts about these.
I was new to shopping for benefits. I quickly dismissed those frivolous allowances that are the fodder of burn-rate horror stories. Valuable ones, like transportation vouchers, are unnecessary, since we all work from our homes.
We support do-gooder values, so I am researching the way companies handle employee-directed philanthropy.
I believe that Matching Funds are a brilliantly simple way to let employees define corporate values. If I support my local public schools with a check, my employer supports my local public schools with a check. If I support the Positive Coaching Alliance, my employer supports Positive Coaching Alliance. If sponsor my friends in a walk to stamp out Alzheimer’s, my employer sponsors them, too.
Matching funds provide a bond between and employee, employer, and community, creating a 3-legged stool where each supports the other. In the current financial climate, companies may not be worried about employee retention, but a manager should never underestimate the benefits of a team who values loyalty, character and sincerity.
By matching charitable donations, employees are empowered with a sense of ownership. Each gets a seat on the board of directors, and the company supports charities that are in-house designated.
In contrast, I used to live near the world headquarters of a large company. When I approached them to support a school fundraiser, I was told that their policy was to designate one specific charity annually, and no other contributions were considered. The upside here is that a very large donation gets made to one needy organization. Employees vote to pick the charity, creating a unified cause, and it certainly keeps down the overhead accounting of managing all the requests, reporting, and check processing.
I was struck by this narrow this approach. That policy wouldn’t work for Balsamiq Studios, but it did make me wonder how other companies handle philanthropy.
As a reader of this blog, you are already important to me, and I would like to hear what you think. Does your company match the charitable contributions employees make? Even if the answer is no, we want to hear that, too! If your company offers matching funds, are there annual caps? How many employees work for your company? What industry are you in? Is there a web site I should know about for this kind of benchmarking? Do employees appreciate and value this benefit? Let's hear it: I am reviewing the whole charity enchilada.
Please add your comments! (We will, of course, consult our accountants for logistics, too.)
Thanks for being part of our community,
Val for the Balsamiq Team
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I just saw this… in our company the employer matches donations 2 for one, if you contribute to one of the 300+ charities on their approved list (list represents charities that the company has checked out to ensure that they are good)
Also if you do charity work etc… you can take one week paid leave per year to under take such work.
Good luck with that,
[balsamiqVal: Wow, 2-for-1 is a very generous employer! It’s a wonderful idea to have expressly pre-approved charities, too, but with our little shop, we will probably just take the non-profits on for review one at a time, as Mike and I make our personal contributions. As far as taking off time to do charity work, I love it! A blog post in the very near future will include our time-off policy, so thanks for the information about that. I really appreciate your feedback, Jim. Thanks for posting.]
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