5 Companies With Unique Employee Giving Programs

Some companies have a knack for continuously attracting the best talent and for regularly being featured in “best places to work” lists. And it’s no wonder, really: not only do they provide their employees with growth opportunities, continued education, and generous paychecks, they also offer great perks like fully stocked kitchens, subsidized gym membership, and in-house ping pong sessions.

But that’s not enough to get your company’s name appear next to the likes of Google and Ernst & Young. A company’s involvement in philanthropy is also important to potential candidates. In fact, a 2007 study conducted by Deloitte found that 62% of workers between the ages of 18 and 26 preferred working for a company that provided them with volunteering opportunities.

And with thousands and thousands of companies all over the world understanding the importance of charity and adopting corporate giving programs (not just for helping others in need, but also for keeping employees engaged, and boosting their morale, too), it has proven difficult for many to stand out from the crowd and attract top talent – but not these companies.

Here are 5 companies with unique employee giving programs.

1. Nestlé

Nestle headquarters

It’s hard to imagine a home without Nestlé products which range from Kit Kat chocolate bars to Cheerios cereal and Nescafé instant coffee. With over 2,000 brands under their belt, Nestlé is one of the biggest names around and have a market cap of $247.4 billion – in 2015 alone, they made about $88.5 billion in sales. But they don’t keep all that money to themselves.

In fact, in 2008, they had provided over $27 million worth of microfinance to almost 600,000 farmers around the world, and their Nestlé Prize in Creating Shared Value initiative provides financial support of up to almost $500,000 to individuals, nongovernmental organizations, or small enterprises who can offer innovative solutions to nutritional deficiencies, rural development, or access to clean water.

While their matching gift program is meager in comparison to that of other companies (they only match up to 50% of an employee’s gift), Nestlé prides itself in its initiative in encouraging its employees to make their own donations to charity by offering them an extra two days off for every day’s wages they give away.

2. Soros Fund Management

If Soros Fund Management were a third grader on a playground, they’d probably sound a lot like this: “My matching ratio gift is higher than yours!” – and with good reason, too.

As one of the most profitable firms in the hedge fund industry, with annual return rates averaging over 20% over 40 years, Soros Fund Management has one of the most generous employee giving programs out there: it matches employee gifts at a ratio of 3:1 up to $300,000 per year – 12 times more than the next largest match amount: General Electric’s $25,000. The company also matches partner gifts at a ratio of 2:1, and even provides volunteer grants of up to $4,000 a year (or $50 per hour).

3. BP

BP headquarters

BP, formerly British Petroleum, is one of the seven “Big Oil” companies in the world along with Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Eni, ExxonMobil, Shell, and Total. In 2013, it was named the world’s fourth richest company with revenue of $410 billion.

Beyond its billion-dollar success, BP is also known for its unique employee giving programs offered through its Employee Matching Fund. Perhaps its most notable program is the Fabric of America Program in which employees are designated an annual grant of $300 to a charity of their choice – no strings attached, and it doesn’t even require employees to volunteer or donate to any organization. BP will simply write a check to your chosen organization. So far, employees have managed to raise over $20 million through the Fabric of America Program, benefiting over 14,500 different charities across the United States.

Meanwhile, after employees have volunteered 25 hours with an organization, BP will donate $10 for every hour volunteered to that organization. The oil giant will also match employee gifts up to $5,000 at a ratio of 1:1 over the course of a year.

4. CarMax

CarMax was founded in September 1993, and almost 23 years later, it is now a Fortune 500 company and the largest used car retailer in the States.

Employees at CarMax can help their favorite charities by actively participating in the company’s many programs. In addition to matching cash donations, dollar for dollar, the company will also provide a gift of $10 to eligible nonprofits for every hour an employee has volunteered there. They’ll even match eligible contributions of an employee’s spouse or domestic partner and any dependents under the age of 26. In 2014 alone, CarMax matched $490,000 in donations and volunteer time.

5. RealNetworks

RealNetworks, an Internet media company, is the youngest company on this list. Founded in 1994 by Rob Glaser, who previously found fame and success working at Microsoft, the company specializes in technology for broadcasting audio and video over the web with its most popular product being RealPlayer.

In 2000, three years after the company went public, the RealNetworks Foundation was launched which makes about $1.25 million in charitable grants every year. The Foundation matches employee gifts up to $10,000, and it also matches volunteer time with grants of $15 per hour. Moreover, workers who have been employed at the company for five years are rewarded with a grant of $500 to be donated to a charity of their choice.

Can you think of any other companies with unique employee giving programs that should’ve been included in this list? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!

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