An increasing number of workplaces are encouraging their staff to support the charitable causes with which they have a personal connection. Rather than the more traditional model of corporate giving governed by decision makers in top tier management – this new momentum is built on grass roots support from employees.
In my role as Director at Shake It Up Australia Foundation it has become evident that a ‘trickling up’ of support is occurring in workplaces around Australia as companies back the causes that matter to their staff.
Whilst this approach has seen the somewhat expected consequence of a workforce that respects and appreciates the company they work for, it has also had some unanticipated benefits for the not-for-profit sector. By throwing open the challenge to employees to identify ways their employer can contribute, we are noticing more innovative examples of corporate giving. Of course, direct donations and dollar matching programs remain key staples. However, at a time when the financial bottom line is under constant pressure, employees passionate about a particular cause are finding novel ways to harness their company’s non-financial resources.
Shake It Up’s current campaign, Pause 4 Parkinson’s, is a prime example of this trend in practice. The Pause 4 Parkinson’s campaign encourages workplaces to gather employees and take time to pause and have a discussion about Parkinson’s in the lead up to World Parkinson’s Day on 11 April. Whether over lunch or simply a cuppa, the concept means that for a relatively low corporate financial commitment (a small donation, a few cups of coffee and half an hour of time) companies have a chance to support charities, like Shake It Up, which may not have traditionally landed on their radar. The involvement of businesses, through individual employees, helps young not-for-profits gain greater exposure, funds and ultimately more supporters.
Shake It Up are excited to have the corporate support for our Pause 4 Parkinson’s campaign. One of these companies is Telum, who have supported the foundation since we formed in 2011. Each year Telum has provided corporate sponsorship for our Pause 4 Parkinson’s campaign as well as hosting BBQ’s at each of their work sites.
“With our workforce spread out across multiple sites, Pause 4 Parkinson’s was ideal for our business as the format meant that every site could do their own thing but we were collectively united on the day”.
As a result of staff members with a personal connection to Parkinson’s, companies both large and small are participating. It seems an advantageous result for all as Shake It Up gains funds and exposure while a greater sense of community and loyalty within the employee employer relationship is fostered.
Director – Shake It Up Australia Foundation