Inspired by Corporations’ Investment in Purpose and Social Responsibility Throughout the Crisis and Hardships of 2020

Highlights from the 2021 Industry Review

The social good community continues to respond to the hardships and impacts of the pandemic and social justice issues. Many CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) professionals have shifted their employee and community engagement strategies as the world shifted to virtual and socially distanced work. We are inspired by the work of our partners and the clients we support as we review this year’s 9th  Employee Engagement and Corporate Social Responsibility industry report, covering data collected from January-December 2020. We see that organizations of all sizes rallied their employees to give and serve others in their local communities and around the world.

  • Companies large and small are investing in purpose and social responsibility programs: Our report includes an analysis of employee engagement trends across companies with 0 – 100,000+ employees. The smallest company size considered in this report, 0 – 1,000 employees, had the highest overall giving and volunteering engagement rates. This was the only group that had an increase for all metrics from the 2019 report.
  • Companies are addressing social justice issues: The 2021 Porter Novelli Business and Social Justice Study brings attention to the transformation of the consumer-company and employee-company relationship from the last year. We also saw this trend in our industry report as CSR professionals stepped up with disaster relief campaigns that specifically supported social justice. Social Justice campaigns received over $2.8 million in funding, which was 31% of the disaster relief donation amount in 2020.
  • Disaster Relief is essential: Companies saw the necessity to organize disaster relief as a vital element of their employee engagement and social responsibility programs. Disaster relief saw a significant increase in donation amount reaching over $9 million. This was approximately a $6.1 million increase from 2019.
  • CSR strategies can be global and hyper local: Virtual volunteering events created the opportunity for employees no matter where they are located to connect with each other and support a cause. Geographic insights analyze giving and volunteering performance broken out by work location for all employees and in this report ~51% of companies have a global giving and/or volunteering element(s) to their program.

Where is employee engagement the highest?

Diving into the first point, we can see that for the second year in a row the smallest company size is leading the way with highest employee engagement. Employees of this company size had an average annual donation amount of $2,414, which was an increase of $677 from 2019. The overall engagement rate for companies of this size was more than 2x higher than the overall engagement rate of the largest company size, 100,000+ employees.

How did the challenges of 2020 impact volunteerism and employee giving?

The challenges of 2020 did impact employee participation in volunteering and giving, but employees that were able to participate in corporate philanthropic efforts made generous contributions. The full industry report highlights where the average annual employee donation amount increased across all company size groups.

We believe the lower volunteering and overall engagement rates were heavily influenced by the pandemic. Employees were hesitant to volunteer or had less opportunities to volunteer with nearly all in-person volunteering coming to a halt for a period of the year. This year’s industry report includes a new volunteer by group size metric that allows companies to analyze how employee populations like to contribute volunteer hours. It is no surprise that all employees preferred individual volunteer events over group events in 2020, with retirees contributing 96% of their total hours to individual events.

Where does giving go?

“2020 brought with it a call across CSR divisions to rethink the very definition of disaster prevention and relief, with COVID-19 and social justice receiving 83% of the more than $9 million in donations – a significant increase in total giving in this area — documented in this report. What’s more, companies activated both to help people around the world and their own neighbors,” explains Rachel Hutchisson our VP of Global Social Responsibility in her introductory remarks for the industry report. This year’s report shows the percentage of disaster relief funds that supported COVID-19, Social Justice and Other campaigns (earthquake, wildfire, etc.).

We are excited to see CSR programs expand around the globe as this year’s report contains more countries than ever before. Approximately 51% of companies evaluated have a global giving and/or volunteering element to their program. Global engagement in giving and volunteering is heavily influenced by a region’s economy, culture, and technological capabilities. Geographic insights help CSR leaders understand employee engagement behavior with performance data broken down by continent and employee work country. We can see for a third year in a row that Asia continues to lead with the highest volunteer engagement rate while North America maintains the top spot for giving engagement rate.

Earlier this year an in-market partnership with Blackbaud and GlobalGiving was announced, which will connect YourCause to the largest charity database to accelerate global giving and volunteering. Companies will be able to offer hyper local programs to their employee base around the world connecting them to support relevant causes in their community. Learn more about global capabilities of the YourCause platform here.

Join us for an upcoming webinar

Blackbaud will host an educational webinar with Vizient to explore the key findings and data in this year’s report. Melissa Britton, Manager Social Responsibility at Blackbaud and Jennifer Lind, Community Impact Director at Vizient will present on how they use data for benchmarking against the performance of their employee engagement programs as well as discuss key findings they thought were interesting in this year’s report.

When: August 11 @ 10 AM EST