Stop, Something Is Missing From Your Company’s Holiday Shopping List

Dec 5, 2016


Slowly put away the cash bonuses. Forget the popcorn tins and decorative fruit bowls.


You might want to reconsider your gifts to employees before you head to the register this holiday season.

“Our intuitions are leading us down the wrong path when we assume that we will be happiest and most motivated when we earn money to spend on ourselves,” writes Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist at Duke, in his review of research on the impact of prosocial incentives in the workplace.

So, science tells us that bonuses and equivalent material gifts might not be the most effective employee gift idea. What’s a good alternative? Charity gift cards.

Here are 7 reasons to add gift cards to your company’s shopping list this holiday season:

1. Create a happier workplace.

Researchers from the Harvard Business School, University of British Columbia, and University of Liege found that bank employees who were given $50 to donate to a charity were happier and more satisfied with their jobs as compared to employees who did not donate. Employees who donate through GlobalGiving, the largest and oldest crowdfunding community for companies and nonprofits, validate this finding again and again in their qualitative feedback. An employee at the technology company Ekaterina said, “I was really happy when I received this charity gift card. Thanks to my employer for this great opportunity. A job is not only about working, it’s also about life.”

2. Reward high-performing employees.

Studies from Harvard Business Review and Gallup found a substantial increase in employee performance in a nurturing workplace environment; and this effect is amplified amongst already high-performing employees. Companies with high employee engagement and productivity typically report higher business growth, revenue, repeat customers, and profits.

3. Celebrate holidays and milestones.

The flexibility and social impact of a charity gift card allows you to use it to reward performance, acknowledge milestones, or just celebrate the holidays. According to a survey from KPMG and feedback from GlobalGiving’s corporate partners, employees actually prefer to be given opportunities to make a positive impact over trinkets. Not only do they prefer it, but employees that are engaged are more productive at work and will remain at a company longer, both of which increase their value and ultimately contribute to your bottom line.

4. Impress prospective or new hires.

The average company spends up to $4,000 and more than 7 weeks recruiting, hiring, and onboarding new talent. Hiring the right people is expensive. Use charity gift cards to incentivize applications, entice promising applicants, and engage with millennials, who are actually willing to take a pay cut to work at a company that takes social impact seriously. Proving an opportunity to do good before a prospect is even hired will help set the tone and give them an idea of what your company culture is like.

5. Make customers and clients feel special.

Like employees, a 2015 report from Nielsen shows that customers too are more willing to pay a premium price for goods and services if the company selling those are engaged in some kind of philanthropy. Charity gift cards can help make your cause marketing tangible. Customers even purchase more of a good or service when a donation is included in the transaction. They can also be great gifts to thank your top customers, especially millennials.

6. Build connections with business partners.

In the dynamic and tech-centric markets of today, strategic business partnerships are increasingly valuable to the success of your company or organization. Charity gift cards can be a great way to sweeten a deal and let a potential partner understand your priorities. Shared value is the crux of any effective business partnership. Gift cards can also reward partners that perform well, or help you collaborate with your partners to maximize the impact and reach of your philanthropic activities. The reality is that these partners can break or make your brand—charity gift cards can help accomplish the latter, providing mutual benefits all around.

7. Improve your bottom line.

The flexibility of charity gift cards make them perfect tools for engaging all types of stakeholders at all points in a business lifecycle. Gift cards can help you improve your company’s financial performance by cultivating more engaged and energized employees, prospective hires, customers, clients, and business partners. Perhaps, best of all, every time a stakeholder uses a charity gift card, it means your company is improving lives and doing good in the world outside your walls. After all, who needs one more necktie anyway?

Featured Photo: Support Young People by Boys and Girls Club of Canada

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