100 questions to ask about social impact in the workplace

Ever wonder why the social impact and community engagement program in your workplace is the way it is? If you're in charge of the program--or if you wish you were--you'll need to get familiar with the questions people like you are asking about employee engagement through corporate philanthropy and social impact activities. Then, you can start to create even more ways for you and your colleagues to get involved.

Here are 100 questions to help you start sketching out your ideas. 

  1. How can I quickly check out a charity that is requesting a donation?

  2. What are the best websites to review a nonprofit's financials, and is it better to support small charities or large charities?

  3. What are the keys to motivating employees to participate in our community engagement program?

  4. How should we track employee engagement in the program?

  5. Should we have an employee committee, and if we have one already, how should it operate?

  6. What do employees need to know about serving on a nonprofit board of directors?

  7. Should we find out which boards our employees already serve on?

  8. Are there any risks to the company when an employee serves on a nonprofit board of directors?

  9. What happens when certain employees just don't like volunteering?

  10. Should we require employee participation in Days of Service?

  11. Should we give employees paid time off for volunteering?

  12. What advice can I give our employees about planning their charitable giving budgets?

  13. What kind of cake should we serve at the kick off for our community engagement program?

  14. What's an example of a checklist we can offer employees to show them all the options they have to get involved in the community through the company?

  15. Can you show me a few sample marketing materials from a company that is doing a good job of celebrating community engagement?

  16. Are bake sales to raise money for charity really making a comeback?

  17. What's a good ballpark range for donating to a charity for the first time?

  18. How do I engage employees across generations . . . X, Y and beyond?

  19. What community engagement activities best appeal to new employees, and what activities are better suited for employees with a long tenure with the company?

  20. What is the biggest mistake you've seen a company make related to its community engagement program?

  21. Can we ever write a check to an individual employee to carry out a charitable activity?

  22. Should our company consider donating assets besides cash? How does recycling fit into our community engagement program?

  23. Should our company try to purchase products and services from other companies that are "doing good"?

  24. How does cause marketing relate to employee community engagement?

  25. Should we ask our employees to share their stories of community involvement as a way to boost brand?

  26. Should we list the charities we support on our website, or does that create unintended challenges?

  27. Are there ways we can involve employees' children in our community engagement program?

  28. Can you tell me a funny story about a community engagement program?

  29. What is the best way to quickly train our employees about the company's community engagement program?

  30. What items should be "off limits" for a canned food drive?

  31. Should we offer incentives for an employee's participation in our community engagement program, such as dollars for doers?  

  32. What are employees' favorite charities and why?

  33. What do I need to know about "adopt-a-family" campaigns in the workplace?

  34. What's the advantage of donating food, clothing and necessities over cash, or vice versa?

  35. How frequently should we consider doing a "drive" for clothing, canned goods, or necessities?

  36. Where can I find a few suggestions for ways to engage our employees across the seasons--spring, summer, fall, winter?

  37. What are some websites I can look at to get examples of companies doing innovative things with their community engagement programs?

  38. Are there red flags I should look at when I am researching charities for our employees and company to support?

  39. Should I worry about funding a single charity for too many years in a row?

  40. How well should I know the executive director at our largest grantee charity?

  41. How can I use employees' Social Impact Personality Types to increase retention?

  42. What data points do employees want to see about their own involvement in the community?

  43. How does our community engagement program support our overall wellness program?

  44. What are the unique characteristics of community engagement messaging across genders?

  45. How can I make sure our community engagement program reflects our company's commitment to diversity?

  46. What's the best community engagement message to use when we are recruiting?

  47. Should our company start its own charity?

  48. Do we need to select a primary corporate cause for our community engagement program to look legitimate?

  49. Should the charities we support align with our business in some way?

  50. How should I be evaluating a charity's financials?

  51. Do I need to worry about a charity that supports a controversial social issue?

  52. How can we make sure we are supporting the CEO's favorite charity--without looking like we are playing favorites?

  53. Should we support schools and religious organizations?

  54. How can I leverage the holiday giving season to improve workplace culture?

  55. Is there a best time of year to launch or reboot our community engagement program?

  56. Is there a way to incorporate employees' birthdays into our community engagement program?

  57. How can our community engagement program balance and respect the affluence of some employees with the challenged economic circumstances of other employees?

  58. Should we encourage or discourage employee-driven fundraising activities, such as walks, runs and bake sales?

  59. Should the company endorse and support disaster relief efforts, both locally and nationally?

  60. How can I better understanding the executive suite's perspective on philanthropy?

  61. How can I make it easy for our CEO to show leadership of the community engagement program while still respecting his or her time?

  62. What reports should I deliver to our corporate leadership to show results from our community engagement program?

  63. What are the opportunities and pitfalls of incorporating social media into our community engagement program?

  64. Should our LinkedIn page reflect our community engagement program?

  65. Should we have a separate Twitter handle for community engagement?

  66. How can I work with our marketing department in leveraging our community engagement program to drive brand?

  67. What support should I expert from our marketing department for collateral materials about our program?

  68. What is the best way to capture our program on the company website?

  69. How should I handle employee requests to support a brand new charity?

  70. When is it okay to tell an employee no to a community engagement idea?

  71. How much weight should our program place on employee involvement as a measure of success?

  72. Should I be using the word "philanthropy," or is that off-putting to employees?

  73. Should we name our community engagement program?

  74. Why are t-shirts so effective to boost the success of a community engagement program?

  75. What are the easiest, fastest ways for an employee to get involved in the community?

  76. What happens if an employee simply doesn't want to participate?

  77. What are the risks of a "corporate cram down" approach to community engagement?

  78. What's the best professional focus for our community engagement meeting agendas?

  79. What do I need to know about buying tickets and tables to galas and golf tournaments?

  80. What part of a charity event ticket is deductible? How can achieve more success with filling tables?

  81. What are the best ways to engage the "Investor" Social Impact Personality Type of employee?

  82. What are the best ways to engage the "Connector" personality?

  83. What is your Social Impact Personality Type, and does it correlate to your Myers-Briggs type?

  84. What's up with the "Activator" personality and can you every truly engage them?

  85. Should our company set up a donor-advised fund? Is a corporate foundation the way to go?

  86. What's the best way to budget for a community engagement program and donations to charity?

  87. Do I need to talk with our executive team about "impact investing," and what is it?

  88. Should our community engagement program include scholarships?

  89. Is "civic engagement" an out-of-date term?

  90. How do I show that our community engagement program improves the bottom line?

  91. Should we stop supporting charities that don't write us thank you notes?

  92. What is going through the minds of today's employees as they check out socially-conscious employers?

  93. What are the three things I need to know about the tax impact of giving to charity?

  94. Where can I find professionals who are qualified to answer these questions?

  95. How can I increase participation in our matching gifts program without breaking our budget?

  96. What's the best way to track a matching gifts program?

  97. What's a good target for our overall community engagement budget based on other companies like us?

  98. How can I plan community engagement activities throughout the year?

  99. How much of our community engagement program should be tracked online?

  100. What are the three most important statistics I absolutely need to know about social impact in the workplace?

SuccessLaura McKnight