My greatest honor: serving our country

By Dave Selzer, VP

Former U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class

July 4, 1976: On America’s birthday, I found myself at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center being handed a white plastic bag and led on to a bus. We left the base and made our way to Solider Field in Chicago where we were lined up, asked to don our plastic bags and stood there as we were photographed. I now am part of a world record at a great football stadium — a world record for being part of the largest human American Flag.

This was the start of a 46-year ride of service to my country, and it was an amazing start. From Great Lakes, I was fortunate enough to pull a temporary “sales” assignment working with the recruiting command out of the Glenview Naval Station. My company commander in boot camp told the Navy that it appeared I knew a lot of people in the Chicagoland area, as almost every day somebody showed up at the gate with cookies or other snacks. I never received any of these but apparently my Commanding Officer loved them. After my recruiting assignment, I reported to the Naval Air Station in Meridian Mississippi where I completed my “A” school and was awarded the rate of Disbursing Clerk. I finished in the top three of the class and as a result ended up with “shore duty” for my first assignment: a remote post in Winter Harbor Maine. Not bad but I signed up for blue water, warmth and ports of call.

Maine proved to be a maturing experience. One of only two disbursing clerks, I had to learn to work independently and put in many hours. In addition to my day job from 6am to 6 pm, five days per week we stood watch every other day. I was assigned to the base fire department and ambulance which also covered many of the area towns as they did not have fire service. I was a young 18-year-old going out on accident calls, delivering a baby and doing CPR. It was definitely a time to grow up. When my time came to leave Maine, I wished I could stay, but the cold would be left behind as I joined the commissioning crew for the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) – just me and 6,000 of my shipmates who were ready to set sail on adventure.

Being the newest nuclear powered aircraft carrier in the fleet, they put us to sea to show us off around the world. The work was hard but the rewards were great. We travelled to St. Thomas, St. John, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, Cuba (where I stood watch on the fence), Spain, Portugal, Italy (six ports), Yugoslavia, Greece, Turkey, and Israel. They were fun times but not without work. We worked 12 on, 12 off schedules at sea and had to stand watch while in port. A lot of guys would take my watch for me so I could go ashore more – this of course was in exchange for them to get front of the line privileges on payday (we paid everyone in case and lines were long).

While I was part of the Cold War Navy, we were brought in to a tough time when 52 American Diplomats were taken hostage by Iranian students. We were responsible for prepping and delivering equipment and supplies for a failed rescue mission which resulted in the death of eight shipmates on 4-24-1980. The crisis lasted 444 days and ended one minute prior to President Regan taking office. I still think of the shipmates I lost during my service. I think of them on Memorial Day and on Veterans Day as they gave the ultimate sacrifice: All gave some, some gave all.

When I enlisted to serve this great country, I took an oath – an oath that has no expiration and one that is payable with dedication, service and, if duty calls, giving my life. It reads:

“I, David Selzer, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

My service is one of the greatest honors of my life. To my fellow Veterans, thank you for your service. To all those who were not able to experience the great privilege of serving our country through military service, thank you for allowing me the great honor of serving you. Having travelled the way I have and seeing what I saw — good and bad — I can tell you we live in the greatest country on earth!

One final thought:  Many of my shipmates and I suffer from some of the side effects of military service — things you just do not think of. For me, sleeping ¾ of an inch under a steel flight deck has left my hearing impaired, and two years of standing while working on steel decks has had an adverse effect on my knees. These are not complaints but simple facts. Some of my shipmates have severe long-term disabilities as a result of their service for all of us. I think of them today and personally donated to the Hero’s Health Fund in their name. The money raised to support organizations that help our veterans is needed, as so many veterans (like myself) do not qualify for VA services. It is unfortunate but it gives all of us the opportunity to now serve those who served for us.

This Veteran’s Day, Support our Heroes

By Thomas Bognannohero

President & CEO, Community Health Charities

Not All Battles are Fought in a War Zone

Iraq War veteran and Purple Heart recipient Dale Beatty remembers the day his life changed forever. On November 15, 2004, Dale was injured when an IED explosion flipped his Humvee, causing him to lose both legs. “It’s amazing how clear everything becomes when you think your next breath could be your last,” Dale says.

After sacrificing and serving our country, heroes like Dale deserve to have every opportunity – for good health, for support and for employment – when they return home. But unfortunately, that is not always the case. The Hero’s Health Fund, managed by Community Health Charities, connects the most trusted health charities with caring donors who want to make a difference in the lives of first responders, military service members, veterans and their families.

For Dale and so many others like him, the return home can be just as challenging as their time on the battlefront. It’s often a matter of healing the wounds we can’t see – nearly one of every four active duty military members shows signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression or other mental health conditions. The threat of suicide remains unusually high. Returning to civilian life can be a time of joy, but also a time of emotional upheaval for the entire family. And for those with loved ones who never make it home, the healing process must begin.

Whether their injuries are physical, mental or both, the families who care for these heroes need a tremendous amount of support. Thanks to Fisher House Foundation, a participating charity in the Hero’s Health Fund, Dale’s wife Belinda and his children were able to stay by his side throughout the recovery and rehabilitation process. “Living in the Fisher House was home away from home,” Belinda says. “I was never alone and I could always talk to someone – you’re surrounded by love.”

Dale’s story has a happy ending. Today, he plays in a band, golfs and works to help other veterans. But he isn’t sure what would have happened if he hadn’t received help. “Without Fisher House, I don’t know what my prognosis would have been, or where I would be now not having my family next to me,” he says. “I remain forever grateful.”

The Hero Health’s Fund supports these fully-vetted and trusted organizations:

Fisher House Foundation – Lodging for veterans and military families receiving treatment at military medical centers

March of Dimes – Support for active duty military families, especially during pregnancy and when baby arrives

National Alliance on Mental Illness – Support for veterans with PTSD, depression and other mental health conditions

National Hospice and Palliative Care – Compassionate care for veterans at the end of life

Operation Restored Warrior – Healing programs for veterans and their families

Pet Partners – Therapy pets and animal-assisted interventions

Snowball Express – Serves and connects the children of fallen military heroes

Our military fights for us – let’s fight for them. To learn more about Community Health Charities and how the Hero’s Health Fund supports the mental and physical health of our nation’s heroes, please visit

We are also hosting a special Veterans Health session on November 16 at the U.S Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s 2016 Corporate Citizenship Conference in Washington, DC: Exploring Cross-Sector Collaboration to Advance Military, Veterans and First Responders’ Health. We’ll kick off the event with a keynote by First Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, and then an interactive panel moderated by Fox News Anchor Heather Nauert. The panel will feature Major General (retired) Mark Graham, Brigadier General (retired) Allyson Solomon, Marianne Downs from Lockheed and Kerri Childress, a Navy veteran and VP of Communications for Fisher House. Join us to hear more about the mental and physical health of our veterans and what we can do to help.

thomasbognannoAbout the Author

Thomas G. Bognanno, President & CEO of Community Health Charities, works with a network of nearly 2,000 trusted health charities across the country. The organization leverages health nonprofits with the overall wellness
and philanthropic strategies needed to engage employees in health initiatives, raise awareness and deploy critical funds for their charities –

Businesses Must Step Up in Zika Fight

By Thomas G. Bognanno, President and CEO, Community Health Charities

The head of the CDC just announced that Zika is “not really controllable with current technologies” and will become “endemic.” We know the virus causes life-altering birth defects by destroying brain growth in unborn babies. These children will never recover.

Read more on The Huffington Post.

Hurricane Matthew is Here: How You Can Help

By Thomas Bognanno

President & CEO, Community Health Charities

Community Health Charities is all helping people live healthier lives, whether they are facing a long-term personal health challenge or a crisis affects the overall health and wellbeing of their community. When natural disasters like Hurricane Matthew threaten the health and safety of others, it’s important to respond quickly and efficiently. That’s why we worked swiftly with our partner charities to create the Hurricane Matthew Response Fund. hurricane-matthew

Hurricane Matthew has barreled through the Caribbean and is making its way up the Eastern U.S. coastline, devastating communities from Haiti to Charleston, South Carolina. More than 400 lives have already been lost and many more injured. In the wake of this monstrous weather event, communities are scrambling to get access to basic needs – like food, clean water, shelter and medical services – to remain healthy and safe. The devastation of Hurricane Matthew is estimated to be nearly $50 billion.

Your support of the Hurricane Matthew Response Fund, managed by Community Health Charities, will provide families with:

  • Water filters
  • First aid
  • Hygiene kits
  • Blankets
  • Food
  • Housing
  • And much more

Please give now.

The Hurricane Matthew Response Fund supports emergency services provided by these leading charities:

Funds will be distributed to these charities who are actively working in emergency relief in Haiti and all areas affected by Hurricane Matthew. 100% of the funds raised will go to charity.

Our trusted charities are accountable, audited, and vetted using standards developed by the BBB WiseGiving Alliance, the National Health Council, and Guidestar.

Working together, we can do something right now to help. We can make a meaningful difference for the children, individuals, seniors and families whose lives, homes and health are at risk from Hurricane Matthew. Thank you for joining us.

thomasbognannoAbout the Author

Thomas G. Bognanno, President & CEO of Community Health Charities, works with a network of nearly 2,000 trusted health charities across the country. The organization leverages health nonprofits with the overall wellness
and philanthropic strategies needed to engage employees in health initiatives, raise awareness and deploy critical funds for their charities –

Help Us #ShowSomeLove During the Combined Federal Campaign

By Thomas Bognanno

President & CEO, Community Health Charities

The nation’s largest workplace giving campaign – the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) – is now underway. With donations topping nearly $200 million each year, the CFC raises critical funds for our member charities, bringing vital services and support programs to communities across the country.showsomelove

Join me in championing the health causes you care about most by posting a #ShowSomeLoveCFC selfie today and encouraging others to participate as well. You can make an impact by giving to one of many health causes supported by Community Health Charities and our members.

How does it work? Simply choose the health cause that is most important to you and then spread the word on social media using the hashtags #ShowSomeLoveCFC and #CauseAnImpact. It takes just a minute of your time, but the impact can be immeasurable for the millions
of Americans living with health challenges.

What health cause do you care about most?

  • Access to health care – Ensure that vulnerable populations across America have access to the care and health management tools they need
  • Camps for kids – Provide life-changing camp experiences for children with long-term health conditions
  • Children’s health – Improve child well-being by supporting the best children’s health charities in the United States
  • Community health – Provide critical health resources to communities affected by natural disasters and other crises
  • Education – Put an end to bullying, teenage pregnancy and other barriers to a safe and healthy learning environment
  • Human trafficking – Fund prevention and support services to end the trafficking of women and girls
  • Military & veterans – Protect the physical and mental health of our nation’s military, veterans and first responders
  • Research – Help find a cure for the diseases that impact that most Americans
  • Women’s health – Ensure that young women receive the health services and support they need to prosper

The next steps are easy. Use this sign to tell your friends, family, co-workers and others why you support health causes and how you are choosing to #CauseAnImpact. Take a selfie and then post it on social media to encourage them to join your efforts to fight for the health cause that is most important to you.

For example: I will #CauseAnImpact for Women’s health (fill in your choice here) with @HealthCharities. #ShowSomeLoveCFC

Working together, we can ensure the continued success of the CFC and make a meaningful difference for our member charities – and the millions of Americans they help each day.

To learn more about Community Health Charities, please call 800.654.0845 or contact us today. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

thomasbognannoAbout the Author

Thomas G. Bognanno, President & CEO of Community Health Charities, works with a network of nearly 2,000 trusted health charities across the country. The organization leverages health nonprofits with the overall wellness
and philanthropic strategies needed to engage employees in health initiatives, raise awareness and deploy critical funds for their charities –

The Arthritis Foundation Supports Juvenile Arthritis Families Every Step of the Way



By Ann Palmer
President & CEO, Arthritis Foundation

Our focus at the Arthritis Foundation is on a dynamic and multifaceted approach to conquering arthritis.

Our broad network of advocates is fighting to change state and federal legislation to make accessing treatments easier for patients. Our teams and extensive network of volunteers are present in local communities providing daily support for people across the country. We are creating tools and resources to help people live better now. And all the while, we are pursuing vital research to create new diagnostics, treatments and, ultimately, find a cure.

Many people know that arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the U.S., and affects more than 50 million Americans. But often overlooked or misunderstood is the population of children – an estimated 300,000 kids – who deal with this disease daily. (JA) creates unique challenges for families. From missed school days to feeling isolated from other children – from the ongoing need for shots and visits to the doctor, and even a nationwide shortage of doctors who treat the disease – JA families are challenged each day to overcome barriers most of us can’t even begin to fathom.

Because we recognize the needs of these families are unique and pressing, the Arthritis Foundation provides a plethora of resources to the children and families across this country that live every day with the effects of JA.

JA Research

Our commitment to conquering pediatric rheumatic diseases is unwavering. We have pledged $23.5 million in funding to JA research through the Childhood Arthritis & Rheumatology Research Alliance (CARRA). Data collection has already begun at CARRA and in one year alone, more than 60 new discoveries and insights into pediatric rheumatology have been made. This is life-changing research that will directly benefit the families we serve. The Arthritis Foundation continues to explore opportunities to invest in JA research and we’ve partnered with leading research organizations to do so.

JA Camps

Each year, we host approximately 50 JA camps nationwide – an incredibly meaningful experience that brings kids with JA together to make lasting memories. Surrounded by others like them while engaging in activities designed just for them, JA kids have a place to call home at our JA camps.

And through our partnership with Community Health Charities, companies and employees can support current JA camps and expand our existing network thanks to their new Camps for Kids with Health Challenges cause fund.

These camps are a source of togetherness, camaraderie and friendship for kids who often don’t get to meet and interact with others like them. We have heard from countless families about how important these camps are for their children.


JA Conference

The Arthritis Foundation’s JA Conference is an annual event that touches the lives of thousands of families. This year, we hosted two national JA Conferences to meet the needs of our diverse and broad JA community. Marked by sessions filled with opportunities to learn, grow and feel empowered, the JA Conference is a way we bring families together yearly so they don’t feel alone, and so they can share and grow with others like them.

Daily JA Support

Our website dedicated to pediatric conditions,, and tools like our JA Power Packs provide families with additional resources for the daily help and support they need – and to feel better, and live better, each day.

At the Arthritis Foundation, we recognize that the needs of families living with juvenile arthritis are unique. And we will continue fighting every day to support those needs while pursuing the path to a cure. We are here for you. We are all family.

To learn more, please visit

About the Author

ann-arthritis-foundationWith more than 30 years of experience within the voluntary health space, Ann has revolutionized the Arthritis Foundation’s approach, structure and focus to deliver the greatest impact in the lives of those with arthritis.

Since joining the Arthritis Foundation in 2013, Ann has established the organization’s four pillar areas, introduced an annual planning process to identify and measure priority outcomes and successfully implemented a consolidated structure. With a BS in education from the University of Delaware, Ann has a strong background at three large voluntary health organizations: the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Today, Ann is passionate about her work as leader of the Arthritis Foundation: “I am truly inspired by the dedication of our volunteers and the courage and perseverance of people with arthritis and their families. We are responsible for helping more people say Yes to conquering everyday challenges and to fulfill our mission of audaciously attacking arthritis and its effects.”

Uncovering the Truth About Alzheimer’s Disease

By Harry Johns
President & CEO, Alzheimer’s Association

Today, more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia, and over 15 million are acting as their caregivers. By 2050, the number of people living with the disease may rise as high as 16 million.

Each of these statistics is so much more than a number – each represents a person and a family who are facing the devastating consequences of Alzheimer’s. Despite the overwhelming burden this disease places on our nation and the deep concern of so many Americans, too many still don’t know or accept the realities of Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

To defeat this disease we must work together – and knowledge is the first step. During June, Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, the Alzheimer’s Association is asking you to help our country better understand the realities of dementia and share these facts with others.

The realities are:

  • Alzheimer’s is a fatal disease that kills more Americans each year than breast and prostate cancer combined. It attacks the brain, killing nerve cells and tissue, and affects an individual’s ability to remember, think and plan. Ultimately, people with the disease lose the ability to communicate and control movement, and require round-the-clock personal care. There are no survivors.
  • Alzheimer’s disease is more than memory loss. It presents itself through a variety of signs and symptoms that can be mistaken for other conditions – or can go undetected entirely.
  • Early detection matters. More than 5 million people are living with Alzheimer’s, but only about half have been diagnosed. Additionally, less than half (45 percent) of seniors diagnosed with the disease or their caregivers are aware of the diagnosis.
  • Caregiving can become anyone’s reality. As our population grows older, and more people reach an age of greater risk, an increasing number of friends and family of all ages will provide care to someone with Alzheimer’s. According to the 2016 Alzheimer’s Association Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, it’s estimated that 250,000 children and young adults between ages 8 and 18 provide help to someone with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia.
  • Women, African-Americans and Hispanics are at a greater risk for developing the disease. While everyone who has a brain is at risk to develop Alzheimer’s, African-Americans are about twice as likely as whites to have Alzheimer’s or another dementia, and Hispanics are about 1 ½ times as likely. Additionally, more than two-thirds of Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease are women.

These facts are a reality for millions of Americans — and that must change. As a nation, we’re rallying around this cause. We’ve got a national plan that targets effective treatment and prevention in less than 10 years and we believe we can ultimately do even better. To make that happen, the Alzheimer’s Association has led the way to milestones in federal funding, innovative research, care and support, but there is still much to do. And you can help.

I’ve seen firsthand the power that our dedicated advocates, constituents and volunteers can have in changing the course of this disease. During Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, visit to learn how you join us:

  • Learn about the disease and take action
  • Go purple to raise awareness
  • Spread the word on social media

No one should face this disease alone. Together, we can show the millions of Americans facing Alzheimer’s that we are here to help. And by doing so, we can each – and collectively – make a very real difference.

About the Author

health_charities_harry_johnsJohns is President & CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association, the global leader in Alzheimer’s and dementia advocacy, research and support. The Alzheimer’s Association has created and driven the public discussion about Alzheimer’s in America, raising the epidemic and its devastating human and economic consequences to unprecedented levels of recognition and support.

The Association provides care and support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with local services across the country, its toll-free Helpline and robust information for millions each month through its website. The Association has also achieved significant public policy advances, including the passage of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act and the creation of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease, the passage of the Alzheimer’s Accountability Act and increases in federal research investments that have more than doubled the available funding (including a $350 million increase in the past year). The Association’s global leadership in research includes breakthroughs that have changed the trajectory of dementia research, with over $80 million currently invested in more than 21 countries while annually convening the world’s largest gathering of Alzheimer’s and other dementia researchers.

Harry was appointed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in 2011 to serve as a member of the Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care and Services. Following the 2013 G8 Dementia Summit, he was named to the World Dementia Council. He also serves as CEO of the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement and on the Executive Committee of Research!America. Prior to joining the Alzheimer’s Association, he was one of the four members of the executive team of the American Cancer Society. Harry is a graduate of Eckerd College and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business.

What It Truly Means to Partner With Employees for Cause Engagement

By Derrick Feldman

Editor’s note: Derrick Feldman was a featured speaker at our recent Member Symposium in Chicago, where many of our trusted charities learned how to incorporate the results of his research into their outreach strategies to donors. Find out how companies can partner side-by-side with employees and organizations like Community Health Charities to make powerful changes in their community.

In the realms of nonprofit and corporate social responsibility, the word “partnership” is thrown out often. The partnering of organizations sometimes is as simple as swapping logos and engaging in promotions together. Other partnerships lead to a financial relationship where one may pursue a line of service together or in concert with the other.

But what does it mean to partner with your employees on cause engagement?

When asking organizations how they partner with employees on cause engagement, they typically respond with:

  • We let our employees use our cause engagement benefits as a way to further and deepen their interests in the community.
  • We work side-by-side with our employees to design volunteer projects.
  • We counsel with employees to hear what they would like us to focus on and the types of causes we should be helping.

These are not bad responses, but do they reflect the true nature of employee partnership today? Let’s take a look at two specific situations of how companies can partner with their employees.

Individual Choice

We hear a lot about choice today when it comes to the social and cause issues individuals want to address through workplace engagement. Some companies have used their employees’ interests and choices to institutionalize new ways to direct giving, service and skill-based involvement of the employee in the community. For instance, we see that individuals can have their gift matched to any nonprofit in the community or serve any organization of their choosing.

But is this truly partnership?

In this model, there is an assumption that the individual is self-aware of their interests in causes. But what if the employee doesn’t know yet where his or her interests lie? In comparison, it’s like offering a 401(k) program and letting the individual select the type of investments – but then he/she only chooses the default investment options, due to lack of knowledge of how to make the choice.

Companies can partner with employees by actively helping them identify where their interests may lie. For instance, when an individual starts employment at the company, he/she would be asked a few clarifying questions to understand his/her cause interest and participation level. The employee would then learn of the opportunities relative to his/her potential interests, including ways to experience the cause firsthand through the company.

The Unknown Issues

In studies we have performed, we consistently hear about “unknown” issues – issues that employees may have interest in, but don’t know enough about. When we hear that an organization or cause has fallen out of favor with employees, we always question whether or not the issue has been addressed through education and awareness enough to warrant a perception or attitude. This is an important question to consider. If your employees aren’t interested in a specific issue, is it because the cause is no longer relevant – or is it because the way they are educated or engage with the cause is no longer relevant?

While the brands of some causes exude perception and attitude, employees can still lack understanding of the issues the organization is addressing, and especially how those causes do their work. In this situation, companies have a real opportunity to partner with their employees to:

  • Build a wealth of knowledge among employees about issues

Take the time to help employees learn about issues through informal discussions, internal education campaigns and/or exposure to participating nonprofits.

  • Become a learning community on issues

Make the workplace an opportunity to learn about the issues affecting your employees and their communities. Bring them together to learn about social issues, the causes working to address them and ways to activate for them. Consistent learning through various new media can truly make a difference for employees and leadership to come together.

Some companies might see this approach as too intensive or overreaching. But in reality, a company with employees who believe in the power and capability of the workplace to come together for individual and corporate social issue engagement is one that will yield stronger affinity and value for the place where they spend 40+ hours a week.

Suppressing the social interests of employees during the work day can be a very challenging situation that no one feels good about. If we truly care about the communities where our companies reside, and the people who use our products and services, let’s go the extra mile to partner side-by-side with employees to use their assets to make change happen. In the end, not only does the community win, but so do the employees.

About the Author

Derrick FeldmanDerrick Feldman is a sought-after speaker, researcher and advisor for cause engagement. He is the lead researcher and creator of the Millennial Impact Report, a multi-year study of how the next generation supports causes, and the producer of MCON, a national annual conference that explores how organizations are taking advantage of today’s heightened interest in causes to create movements. Derrick is president of Achieve, a research and campaigns agency for causes and companies. He is also a co-author of Cause for Change: The Why and How of Nonprofit Millennial Engagement and Social Movements for Good: How Companies and Causes Create Viral Change. He regularly contributes to Philanthropy News Digest and Huffington Post.

Millennial Cause Engagement in the Workplace Requires an Established Program

By Derrick Feldman

Editor’s note: This post examines findings in the six-month update to the 2015 Millennial Impact Report. Learn why an established cause workplace program like Community Health Charities appeals to this critical group of employees.

The millennial generation (those born from 1980-2000) is known for “doing good” – that much we know for sure. But if you think cause engagement in the workplace by millennial employees just “happens,” you’re likely to be disappointed.

In partnership with the Case Foundation, we have been conducting research on millennials’ attitudes and behaviors toward cause work since 2010 through the Millennial Impact Project ( The 2015 Millennial Impact Report focused on cause work in the workplace in order to help companies and organizations:

  • Understand the relationships that drive participation in the workplace
  • Build corporate cultures that leverage cause work
  • Recruit and retain talented, passionate employees through cause involvement

The six-month update to the 2015 report looked at millennial employee cause engagement through a slightly different lens – to determine how the size, culture and availability (or lack) of cause work programs affect the participation of millennial employees and managers in company-sponsored cause work initiatives, and to establish whether such programs alone will retain employees of this generation.

To do so, we examined five companies of various sizes and with various levels of cause work programs (including volunteering opportunities, giving campaigns or both). So what did we find? Overall, companies with cause work programs have higher rates of participation – but these rates seem to decrease as the employee or manager’s tenure increases.

When looking at the views of millennial employees and managers on volunteering in company-sponsored initiatives, three key trends emerged:

Millennial employees are more likely to volunteer in company-sponsored cause work initiatives if the company has a formal cause work-related program.

Four of the five companies we examined had established or formal cause work programs. At these four companies, only about one-fourth of millennial employees and managers did not volunteer in 2014 – compared to more than half of millennial employees and a third of millennial managers at the company without an established cause work program.

Millennial employees at companies with established volunteer programs volunteer most during the first one to two years of employment.

The majority of millennial employees (ranging from 68% to 94%) at the four companies with volunteer programs participated in company-sponsored initiatives after being employed one to two years with the company.

Millennial employees and managers at companies with cause work programs are more likely to be influenced to volunteer by incentives and competitions – and again, most likely in the first few years of employment.

Nearly two-thirds of millennial employees and managers at companies with cause work programs are likely to be influenced to volunteer in company-sponsored programs by incentives (ex. a gift, name recognition, extra days off, etc.), compared to closer to half of employees at companies without established or robust programs. Similarly, approximately half of millennial employees and managers at companies with cause work programs are likely to volunteer if a competition is involved, compared to a third or fewer of employees or managers at companies without programs. For both groups, likelihood to participate decreases as tenure increases.

So, why does this information matter?

In most instances, millennial employees and managers at companies with established volunteer programs are more likely to participate in company-sponsored events and initiatives designed to give back than employees and managers at companies that may or may not offer such programs.

Reach Millennials by Establishing a Program Now

Overall, millennials want the opportunity to “do good.” Companies should embrace this passion for philanthropy by establishing well-thought-out volunteer programs and initiatives as a way to not only further their own commitments to being socially responsible, but to also create a culture that entices and helps retain millennial employees and managers. After establishing such a program, leadership should then determine the best way to create awareness within the company about the existence of the program and volunteer opportunities.

As we discovered in the three-month research update of the 2015 report, millennial employees and managers want to participate in cause work they feel personally passionate about. They also want to be involved in the planning process. When creating cause work programs and volunteer initiatives, consult team members at all levels to learn what causes they are most interested in and what initiatives would most entice them to participate.

In all instances, employers should gather feedback from both millennial employees and managers to discover how they like to be communicated with and involved in cause work programs. What types of initiatives would entice team members to participate – and to keep participating? How can the company’s volunteerism program be incorporated into the orientation process? How can managers help involve newer employees? Find the answers to these questions, and you’re on your way to establishing a successful cause work program.

About the Author

Derrick FeldmanDerrick Feldman is a sought-after speaker, researcher and advisor for cause engagement. He is the lead researcher and creator of the Millennial Impact Report, a multi-year study of how the next generation supports causes, and the producer of MCON, a national annual conference that explores how organizations are taking advantage of today’s heightened interest in causes to create movements. Derrick is president of Achieve, a research and campaigns agency for causes and companies. He is also a co-author of Cause for Change: The Why and How of Nonprofit Millennial Engagement and Social Movements for Good: How Companies and Causes Create Viral Change. He regularly contributes to Philanthropy News Digest and Huffington Post.

A Health Message for Women: 5 Ways to Change Your Mindset

By Kristi Hayes
Owner & Founder of KHOP Fit 

Recently, as I drove my son to preschool, I passed the YMCA and my eye was immediately drawn to a frazzled mom – baby on her hip, two kids she was trying to corral as they scampered across the parking lot, her gym/diaper bag barely hanging on the other arm. Her hair was a mess, and she looked a bit terrified like, “Am I really bringing all three kids here? Do I really expect to get a workout in?”

As I watched her, a flood of emotions came over me. You see, that was me – the exhausted mom who worked hard at her job during the day and still wanted to care for her family when she got home, but felt tapped out trying to do it all.

Women want so badly to do it all. We want to put our best foot forward in our workplace and our home, with our kids and loved ones. We want to care for the people we love, but we also want our career to thrive. We often spend so much time on these things that we lose ourselves in the process.

Despite my best intentions, the fact that I wasn’t making time for my own health was felt by those around me. It was only after I began to take care of myself that I could care for other people and pursue life with passion and purpose.

When I became a health and wholeness coach, I met women who were dealing with similar issues – exhausted, comparing themselves to others and with a boatload of insecurity sinking their soul.

As these women carved out time for themselves by making mindful, long-term choices about their nutrition, fitness and soul care, each one grew stronger in her own way – physically, emotionally, spiritually.

These women and I started by changing our mindset. Here’s how we began thinking differently:

1. Change Your Motivation

Why do you want to be healthy? To attain the unattainable standards the world places on body image? So you can have energy and stamina for your job and your loved ones? To live longer and to enjoy a full and healthy life? When we understand that self-care means more than striving for the Photoshopped body images portrayed in magazines, things change.

2. Have No Expiration

Don’t give your body or your health a time limit. Instead, commit to a healthy mindset for the long haul. I’m not a fan of diets or 21-day cleanses or “drink this and you’ll get perfect abs in 30 days” programs. There is just no magic trick or fast track to good health.

My favorite story comes from when our training group was sprinting in my neighborhood. A neighbor called out, “What are you training for?” One of our runners shouted back, “Just for life, sir, just for life.”

Find a workout you love and want to stick with – something that makes you feel strong and empowered and is fun. Find a nutrition plan that offers moderation and a menu you don’t dread cooking or eating. Food should never guilt or consume us; it should be enjoyable and satisfying. Enjoy life by making long-term life decisions.

3. Make a Plan

If you want to start working out, then make a plan. Write an appointment on your calendar, just like you would for your job. And don’t miss it! Taking care of your body, your soul, is everything.

If you need to start eating healthier, then PLAN ahead. Throw out the junk in your cabinets, decide what to prepare for next week’s meals, write a grocery list and shop. Buy a new cookbook, get some inspiration and find enjoyment in the process. You will never stick with something you dread.

4. Recruit a Cheering Section

Whether you are just starting this journey, getting back at it or have been in it for the long haul, find people who will come alongside you and keep you accountable – not only to cheer you on, but to call you out when you are not meeting your goals. We all need each other in our journeys.

5. Fill Your Tank

Write down five things that make you smile, feel alive, feel YOU. It could be writing, painting, reading, grabbing coffee with a friend or going for a run. When was the last time you did that? Schedule a time each week, so you fill your tank with the things you love. When your tank is full, you get to pour out that goodness on everyone else.

The key is to . . . just start. May is Women’s Health Month, so there’s no time like the present. Take the first step and then another one. Don’t wait until you have it all figured out. Do just one thing – don’t try to nail all five of them in one day. And don’t get discouraged – remember, you’re in this for the long haul.

If you need help or inspiration, check out the webinars, podcasts and online support offered by Community Health Charities and their network of nearly 2,000 trusted health charities across the country. I also write about the real world of moms and getting healthy, and I’d love for you to join the conversation on Facebook or online.

About the Author

KristiHayes-150x150Kristi Hayes is the owner & founder of KHOP Fit, a business that teaches others how to journey to health and wholeness through nutrition and fitness. Her greatest desire is to influence and inspire others to be the best version of themselves. She is a certified personal trainer and Level 1 CrossFit trainer. Prior to starting her business, she worked in Washington, DC as a lobbyist and helped with President Bush’s Advance Team. She has also worked with multiple nonprofit organizations.

On any given day, you will find Kristi walking on her hands with her kids, challenging others to do what they thought wasn’t possible in her garage gym or redecorating rooms in her house. She currently resides in St. Louis, Missouri with her family.