Tips and inspiration to engage
employees in giving this year

Yes, you can build forts and
no, you don’t have to be a kid

Today, there are five generations in the workforce working side-by-side, each with their own set of values and beliefs—creating a dilemma for business leadership and human resources professionals around how to best engage everyone. There might not be a one-size-fits-all-approach, but one thing is clear: people of all ages want to work for companies that encourage them to bring their passion for social issues to the workplace, and support them in making a difference. In fact, 51% of people won’t work for a company that doesn’t have strong social commitments, and 74% of people say their job is more fulfilling when they are provided opportunities to make a positive impact at work*. This presents a clear opportunity to leverage an employee giving program as a talent attraction, engagement, and retention strategy.

Whether the world of corporate social responsibility is new to you, or you’re a seasoned professional, you can probably relate to the challenge of continually coming up with fresh ideas to keep people engaged throughout the year.

Along with so many other workplaces, these best-in-class companies drove innovative employee engagement activities in 2018, and stepped up to the plate at the end of campaign to cross the $50 million mark, ensuring the maximum possible investment back into our community. To help inspire your organization, we are featuring a few stories from these companies (and partners of United Way) that experienced incredible results with their campaign. Read on to find out how they did it.

Interested in partnering with United Way to boost the
results of your giving program and do local good?
Contact Lynn Holdsworth or learn more here.

In 2018, Canadian Natural celebrated its 30-year partnership with United Way and they had some ambitious goals: increase company participation in the campaign, amplify participation in volunteer opportunities, and find a new way to engage young professionals.

Canadian Natural Resources Limited

So Canadian Natural set to work: they doubled the number of volunteer activities they held in 2018 and implemented their own Gen Next program within their organization, targeting employees in their 20s and 30s. As a result, Canadian Natural was able to meet their goals and even received the Gen Next Award at United Way’s annual awards ceremony in 2019!
To build even further on their philanthropy, Canadian Natural generously increased their corporate gift by an additional $75,000—helping drive transformational change in the lives of local people.

NOVA Chemicals

NOVA Chemicals is another standout. For the past three years they’ve had an average participation rate of
60 per cent. NOVA helps strengthen their campaign with executive support, including the involvement of an executive sponsor throughout the campaign.

Employees at NOVA have made an impact not only with United Way, but with many other organizations across the city, including United Way-funded agency Women in Need Society. In 2018, NOVA focused on impact through volunteering and Day of Caring® opportunities, leading to a deeper, more engaged connection to community. Plus, NOVA generously increased their corporate match by $100,000 to do even more local good!


Community impact is built right into Nutrien’s mission. This company is a passionate supporter of the community—with Nutrien’s Leslie O’Donaghue, Executive VP, Chief Strategy and Corporate Development Officer, sitting on United Way’s Board of Directors, the organization educates their workplace on the work and impact of local agencies, including United Way and United Way-funded agencies. In 2018, Nutrien’s campaign committee took a personalized, information-based approach to achieve this: they enlisted floor ambassadors to drop information at desks and engage in individual conversations around the importance of giving.

During their campaign, the committee planned an innovative event that saw employees building forts using cardboard boxes, sheets, and other miscellaneous items in the main rotunda of their office. Following the fort building event, the group donated an abundance of sleeping bags, blankets, and care packages to the Calgary Drop-In & Rehab Centre. The company continues to be dedicated to doing local good through corporate gifting, and generously topped up their investment with an additional $90,000 during campaign in 2018.


As a long-time partner, Shell runs a best-practice employee-engagement campaign with a strong volunteer base. Employees across Canada volunteer on the campaign committee, and call into weekly meetings to drive consistent campaigns and messaging across all locations. In 2018, Shell debuted a new initiative called "Shell Fuelling Kindness.” This volunteer initiative aimed to engage employees in volunteerism and increase involvement with agencies in the local community.

Shell kicked off their campaign with a blitz speaker day—where impact speakers and United Way representatives helped educate and create awareness with employees—and hosted a number of supporting events. From September 1–October 31 last year, hundreds of employees in Calgary stepped up to support 15 organizations with hundreds more hours of volunteering, including a range of activities such as sandwich making, donation sorting, package assembly, cleaning, and more. Shell continues to step up to support the local community and generously committed an extra $100,000 to their corporate match in 2018, helping to improve local lives.

Inspired with new ideas to do local good for your 2019 campaign? Get in touch with us to start planning today!