October 7, 2014
Setting up a disaster and hardship relief fund for team members who are victims of natural disasters or who suffer severe personal hardship is a way for an organization to become not just an employer, but an employer that cares. A relief fund is a great way to offer team members support in tough times, helping to cover expenses not covered by insurance or other relief programs. However, relying on team member contributions alone can lead to a small, underfunded program that may not be able to provide for team members in the way the fund’s organizers originally intended.
Offering matching contributions can help ensure the long-term health of the fund in two major ways. Not only does matching double contributions, but it also encourages team member participation. Team members are often asked for contributions for many programs at work, from pension plans to charity initiatives - but asking them to contribute to a relief fund that can benefit fellow team members is not something many team members have experience with. They may be reluctant to participate if they feel that the company is using team members to perform a function they believe is actually the organization’s responsibility.
Matching team member contributions makes your team partners in the fund and reassures them that the company is standing behind the relief program. This lends value to the fund and increases team member confidence that it is worthwhile to contribute to the fund. Having a strong fund ready to be put to use is something that companies are increasingly finding valuable. Overall, matching contributions means a more robust relief fund program and that there are more grant funds available for individuals in need.