Setting up an employee disaster and hardship relief fund for employees 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 tangible way to offer employees support in tough times, helping to cover expenses not covered by insurance or other relief programs. However, relying on employee contributions alone can lead to a small, underfunded program that may not be able to provide for employees in the way the fund’s organizers originally intended.
Offering matched 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 employee participation. Employees are asked for contributions for many programs at work, from pension plans to charity initiatives. Asking them to contribute to the well-being of their fellow employees is not something many employees have experience with. They may be reluctant to participate if they feel that the company is using employees to perform a function they believe is actually the organization’s responsibility.
Matching employee contributions makes your staff partners in the fund, and reassures them that the company is standing behind the relief program. This lends value to the fund and increases employee confidence that it is a worthwhile cause on which to contribute their hard-earned money. Having a strong fund ready to be put to use is something that companies are increasingly finding valuable. “Putting your money where your mouth is” speaks louder than words when it comes to encouraging your staff to buy into the program as well. Overall, matching contributions means a more robust relief fund program, and a larger pool of money available for grants to employees in need.