Trends in grant application and types of relief funds employees seek

As an employer, how do you even begin to customize your grant relief fund for your employees? Budgeting for this may be overwhelming as you don’t know what to expect. Some companies may think that that a family death is the leading cause of why someone may end up needing financial assistance. Although that is one of many reasons why employees seek assistance, a serious illness or injury is the most common requested grant, followed by a natural disaster.

The percentage of employees who apply for grants and how they help fund the program is substantially determined by the five main factors below:

  1. Is the program broad or narrow?
    1. Does it include many common types of events and expenses, or
    2. Is it narrowed to only include a few events, such as natural disasters and related expenses?
  2. Does the employer effectively communicate the program to employees?
    1. How well do employees understand the benefit?
    2. Are employees provided frequent feedback of success stories?
  3. Are employees encouraged to help fund the program?
    1. Do communications about the program encourage donations to assist fellow employees, or
    2. Do they only promote opportunities to receive a grant when an employee is impacted by an event?
  4. The employee demographics and geographical dispersion.
  5. Did a large-scale disaster event occur affecting many employees in the area?

When implementing your employee assistance program and setting up the initial funds it may be most beneficial to begin with a narrower set of event and expense criteria.  As time goes on, you can re-evaluate, expand and customize your fund parameters.

Employers can make reasonable estimates of application volume for budgeting purposes, even during the initial launch of the program. Once the results of actual activity (including both donations in and grants out) are known, the budget should be recast

Truly thinking through the criteria for assistance, the types of disasters your fund will assist with, and educating your employees how they can benefit and help others,  creates the most beneficial results.

Doug Stockham

Lori Rogers
Director of Corporate Operations

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