Savvy employers are tuning in to the idea that employees and consumers feel good about working for, and buying from, companies that give to charitable causes. Whether it's Pepsi's Refresh social media project, which funds community projects chosen by consumers through online voting, or the (RED) campaign, which works with some of the world's most iconic brands to give part of the companies' profits to those living with HIV and AIDS, employers are getting on board with giving back.

"The trends around workplace giving are part of a larger trend of companies investing more time, attention and resources in CSR [corporate social responsibility] and community investment initiatives," says Bryan de Lottinville, CEO of Benevity, a Calgary, Alta.-based company that has recently launched new software designed to help organizations streamline their workplace giving programs. "Workplace giving programs are an increasing part of the HR toolkit around employee engagement, attraction, retention, brand and reputation and productivity."

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