The Importance of a Philanthropic Culture in Securing Employee Retention

Alan Meltzer, CEO of The Meltzer Group, is a strong believer in giving back—and fostering the philanthropic spirit. Along with his wife, Amy, Meltzer launched the Meltzer Group Employee Giving Fund in 2005 as a way to increase giving to local nonprofits and to build a stronger philanthropic culture within his 30-year-old company.

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HOW IT WORKS: Each year, voluntary employee donations to the fund are matched by gifts from The Meltzer Group’s top three executives. The Fund’s steering committee surveys employees to decide on the focus for that year’s gift. Members of the committee then research potential beneficiaries in that chosen area and receive paid time off to go out and meet with representatives of the charities. “Management has nothing to say about which organizations get the money. [Employees] don’t ask me—they tell me,” says Meltzer, adding that whichever charity is chosen, his firm will not “prospect,” or try to sell that organization insurance services, for a period of three years. “We don’t want anyone to look at this as if we’re trying to benefit from it. We benefit from the goodwill in the community and our employees love it. It’s become a cultural thing in the company.”Meltzer 2

HOW IT’S GOING: Currently, more than 80% of The Meltzer Group’s employees contribute to the Fund. Since its inception, the Fund has distributed more than $400,000 to nonprofit organizations. For the past six years, The Meltzer Group has been ranked by Washington Business Journal as the No. 1 midsize corporate philanthropist in the D.C. area.

WHAT IT’S DONE FOR THE COMPANY: By empowering employees to give back to the charity of their choice, Meltzer says, the company has created a richer culture and deepened engagement and loyalty, which directly affects retention. “Nobody leaves us,” he says, estimating firm-wide retention at about 97%. As intermediaries between insurance companies and end consumers, “the job my folks have is not an easy job,” he adds. “So everything I can do to make the experience for the people at The Meltzer Group positive makes our brand better.”



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