Like most businesses, our office receives an abundance of mail and packages delivered each day. Most of us don’t think too much about the lives of the carriers who delivered them. What do they do outside of work? Where do they live? What do they love about their work? What are their dreams, hopes and aspirations?  

Our front desk manager Nicole is the exception. She gets to know the drivers and postal carriers very well, as she sees and interacts with them every day. Nicole brought to our attention last week that one of the drivers just lost his wife to a two-year battle with cancer. He and his two kids (ages 6 and 12) are going it alone. We still don’t know much more about him other than the pain and sadness he must be feeling now. Not to mention the new challenges he’ll need to overcome to raise his children while struggling through his own grief.

Nicole decided she wanted to do something to help and suggested our office create a fund. This request turned into a custom reward within our catalog where employees can redeem their YouEarnedIt points towards the fund. In just two days the fund has become the second most redeemed item in our employee reward catalog. This goes to show that happiness at work has a lot to do with giving back…paying it forward.


This inspired us to take a look at some of the ways in which our current customers are making it easier for their employees to help others, pay-it-forward, and make donations. We made some interesting discoveries and thought we’d share:

    • Nearly all of our customers have added some type of donation-based rewards to their redemption catalogs.


    • Top donation cards include National Park Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, World of Children, Charity Choice, and Pencils of Promise.


    • One customer has created three custom donations based on the requests of their employees. Employees are redeeming their reward points to help out two local families with cancer and one family who has a baby in need due to an illness.


    • Other customers have focused their giving on local non-profits and causes within their communities or regions. Last year, YouEarnedIt created a custom reward to raise funds to help rebuild homes in Moore, Oklahoma, following a massive tornado. We then drove as a team to hand-deliver a check of raised funds and spent two days cleaning up home sites. It was inspiring to see the team spend their points (and weekend time!) to give back to others.


    • Many employees are choosing to redeem their earned points to “buy” more points to give to others. This supports our hypothesis that it’s not about what you get, but about what you give others. The act of giving recognition seems to be a more important driver to engagement at work than receiving a reward incentive.


    • Perhaps the most compelling discovery was that the option to pay-it-forward with employee rewards was driven by employee requests vs. a traditional top-down corporate giving program. YouEarnedIt has allowed customers to listen to their teams, respond to their needs, and allow employees to receive rewards that matter to them.



    People want to help others. Acts of kindness generate good feelings, a sense of social connection and strengthened ties to others. Courtesy is contagious and has a viral-like effect when enabled with the right tools.  By giving employees an easy and meaningful way to give back to local or global causes, employees build a stronger sense of loyalty to their company and co-workers and higher levels of overall engagement. One of the top desires we all have is to contribute to something greater than ourselves, to have meaning, and connecting this basic need in all of us to how we engage employees seems simple and effective.

    Tim Ryan