There aren’t many companies that will reward a $5 donation to charity with a $2,200 vacation, but retail consultant Experticity is one of them.
Starting this July, each of the 240 employees at the Salt Lake City-based company have the opportunity to take a trip to Nepal, Bolivia, Kenya, or Ecuador.
All they have to do is stay at the company for at least a year and participate in one of the company’s six payroll giving programs, no matter the amount they set aside. So far 75 employees participate in the program.
Heather Mercier, Experticity’s CFO, said the program is designed to encourage more charitable giving among employees and increase employee morale and company pride.
The initiative follows a smaller, 2016 lottery the company held to send two people to Bolivia. As the one-year anniversary of that lottery drew closer, the company wanted a way to sweeten the deal. Mercier said the decision to open it up to all participating employees was a no-brainer, based on all the positive feedback to the lottery.
“The email responses I received – it was quite touching how much it means to people,” Mercier told Business Insider.
The company’s payroll giving program draws a portion of the employee’s pre-tax income to donate to charity. Over the next 18 months, Experticity will award “grants” for one of four trips that the company coordinated with the nonprofit CHOICE Humanitarian, which hosts expeditions around the world.
Each expedition package costs $2,195, which Experticity covers in full. It also covers the airfare, lodging, transportation, and any food costs employees incur during the trip. Each employee can take a trip once every two years.
The first trip takes place over Thanksgiving, in Nepal. The second is over Easter, in Bolivia, followed by a summertime trip to Kenya, and finally an additional Thanksgiving trip to Ecuador. Each trip lasts about eight days. During that time, employees will sleep and eat alongside locals and carry out specific projects, like construction or gardening.
According to Mercier, the trip is a more elaborate extension of the company’s mission to create helpful employees, who are quick to assist a colleague in need. Already she’s received emails from people saying Experticity’s decision to make the lottery a wider benefit to all reaffirms why they love working there in the first place.
Ultimately, Mercier hopes the grant will entice at least 50% of the 240 employees to join the giving program, if not every single one. But any increase is welcome, she said.
“Doing something good in the world, I know that will create bonds” between people, Mercier said. “I think it’s absolutely the right thing to do.”