by Deanna Ting | November 16, 2014
Organizations that want to engage their employees in corporate social responsibility have turned to Shoreline, WA-based nonprofit TisBest Philanthropy since 2007 for its unique charity gift cards. When employees receive a TisBest gift card, they can choose from more than 300 different charitable organizations to whom they can donate their gift card amounts.

"Think of it as a gift card that's just like the ones you're familiar with," says Jon Siegel, executive director of TisBest. "It's just like iTunes or Starbucks gift cards, but instead of going to a store or online, you go to our website and choose from any of the 300 charities on the site," he explains. "You can choose up to three charities to receive the money denoted on your gift card, and we distribute funds to organizations on a quarterly basis."

Charitable organizations that participate in TisBest's program include the Red Cross, the Humane Society, Doctors Without Borders, and St. Jude's Children's Hospital.
TisBest got its start in 2007 and was rimarily thought of as a consumer solution for chairtable giving, explains Siegel. "Our founder, Erik Marks, is an attorney. His uncle had a birthday and Erik only had $30 to spend, and he wanted to give his uncle a thoughtful gift. When Erik retired, he took a whole chunk of funds and built the basic website of what we have today." 

Since that time, TisBest has evolved into the corporate giving sector, says Siegel. "It's a great opportunity in the business world for charity gifts and gifts of charity, especially today with the the growth of corporate social responsibility. We  see a growing opportunity for charity gift cards in the business setting."

Siegel says that the gift of charity gift cards can make a "fantastic thank-you." "We've worked with a number of organizations that have used our cards in a number of different ways," says Siegel. "Their strongest application is as a way of saying thanks, and a way of engaging empployees through philanthropic activities."

TisBest gift cards, Siegel notes, are engaging because they "allow employees to be a part of the process." He says that two organizations have used them as length-of-service awards as tokens of appreciation for their employees and to foster employee recogntion and loyalty.

Employee response, says Siegel, has been very positive, especially among Millennials. "I'm hearing pretty regularly that newer employees really have an expectiation that their companies are consciously working hard to make the world a better place. They want to know the CSR values that the comapanies are espousing and following up on."

TisBest gift cards are available in both traditional plastic and electronic form and can be branded at no additional cost. "For a corporate order with a bunch of cards, we're happy to help them do that. We also have an option to brand the redemption process as well, or throughout the entire process." That type of branding, however, says Siegel, may require some additional costs.