St. Paul-based Augeo is partnering with a global nonprofit organization to take employee loyalty and reward points and turn them into charitable donations.

Many companies use employee loyalty and reward points to recognize their employees’ service anniversaries and extraordinary efforts. Under many programs, employees redeem those points for small gifts or gift cards.

Augeo — a provider of employee loyalty and customer-engagement programs — is now partnering with Me to We, the social-enterprise arm of Toronto-based nonprofit WE.org. Employees, if they choose, can use small donations to fund micro giving and development programs in Africa, Asia and South America.

Companies constantly are looking at the best ways to recruit and retain employees. One way to keep those talented employees is to enrich their engagement with the company. Studies show that some of the strongest ways to improve engagement are programs that demonstrate social commitments to local, national and international communities and by allowing employees to participate in those programs.

“Micro-giving opportunities open an exciting new channel for motivating engagement and fostering loyalty. Traditionally, loyalty rewards have been largely transactional,” said Augeo’s CEO, David Kristal, in a release.

The Me to We partnership will allow employees to use loyalty points “to save lives.” Small contributions when aggregated across programs can create big opportunities, said Kristal, who recently was named a board member of the Star Tribune Co.

“Thanks to Augeo’s support, redeeming points can change the life of a child, a mother, a family or an entire community.” said Craig Kielburger, co-founder of the We organization, in a statement.

Those who contribute through Augeo will get updates on the Me to We programs so they can see how their donations were used.

The Me to We partnership will be a standard offering in all of Augeo’s programs, but clients can opt out if they choose.

“Charity has always been a part of the redemption process, but its been highly underutilized,” said Erik Sorensen, Augeo’s chief product officer. “We really wanted to find a solution and partner that could deliver a more engaging and innovative way to convert employee currency into something good.”

To start, when employees redeem their rewards, they will be asked to make a roundup donation to Me to We.

However, the program can extend deeper into the human-resource function if a company chooses. For example, Sorensen said, managers could add a Me to We donation on top of an award they give to employees.

Because Augeo’s programs reach 30 million employees, Sorensen expects the collective impact of the donations to be significant. “The potential scale at maturity would be millions of impacts per year.”