Chances are your employee giving program doesn’t yet have a 100% participation rate. What should you do next to reach your program’s full potential?
Here are 10 tactical tips for leaders tasked with engaging employees through charitable giving at their companies:
1. Gather feedback.
Getting feedback is critical to the long-term success of your employee giving program. You can send out a survey, conduct one-on-one interviews, or set up a focus group to learn from employees what matters most to them. You can also select an employee giving solution that provides employees with the opportunity to provide feedback each time they donate.
2. Be consistent.
If employees know what to expect from your program, they’ll be more likely to participate. Launch a holiday giving campaign or an annual corporate giving month, then plan to stick to the same timing and terms each year. With well-established flagship programs, you can schedule time at all staff meetings well in advance and advertise programs on your company’s careers page so that everyone hears about them when they join your company.
3. Make it part of the company culture.
If you are underwhelmed by low employee participation in your one-time campaign, think about how you can incorporate a charitable mission more into your company’s year-round operations. Mission-oriented companies might introduce volunteer opportunities to new hires at orientation and swap out typical swag for gifts that give back.
4. Build a brand.
Tie together your employee giving initiatives under their own brand, hashtag, or logo. Programs with names and slogans are more memorable and can connect the giving program to your company’s values. Here are some favorites:
5. Communicate effectively and share your message widely.
Advertising experts say a message has to be seen at least three times before viewers take action. Are employees seeing your message? Here are three ideas to get more visibility for your program:
- Work with company leaders to have a personalized email appeal sent by the CEO or another member of the C-Suite.
- Include your brief program message in email newsletters, on workplace social media channels, and on the company intranet.
- Use digital signage or guerrilla marketing tactics. If you have a physical office or shared workspace, paste stickers on cafeteria tables, place a popup banner in the lobby, or staff a table with giveaways and informational materials.
6. Set and share a goal, and measure your impact.
Whether you want to see half of all employees participate or you want to raise $100,000, SMART goal-setting and impact measurement is critical. How will you know if your program is successful?
7. Offer choice.
Make sure your employee giving program is not supporting just one cause or one single nonprofit organization. The majority of companies allow employees to openly select where they donate, and programs that do have 75% higher engagement, according to CECP’s Giving in Numbers. Let employees choose among different cause areas, so that whether they are passionate about children, animals, or STEM, they can support a charitable project that is meaningful to them.
8. Lead by example.
Unlock employees’ generosity by first offering up a leading gift or a match. In either case, your company will be showing employees that the employee giving program is important enough for your company’s or foundation’s dollars to be dedicated.
9. Be human and responsive.
Inevitably, at any given time, many of your employees are dealing with challenges in their personal lives and their passion for your cause might change in response to current events or social movements. When you see the opportunity, update your messaging, extend your timeline, or provide more choice to be more in tune with what’s on employees’ minds. Don’t be afraid to change course in order to meet your employees where they are.
10. Know what doesn’t work.
We’ve seen lots of giving campaigns fail. Learn from their mistakes and from your own.
- Don’t pressure management to give. While it is incredible if they choose to participate, employee giving should be optional.
- Don’t expect employees to give in the weeks and months after a disaster occurs. Unfortunately, we’ve seen most interest in disaster giving off quickly days after a crisis is no longer making headlines, so you need to activate with haste.
- Don’t expect giving participation to be the same in every country where you have employees. Giving culture varies in different regions around the world.