15 Easy Ways to Engage Employees in Corporate Philanthropy
Mar 6, 2017 - Tami Brown, Client Solutions
With corporate social responsibility on the rise, it’s essential to figure out exactly how your business plans to participate and what you can do to make a difference. A whopping 76% of Millennials consider a company’s social and environmental commitments when deciding where to work. But, creating an actual program isn’t the only factor to consider.
Once you know how you want to make an impact either on society, the environment, or both, how do you actually get your employees involved?
If you’re new to the world of CSR, don’t worry! We compiled a list of ideas you can put into action today to help employee engagement and start making a difference. Take a look:
1. Lead By Example
So you want employees to engage with your company’s CSR efforts? Well, first things first, you need to be a role model. How can you expect them to be involved if you and others in management aren’t? Once employees see you interacting and doing things to volunteer, donate, and more they are sure to follow along.
How: Write a quick blog post or intranet post about your first CSR experience. Whether it was a disaster, hilarious or touching, putting yourself out there will inspire your team!
2. Let Them Lead
One of the best ways to get people involved is by actually making it their responsibility. If you notice a lack of enthusiasm, try letting some employees create their own plans and ideas on how the company can get involved. This added task will provide them with a sense of pride and give them a reason to want to engage.
How: Notice a receptionist taking the lead over his manager? See an account rep getting others involved? The great thing about CSR initiatives is they can transcend company hierarchy. Put the ‘little guy’ in charge and watch your programs flourish.
3. Keep Track of Your Impact
When people take the time to get involved or participate in a CSR program, they want to know the impact they are making. Keep track and monitor your donations or volunteer hours. This also gives you the opportunity to set team or yearly goals that everyone can work towards. It makes it fun, informative, and shows employees the good they are doing in real time.
How: Corporate philanthropy software often includes engagement software that includes counters, deadlines, custom microsites and more. When your team can view their shared impact, engagement shoots through the roof!
4. Get Others Involved
Corporate Responsibility doesn’t have to be limited to just employees and management. Encourage everyone to get others involved as well! After all, 75% of employees said they are very likely to recommend corporate volunteering to their peers. So, take advantage and maybe even make it a challenge to invite as many people as they can and create a huge event. The more involved, the better!
How: Create a leaderboard online or in the breakroom and send out invites to participate. For many, the lure of competition will get them engaged faster than you imagined!
5. Make Opportunities More Accessible
Between work, family, and other life events employees are busy and sometimes it can seem daunting to have to donate or volunteer on top of all their other daily duties. So, make it a little easier on them. Find ways to incorporate these into their work day. Or, better yet, make an actual event of it and spend the day helping others instead of cooped up in the office.
How: Planning. Set a date 4-8 weeks in the future so everyone knows to complete their work ahead of time so no one gets left out. Watch engagement in programs increase and your employees work together to make sure they all can volunteer together!
6. Make it Competitive and Fun!
The best way to get everyone involved? Make it a game or competition. Create teams by departments or even employees vs. managers. This makes CSR efforts fun, exciting, and gets everyone involved to unite under a shared purpose - beating the competition.
How: As we’ve noted competition can be fierce AND fun. Create t-shirts for the teams, gather prizes from local businesses and stoke the competition between the Jets and the Sharks (or whatever names you come up with…)
7. Reward and Recognize
When asked what leaders could do more of to improve engagement, 58% of respondents replied “give recognition” and the same concept can be used when it comes to employees involved in CSR initiatives. Create a goal and offer rewards for those who are able to reach it. You can even provide prizes or take your employees out to celebrate a job well done!
How: No budget for prizes? Give employees something they will be sure to love! An extra work from home or day off work! Easy and (nearly) free! Social media recognition and employee shout-outs are other totally free ways to recognize your most engaged employee!
8. Keep Them Up To Date
If you expect employees to be engaged, you need to provide them with the details of what is actually happening. How can you do this? Create a monthly CSR newsletter or email to send out to all employees. This can include a reminder of upcoming events, a progress report on goal status, and even updated information on the number of corporate volunteer hours or the amount of money donated.
How: Keep your CSR updates short and to the point. Pop up an easy to read version on the company intranet and on social if your company has social media accounts. One note? Include pictures, people are constantly scanning things online to see if they made the cut!
9. Ask Them What They Want
Who is involved in the decision-making process? Is it one person? A board of leaders? What about the employees? Maybe leaders think everyone will be on board with a certain program, but the majority of the company thinks otherwise. Engage employees with philanthropy programs they actually care about by surveying them and seeing where majority rules.
Consider measuring the following:
- How many hours are employees willing to volunteer?
- Would employees rather donate time, money, or toys, books & clothes?
- What organizations or movements are employees passionate about? (List a few with varying causes for employees to pick from).
10. Discuss Openly
Once you, as a leader, are actively engaged with your own giving programs, create small talk among your employees about your experiences with each program you’ve tried. Talk to them about the process, whether it was easy or not, how it made you feel and if you would do it again/what you would do differently. If employees know what they can expect from someone who has already gone through the program, they might be more compelled to give it a whirl themselves.
11. It’s Not Them, It’s You… Or is it?
Not all non-government organizations rock, even if their cause does. Have the leaders of your organization talked with a point of contact from the organization you’re looking to work with? How well do they communicate and engage with you? NGOs need your help, but if the power behind their work is lackluster, it might be better to engage in an organization who is willing to help you help them.
12. Educate on the Why
Employees know what the cause they’re donating to stands for and why it’s important, but continue to trigger that reasoning as you see it in the news. Stay abreast on a handful of causes your team supports by signing up for publications that discuss them through email newsletters.
If you see something interesting, touchy, or inspiring in the news that many of your employees are interested in, forward it to them. We all get lost in our own worlds and forget what’s happening in the world around us. What if something happened to a cause you care about and you didn’t know? Spread the news to inspire employees to act on trending news that matters.
13. Trial Campaigns
Is there a required length employees need to commit to a certain cause? Sometimes putting a time stamp on things makes it easier to commit when there’s a deadline or specific amount of time to complete a program. Ask employees to participate in a “trial campaign” to give certain programs a chance for 7-14 days. This should give them enough time to get to know the process and the potential outcomes of doing it long-term.
14. Turn it into a Lunch
Incentives can be very motivational. In fact, 58% of respondents said leaders should “give recognition” to improve employee engagement. If you organize a company volunteer day that happens to be over a weekend or longer than 5 hours, ask the point-to person of the organization you’re helping if you can cater lunch in for everyone involved. Now you’ve made a day of volunteer a company bonding experience!
“Offering free meals and caffeine is actually a highly effective - and cost-effective – means of motivating and controlling young employees. And in most instances, companies realize significant returns on these investments,” said Daniel Gross, Executive Editor of Strategy+Business
15. Host an After Party
To thank everyone for their time and hard work, host a cocktail + apps party at a nearby location. This is another great way for coworkers to speak outside of work after a long day of physical labor.
Engaging employees isn’t always easy, but their involvement is what drives your CSR efforts and makes them successful. Want to take your corporate philanthropy reach even further? This is how CyberGrants can help!