How to Drive Participation in Employee Philanthropy Programs
Jul 11, 2016
Over 90% of surveyed companies said improved employee engagement was a top benefit of workplace volunteering.
There’s no denying the numbers. Companies, no matter the size or market, report immense and various benefits of a corporate responsibility strategy. Whether the approach is via pro bono work, volunteering hours or fundraising for philanthropy, corporate social responsibility attracts new employees and maintains engagement of your current team. Unfortunately, though job seekers and employees are calling for these programs, participation numbers haven’t always reflected the enthusiasm. Luckily, though there are many possible causes of low participation in workplace giving, hope is not lost. Inspiring your team again might be a little less complicated than you first imagined.
Read more on how Employee Giving is the Community Connection Your Company Needs
Make Giving Accessible
The logistics of your corporate social responsibility program can be a deterrent to participation as well. Technology has eased many challenges, but it has also increased the expectations of your team. Employees want participation to be easily integrated within existing processes. For example, charitable matching and volunteering programs are placed within the system that tracks payroll or time off. This means employees are naturally prompted to give and assist while doing tasks they would do anyway. If you work with a corporate philanthropy program that integrates into any of your existing employee programs, you’re already one step ahead!
Of course, accessibility is far more than just technology and can be as simple as communication. Employees might need their company to proactively communicate opportunities being sponsored or remove obstacles, like time or travel. Accessibility can be as simple as an automated email asking employees to contribute or reminding them of an upcoming drive or giving event. Give employees ideas on how they can assist and show them just how far their contributions can go with tangible examples.
Try! Begin listing community opportunities or featuring a specific nonprofit each month within a company newsletter or internal email then offer carpooling services to onsite programs or devote a set number of volunteering hours for employees to use on pro bono work.
Keep Involvement Local
They say, “Charity begins at home.” Being familiar with philanthropy and having a personal connection to its work naturally raises our interest in lending our time or finances. Your team is comprised of many individuals from various walks of life with their very own set of causes they hold dear, so what resonates with one person may not hit home quite as close with another. However, participation increases when people see results and nowhere is that easier than with a local charity or organization.
Open your company up to employees, and encourage them to share their experiences along with their talents. For example, Exelon respects and supports local communities through their workplace giving campaign. It engages all employees and retirees to find an organization that best exemplifies what they care about. At CyberGrants, we’re always encouraging our clients to talk to their employees to find out which programs resonate with them before putting a corporate giving program into place.
Try! Send a year or bi-annual employee survey to encourage employee input and interest. Ask questions that gauge the types of causes employees hold dear as well as specific charities, local or international.
Diversify the Program
Choice is key. Constructing a giving program that opens up opportunities to employees makes participation inextricably more appealing. Diversity helps you cater to far more lifestyles, something of which your workforce is made up of, regardless of employee numbers. For example, young parents can participate in matching programs while employees with more availability can work on after hour volunteering. A graphic designer can offer pro bono services while an office assistant spends the day in a nonprofit’s office assisting with filing or payroll.
Opening up to those possibilities lifts restrictions on employees time-wise, but a diversified program also accounts for the many life experiences of your people, as well. The individuals who join your team come with causes dear to their heart. By providing employees the ability to choose which nonprofits they support or where they volunteer their time, you increase emotional involvement of each individual.
Try! Start small by offering an incentive for participation in the company philanthropic program, whether it is money or time. Set reasonable baselines, such as 2 hours or $20 and ask for feedback.
Philanthropic programs are no different than any other initiative with leadership buy in. They require proper staffing, tool provisions and an execution plan with measurements for success. Many companies make the mistake of treating this process as unique and therefore become overwhelmed by the sheer idea of its implementation. The best thing you can do is give practical, actionable ideas to your employees. Instead of “Join our charity drive here.” try specific statements like: “Sign up here to donate 30 minutes of PTO to our local 2nd graders and feed a hungry child for a day.” It’s specific, simple and shows the immediate impact.
Try! Follow business process protocol from beginning to end, including a communication plan that ensures your employees are well-educated on how to participate, guidelines and what benefits they can expect to see if they meet certain goals.
As you work through the challenges of building a corporate social responsibility program, remember philanthropy comes in many different shapes and sizes. The key is to create, support and drive a program that meets the needs of your company values and employee passions the lie within your people and leadership. With CyberGrants, employee engagement and participation are only a few clicks away. See how we can help your team make an even greater impact.