As another giving season kicks off, it’s time to rethink the what, where, why and how of your workplace giving program (and even the when!). Just as corporate social good programs are now a must-do rather than a nice-to-do, “just doing good is not good enough” (we borrowed that quote from our consultant friend Jocelyne Daw). It follows that nothing much will flow from just having a workplace giving program like you’ve always had; you need one that gets your people thinking and saying WE ROCK! Employee giving programs – like all community investment initiatives – need to demonstrate true social and business impacts, and need to evolve with societal, corporate and other trends.
So here are some ideas to make your programs (even more) engaging come this Fall:
Now is a good time to consider:
1. “What” your company’s workplace giving program is all about: what is it that your company wants to do, collectively with its employees, contractors, retirees, suppliers, etc., to make your mark on the world? What does your organization care about? What do your employees care about (and how can we meld these two for the broader betterment of the program and its impacts)? What does success look like in terms of your employee giving and volunteering program, and what are the relevant metrics (beyond the obvious) that will move you there? What policies, processes and practices (perhaps derived from legacy programs) are impediments to achieving the What? Answering these and related questions can help to plan to realize impact.
2. “Where” should your company target for impact? Given the resources, locations, talents, tools and objectives, where can your organization make the most impact? Although most of you have cause focus areas that fit best for your company – and if you don’t, you should – how can you empower broad participation among your target stakeholder group while still creating emphasis on and bias toward these causes/pillars? Which specific problems in the cause focus areas can your company help move the needle on? Which charitable organizations can best benefit from your organization’s support to help address these challenges, and what value can they bring to your program to aid in your broader goals? Thinking about these questions can help focus on where you can target your attention, resources and program design.
3. “Why” your organization is doing this: This sounds trite, but you need to remind yourself of why your program exists and what it is trying to achieve. If your goal is to hit a donation target for a particular cause, that is one thing (maybe not the right thing, in our respectful view, but it’s certainly a clear goal). If it’s also to engage an increasingly diverse demographic in ways that will increase the glue to your brand, organization, CSR/CI programs and deliver noteworthy social impact that people can rally around, that’s another…Clearly articulating the rationale and desired outcomes of your workplace giving program – for both the CI group and (importantly) broader management stakeholders – really drives everything… Design, metrics, measurement, budget, policies, cross-departmental support. It cannot be overstated! [As an aside, when you come up with the right “why?” of your program, ask yourself whether the right corporate players are involved. If this is about employee engagement, is reporting to Legal going to get you there? Is HR onboard and up to speed and helping champion your cause (so to speak), etc.]
4. “How” you will execute and measure this: new thinking about your program and the impact your organization wants to make will spur new thinking on how you implement and measure your program. Do you have a workplace giving solution that makes it easy for employees – and administrators – to deliver and give their time, money and talent? Can you readily create and communicate company causes – and enable people to easily find and support their own personal causes? Can you easily communicate and collaborate to measure and share progress? Rethinking the impact means you need a technology solution that is geared toward helping companies do things differently to realize (and report upon) more results.
5. “When” gets a plug…we take for granted that the annual giving campaign is in the Fall. There’s no problem with having a big push during the so-called Giving Season, but remember: if engagement around causes, giving back, corporate giving initiatives, creating meaning in one’s work, etc. is the goal (or even part of the goal) doing it once a year in a ‘set and forget’ model is missing the engagement boat. That is why more and more companies are making their programs year-round or “evergreen”. The right technology and partners make it easy to do.
Make your Fall campaign just one of a multi-pronged approach to achieving your program goals!