Rev-Up Employee Engagement through Workplace Giving

October 13, 2016 Benevity, Inc

Five Best Practices for Employee Giving and Volunteer Program

Employee engagement is everything in the brave new world of workplace giving. Every employee donation, volunteered hour, matched dollar and company campaign taps into people’s passions and inspires connections between team and community members. Gear your Workplace Giving program towards taking employee giving to the max. We’ve put together these five best practice tips to help you think about the engagement upside and boost program participation.

1. Participation – A Metric that Matters

If you embrace the new-school thinking that sees employee engagement as a key outcome of a successful Workplace Giving program, then willing participation (not just hitting a number) is one of your key metrics for measuring success. Participation should be passionate, unforced and yes, even inspiring!

Don't accept 10-20% participation rates. If your WPG isn't fetching 50% or higher participation, something is wrong, either with the process, technology, program design, targeted outcomes or commitment of senior management.

 2. Make it Fun & Keep it Coming!

The experience you build around a Workplace Giving program is key to getting people to participate. Make it interactive, easy, and fun, and make it ongoing. Go beyond Fall giving campaigns and strive to make this a positive part of your company culture year round.

Think about the personalized, interactive experiences people enjoy online. On their computers and mobile devices they’re booking travel, buying custom running shoes from, making recommendations on Yelp and GreatNonprofits and liking hundreds of cat videos on Facebook. You want to replicate those online experiences we all love in your workplace giving: involve employees year-round with personal accounts, empowered choices about where, how and how much to give, easy and interactive communication, and an inspiring interface that doesn't require reading glasses and a map.

3. Brand It – Involve your brand in employee giving & volunteering

A consumer brand would have a hard time building buzz and customer mindshare by promoting their products under another company's brand name. They want customers to know and recognize them. Likewise, companies have a hard time connecting and engaging employees in their social good programs when the brand is absent. Creating a company identity and profile around WPG programs and community investment initiatives are key to generating excitement, participation, and team spirit.

Create featured causes, campaigns and cause-related events together under your WPG identity. Build them around corporate goals and pillars (“The Company Green Fund”), themed cause areas (Health, Kids), or disaster & crisis relief giving. Creating featured content also helps involve the individual causes or charities your company has already existing partnerships with.

4. Payroll + Matching = Meaningful.

This one is a big deal. Your people are out there giving and volunteering. To get them doing it under your brand and program you need at least two things: convenience and incentive. Matching gifts of time and money is the most powerful and effective incentive to participate in giving programs. And matching of course has a multiplier effect: $1 of matching creates far greater leverage than $1 given directly to a charity. We think companies should focus most of their investment in workplace giving on matching and other incentives.

Create a matching budget as large and strategic as you can afford (borrow from the Corporate Grants if budget is tight – it will have more impact). Think about how you could segment the matching budget between company-featured and employee-chosen causes, perhaps at different rates.

Make matching really easy for employees & charities. Matching should happen automatically in real time, without extra steps and paperwork.

Don’t forget to enable payroll giving. It enables micro-donations, is quick and easy for users, and responsible for 75-80% of the donation volume in most programs!

 5. Viva Volunteering!

Volunteering time is important to more and more employees, especially Millennials. Channel that appetite into employee engagement by providing them with lots of corporately-sponsored, partner and community volunteering opportunities, carefully curated to provide quality experiences over quantity. Make it easy for them to select, plan and track their own participation, and give them an excuse to track their time (i.e. incent them with ‘Dollars for Doers’ or similar rewards.)

 The best way to engage your employees' volunteer spirit is to be flexible:

  • The best way to engage your employees' volunteer spirit is to be flexible:

  • Be open to rewarding all kinds of volunteering.

  • Don't set thresholds on minimum volunteer hours. The last thing you want is to discourage participation from people with less available time. Any hours are good hours if they're recognized and acknowledged.

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