Activation Tactics to Light the Fire of Giving within your Employees

This post is part two of a three-part series entitled Workplace Giving… Simplified. Check out the other posts in this series:

Evaluation Tools to Measure your CSR Impact

CSR Strategies for a Sustainable and Impactful Program


When building a corporate social responsibility (CSR) program, sometimes we spend so much energy, time, and money on building a strategy and choosing a technology tool that we forget the most important component – engagement.

If your employees aren’t actively volunteering and giving, then neither the strategy behind your programs nor the technology tool you purchase matter!

In the second installment of our Workplace Giving… Simplified webinar series, Steve Greenhalgh discussed activation tactics to inspire your employees to give back.

If you have thirty minutes to spare, we encourage you to watch the entire presentation here. If not, take five minutes to read the following synopsis:

Steve began the presentation discussing the reasons why employees do not participate in CSR programs:

1) Not aware

Employees don’t want to look too hard for information on volunteering and giving programs. Use multiple communication channels including newsletters, social media, and email to communicate your initiatives. Don’t assume your employees know what you are doing. This mindset will ensure every employee is aware of your programs.

Furthermore, employees want to share their volunteering and giving experiences on their personal social media accounts. According to the 2016 Cone Communications Employee Engagement Study, 48% of employees would even use designated company hashtags to share their own photos, videos, and experiences.

Take advantage of your employees’ willingness to share their giving experiences!

2) No relevance and don’t care

Employees care about those things that are relevant to them. Ask yourself these questions if you are not seeing the engagement you expected:

a) Did you ask?

b) Do you know what motivates and excites your employees?

c) Are your programs broad enough to appeal to a diverse group of employees?

d) Are peers serving as ambassadors for your programs?

It’s important to receive buy-in from your employees. If they don’t feel your CSR programs reflect their personal passions and interests, they won’t participate.

After uncovering the reason(s) why employees may not participate in your programs, it’s important to start evaluating the foundation of your CSR program.

Here are the five foundations of CSR success:

1) Instill giving and volunteering into the culture. Your employees will appreciate that social responsibility is built into the core of your business.

2) Make sure leaders are authentically involved. Employees expect that the leadership team takes a visible interest in your CSR program. This support validates the employees’ efforts.

3) Implement a broad communications strategy.

4) Provide a range of opportunities. You can’t just offer volunteer events on Saturdays because not all employees may be able to attend them. You also can’t just offer one type of volunteer program because not all employees will care about that one cause. With a range of opportunities, your employees will find an event or opportunity that speaks to them.

5) Make it easy to get involved. Everyone is busy. Offer your employees an easy way to get involved like donating to a food drive. Small actions mean a lot to the nonprofit beneficiaries and your employees.

You’ve built the foundation. Now, let’s build the walls.

Start with the basics. Offer a theme or cause-based fundraising campaign, day of service, company sponsored volunteer project, individual volunteer project, or charity walk.

CSR Activation Tactics

After you’ve built the walls, start adding furnishings that represent your company’s own unique corporate culture. Are you in need of some ideas to get the creative juices flowing?

Here are 10 ideas to excite and engage your employees:

1) Get creative. Host a pizza party and charge $5 to be donated to a charity or host a silent auction.

2) Set goals. Goals drive action and stir competition.

3) Provide incentives and recognition. Allow your employees the opportunity to purchase dress down days, half days, or lunch with the CEO if they participate in giving or volunteering programs.

4) Game on. Incorporate charades, color wars, or team-based games to raise money for causes. Offer prizes to incentivize participation.

5) Spice up seasonal giving. 30% of all US donations happen in December. Offer new and innovative ideas for your employees to give back at the year’s end like a Thanksgiving food drive to a local food bank.

6) Host a fitness challenge. Nurture good health and wellness by challenging employees to walk. Donate to the charity of the employee’s choice who walks the most.

7) Volunteer as a group. Volunteering is much more fun in teams! Encourage departments and employee resource groups to volunteer together for greater impact.

8) Host a donation drive.

9) Crowdfund as a team. Raise funds for a cause that an employee elects.

10) Mini-micro funder. Set a crowdfunding campaign with a donation limit. Employees compete, and choose the winner based upon the quantity of donations.

In summary,

1) Do one thing.

AT&T launched a campaign a few years ago to encourage employees to do one thing – an individual project to make a small change. Employees volunteered, biked to work, or mentored a student. Offer many opportunities for employees to get involved and encourage them to take one action.

2) Have fun.

Remember that CSR programs are supposed to be fun! If you can gather your employees together to raise money and socialize, that’s a winning combination!

3) Make an impact.

Small activities can add up to create a big impact.

It can be challenging to inspire employees to give and volunteer, but if you build a strong foundation and incorporate your own company culture, your employees will be proud of their company and inspired to give back.