Starting an Employee Giving Program in 4 Easy Steps

To keep up with today’s competitive market, companies, big and small, recognize that doing good is good for business. Why? Because there’s significant data that connects successful workplace giving programs with higher levels of employee engagement. And companies with high employee engagement consistently outperform on financial measures. Whether you call it Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), workplace giving or employee engagement, it’s here to stay. And, to make your brand stand out, attract and retain top candidates, and appeal to prospects and customers, you’re ready to jump in.  

But where to begin? As part of a continuing series on doing good, great, we’ll begin here with a few keys to getting started.

  1. Seek Employee Feedback

Ask employees for their opinions about what they want when it comes to charitable giving or volunteering in the workplace. Why? Because in a study conducted by America’s Charities, when charitable choice is given, employee participation increases. (Source: America’s Charities 2013 Snapshot).  

Introduce the survey with a letter from your CEO stating the company’s commitment to giving back and encouraging employees to weigh in on what’s important to them. The more sense of ownership you create, the more successful your giving program will be.  Include questions about perceptions on any current corporate philanthropy, causes and issues they care about and support, what types of programs would they be more willing to participate in, and what options would make them more willing to participate.   

  1. Create a Budget

While launching an employee giving campaign might seem like a stretch on your budget, the investment is worth it knowing that happier and engaged employees lead to a more productive workforce and a happier, more productive team ultimately leads to a happier, more loyal customer base. Your initial program doesn’t have to be all fireworks and big world-changing initiatives. Companies can start small and still experience the associated benefits and rewards.

To get started, take inventory of all the good work your company is already doing. For example, how many hours have your employees volunteered so far this year, what company donations and sponsorships have you made, and what products or services have you donated back to the community? Use this as a starting point and then evaluate additional resources you might be able to contribute. Setting a budget will allow you to shift from reactively responding to charitable requests to a more strategic, thoughtful approach.

Also, consider whether you can allocate part of the budget to a matching gift program. Everyone loves to double their impact. For example, let’s say you discover in the budgeting process that you gave $5,000 through various charitable requests, we suggest you put that $5,000 into a matching gift program. If your employees collectively give $5,000 that you match dollar for dollar, everybody wins. The employee doubled their impact, the company doubled their impact, and some really great charities will get the funds to carry out their missions. Make your matching gift program as open and flexible as possible while still aligning to your core values. Employees like choice and will be more motivated to participate when they can support charities they care about and also receive a generous company match.  

  1.  Have fun with a launch!

A great way to start your employee giving program and rally the team is with a kick off party. Employee participation is going to be a key success factor to your giving program, so why not have a little fun to encourage involvement. Use it as an opportunity to provide information about the causes you’re supporting and to begin enrollment. Even better, invite someone with a local charity you wish to support and have a lunch and learn session or volunteer fair during the launch. All it takes is a little creativity! In addition to a company-wide kick off event, you could encourage a little interdepartmental competition to add to the festivities. Giving is social in today’s world, so make it fun, build in some recognition, and celebrate!   

  1. Keep them Engaged  

Your giving program succeeds when employees stay engaged. The best way to keep up  momentum after the launch is to communicate progress. Be sure to:

  • capture and share success stories big and small
  • share images, videos, stories as they occur, be it through a company social media page, your giving platform, or a newsletter
  • celebrate milestones achieved (dollars raised, hours volunteered)

Stay tuned to our upcoming blogs providing further guidance, tips on program ideas, ways to keep employees engagement, measuring your impact, and more.  And learn more about us at www.gooddonegreat.com.