3 Mistakes Small Business are Making with Their Workplace Giving Program

“Build your business around being the most helpful to the world and don’t ever forget why you started giving back.”Ryan Devlin, This Bar Saves Lives

 

Workplace Giving and CSR

Year after year the companies that perform better with consumers are those companies that not only care about giving back but show they care. Workplace giving is no longer a program that is “nice to have”, but rather it is necessity to your company’s success.  Today, workplace giving is more flexible than ever thanks to technology and the growing demands of the millennial workforce.  Small businesses looking to innovate and rise above the noise of today’s competitive market are using workplace giving to accomplish this goal.

Let’s take a look at some of the pitfalls to avoid when getting started with workplace giving.   

Overlooking the Importance of Choice:

Everyone likes making their own decisions, and this holds true when it comes to causes they support.  Research shows that when charitable choice is given, employee precipitation increases (America’s Charities Snapshot Report).  

The world of workplace giving is changing rapidly. The days of companies supporting a handful of charities based on a decision from the top is over.  One recent study found that more than 63% of survey respondents indicated that it is extremely valuable that their employer offer choice of the individual nonprofit/cause he/she can give to.

The largest source of charitable giving in the U.S. comes from individuals. These individuals will demand choice when it comes to their workplace giving programs.  Companies that make it easy for employees to give to causes they care about see higher success rates.

Your employees will feel good about being able to support the causes that matter to them, and they will be happier about where they work. By empowering employee choice you will breath new life into your giving programs.  

Poor Communication of Programs and Difficult Guidelines:

The first two questions we ask our clients that are experiencing low employee participation numbers are 1) How are you communicating your programs to your employees? and 2) How easy it is for them to make a gift?  While these sound like simple questions, they mean everything in the world of workplace giving.  

Communicate clearly and communicate often, and make it easy for your employees to give when they feel inspired.  Mobile and web-based donations will be a key to success for the younger workforce.

Good Done Great provides outstanding workplace giving technology. That said, digital tools are never a replacement for good old-fashioned human touch. Ensure that your efforts to educate, encourage, and solicit employee participation are done through face-to-face interactions in addition to online channels. This is a great way to further engage your people and community.  

Not Bragging about Your Success:

We are taught at a young age that it is never polite to brag about yourself. Companies have historically followed this rule from fear of not appearing sincere in their philanthropy.  Don’t feel ashamed to tell your story.  In fact, by not telling your story your absence is speaking for you.  Stakeholders might assume you aren’t giving back as much as you should, so be a rule breaker and celebrate all the good work you are doing.  

To help share your story it is important to set goals and measure your impact.  Having goals and metrics help hold you accountable and further integrate your social impact work with your company culture.   Utilizing technology to support these goals can help you better track your impact and share results with your stakeholders.  

With the world of workplace giving continuing to evolve and grow, don’t get left behind.  Avoid these three common mistakes and watch your giving program take off.   For more information on getting started check out our post about FAQs for Small Businesses Launching a Matching Gift Program. 

FAQs for Small Businesses Launching a Matching Gift Program

So you are contemplating creating a matching gift program?  Where do you get started, and what are other small- medium businesses (SMB) doing?  The good news is that you are not alone.   In fact, according to a study completed by America’s Charities, 70% of companies offer matching gifts as a component of their volunteer and giving programs.    At Good Done Great, we work with companies of all sizes, and we are frequently contacted by small businesses looking to learn how they measure up against their peers.  

How Common is a Matching Gift program in the SMB Market?

While this number can vary greatly depending on company size and industry, the trend of workplace giving is here to stay.   Your consumers and employees are demanding it.   Fact: 91% of global consumers said they expect companies to have social and environmental goals. According to a Deloitte survey conducted last year, 70% of young Millennials, those ages 18 to 26, say a company’s commitment to the community has an influence on their decision to work there.   Every day more small businesses are jumping in to workplace giving. It is time to join the masses.

What is a Typical Match Rate?

In our experience most SMB businesses that we work with are using a 1:1 match ratio.  Sometimes this ratio will vary amongst different employee groups.  For example, your company may offer a 1:1 match for full time employees, but offer less for your part time employees. Or, you might want to offer a higher match for employees after they hit their 5 year anniversary with your company, or to those who serve in a leadership role.

The important thing to keep in mind when determining your ratio is that your matching gift program is a benefit, and no matter what ratio you are able to start with, you are increasing your impact on the social good community.

How Does My Business Benefit from Matching Gift Programs?

Who doesn’t want a more elevated brand, better relationships with your local community and happier employees?  These are just a few of the common benefits associated with a matching gift program, which we have dived in deeper in past posts here.  

Other advantages to consider are how giving back can help small businesses in their public relations effort- especially if you do not have a large PR/media budget.  You can share your good work through blog posts, press releases, and other social media channels.   This is all good, but don’t forget that an effective workplace giving program is not about you.   It is about supporting the causes your employees are passionate about.

Finally, when your company offers a matching gift program you will benefit from tax breaks.  No matter the size of your program, you are able to deduct your matching gifts from your reported income.  It is a win win for all!

What Do I Need to Consider When Building a Matching Gift Program?

There are many factors to consider when building a matching gift program, but in summary here are some key principles to keep in mind:

  • Allow employee choice.  It is ok to select causes that are eligible for your program, but giving is personal, so allow your employees to choose which specific non-profit they want to support.
  • Keep it simple and social.  Plan ahead for what infrastructure will keep the program engaging and easy to use.  
  • Make time to ensure your program is well run.  Whether this means you appoint a program administrator or hire someone to manage the program, make sure it is a program that will not fall to the bottom of your priority list.  It will take time and effort to nurture and grow your matching gift program.  In the end, it will be worth it!

For more tips on getting started and running effective matching gift programs for the small business stayed tuned and sign up for more information at www.gooddonegreat.com . Sign up for our newsletter today! 

3 Secrets to Unlocking Your Giving Program’s Potential

In an earlier post, we explored how easy it is to get started with a workplace giving program.  More and more small to mid-sized businesses are launching giving programs, and they are seeing the benefits, from happier and more engaged employees to brand recognition in their local communities. To read more about how to get started, check out our post on Starting an Employee Giving Program in 4 Easy Steps. Now, let’s take a deeper look into how to better engage your employees through those workplace giving programs.   

The millennial workforce has made their voice heard about wanting giving options in the workplace.  This trend is even more relevant with recent changes in administration and heated political climate.   Corporate philanthropy is on the rise.  In fact, overall corporate giving has increased by 4.7% in 2017, and it is expected to continue to rise in 2018.  So how to make sure you stay ahead of the curve with this rising trend?  The answer is to listen to your employees and engage them in every aspect of your giving programs.  In this post, we’ve outlined 3 key tips to unlocking your giving program’s potential.  

Tip 1: Make Giving an Integral Part of Your Culture  

Employees want a culture of giving that reflects the values and mission that attracted them to your company. Additionally, employees want the opportunity to give back in a way that reflects their own personal choice and passions. Think about what makes your company stand out?  How can you incorporate your own uniqueness into your giving programs?  While having support for corporate philanthropy needs to come from leaders, seeking feedback from your employees on how they want to be engaged and what causes they are interested in supporting is critical to your success.

Start by soliciting input and feedback into potential giving programs.  Remember that, as the saying goes, ‘charity starts at home,’ meaning your employees likely have causes that they care about already.  Let them volunteer their favorite causes as potential recipients of your workplace giving programs.  Encourage your employees to donate  and/or volunteer for causes they personally care about and demonstrate this commitment through senior leadership’s own commitment to charity.  If your company is new to corporate giving, the following are examples of how to get the ball rolling:

  • Ask your employees to nominate a favorite community cause or campaign.  Eliminate those that don’t fit with your brand, and hold a vote on which ones to support.
  • Create a strategy to support your giving program and ensure it fits with your existing operations and resources.
  • Get your CEO to make a big splash for a cause and showcase it to your employees.
  • Create a matching gift program that shows a tangible commitment from the company.  You give, we give, let’s all give.
  • Make your program a priority. Workplace giving should be just as important as  your mandated sessions on health care or retirement planning.

If your employees feel ownership for your giving program and leadership embeds giving into your culture, you will create higher levels of engagement and participation.

A giving program that your employees have a sense of ownership in and embedded into everyday culture at your workplace will create higher levels of engagement and participation.  

Tip 2: Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

Be ready and expect questions. You will need to communicate the alignment between your giving program’s goals and your company’s values and the importance of participation.You will need to  communicate how your giving program aligns with your company’s values and goals and why it is important for all to get involved.  

A caveat: employee participation should always be voluntary, and pains should be taken to ensure that no employee feels he or she is being pressured into giving or volunteering. To be successful in integrating your giving programs into your culture you will need to communicate with all  your key stakeholders and create buy in.  

The #1 reason employees don’t give? They weren’t asked.  The #2 reason: nobody told them how.  Be sure to communicate early and often about the program and how they can participate.  Repeat as necessary.  Your communication plan will be a marathon and not a sprint, so get ready for a long term commitment.  Don’t forget that your efforts to educate, encourage, and solicit employee participation are done through face to face interactions in addition to online channels.  

Tip 3: Measure Impact and Share  

Your workplace giving program is only as effective as your actual knowledge about its outcomes.  It is incredibly important to have a system in place that allows for accurate tracking and reporting.  Even if you don’t have the resources to invest in infrastructure to support your giving program at this stage, start planning for when you might.  In the meantime, track metrics that include things such as employee participation rates, dollars raised, and time donated.  Showing your story of impact will attract more employee support.   The more employees feel they can create change, the more motivated they will be.  We have seen success when companies support and reward their employees in personal volunteer activities or encourage employees to recognize each other for good social impact work.  

The benefits to workplace giving are numerous, but if you are able to embrace it as part of your company culture, effectively communicate the desired outcomes of the program and steps for involvement,  and show your collective impact, you will take an important step in unlocking your giving program’s potential.  

Stay tuned to our upcoming blogs for more effective workplace giving tips and secrets.  Learn more about us at www.gooddonegreat.com .

Don’t leave money on the sidewalk: A closer look at matching gift programs

Imagine you are walking down the street, and you find a $50 bill lying on the sidewalk.

You pick it up, and prior to pocketing it, you check to see if anyone is around. You most certainly won’t leave it on the sidewalk.

Every year, charities leave $6 to $10 billion on the sidewalk. The source of this missed funding? Unclaimed matching gifts.  

According to Double the Donation, 65% of Fortune 500 companies offer matching gift programs, and over 18 million people work for companies with matching gift programs. The median participation rate of employees who participated in matching gifts programs in 2016 was 7%.

Not only do corporations offer this program as a benefit, but employees also request the opportunity to give back. More and more research demonstrates employees’ desires to participate in CSR efforts through the workplace.

The existence of these programs indicates that employers are willing to place their corporate dollars into the hands of their employees. Companies and charities have an incredible opportunity to develop workplace giving campaigns together that meet the charitable desires of current and future employees.

We all know that charities and CSR departments work with limited resources and limited staff; therefore, it can be difficult to stay on top of promoting corporate matching gift programs.

Take advantage of matching gift programs

We’ve developed a few tips for charities and for-profit companies in order to maximize the effectiveness of their matching gift programs:

For charities…

  • Collect employment data from your donors. Once you know where your donors work, you can collect information on their matching gift program. Does their employer offer a program? Are your donors taking advantage of the program?
  • Network with the local companies in your neighborhood. Both small and large companies alike are developing matching gift programs as a way to attract and retain employees. Reach out to them and schedule a lunch and learn so that their employees can get to know your mission and vision.
  • Determine a list of other companies beyond your local region that offer matching gift programs. Use a service such as Double the Donation.

For companies…

  • Communicate, communicate, communicate. In the daily hustle of life, it is easy for employees to forget about the benefits that their employers offer them. Find out where your employees “hang out” either online or in person and post reminders about your matching gift program. Place posters in lunchrooms or bathrooms, utilize your employee giving software to place popup reminders, or post announcements on your intranet.
  • Offer your employees choice! An America’s Charities study found that employee participation increases when the workplace giving campaign features a group of charities or the option to donate to whichever charity the employee chooses.
  • Make it relevant! Tie in current holidays and themes to encourage participation! Since June is Men’s Health Month, develop a matching gift campaign that demonstrates the importance of good health and mention several charities that support men’s health and wellness.

It’s time that we stop leaving money on the sidewalk! Charities and corporate groups alike will reap substantial benefits by participating in matching gift programs.