The 3 mistakes companies make with their workplace giving program

It’s about your brand, not ours
May 17, 2019

An increasing number of companies are investing in workplace giving programs. Not only does the community benefit, but the return on investment is good for business – more engaged employees, a stronger brand, and greater trust amongst customers who align with business that supports their community.

Many companies however, struggle with employee engagement and participation rates that refuse to budge or are even declining year on year.

So what are some of the reasons why employees are just not getting involved with your workplace giving program?

#1 LESS IS MORE

Some companies allow their employees to give to any registered charity through their workplace. The intent is good – that employees will have free choice and be able to choose whichever organisation is meaningful to them. The hope is that surely we can make everyone happy! However, the reality often unfolds quite differently.

When employees are given free choice across tens of thousands of charities, employee feedback tells us that many employees find it hard to know where to start - this choice becomes overwhelming, with many employees deciding to put off their giving altogether.

In the majority of cases, these companies find that they end up spreading themselves too thinly by having to support hundreds of charities, all receiving negligible amounts each year. In fact, many of these charities may only have one or two employees supporting it. That’s a lot of admin, with little social impact return.

Contrary to the company’s good intent, encouraging your employees to go and support any charity they like can translate to just another peripheral item on the employee benefit checklist – an activity that is individual and invisible. There is no clear distinction or incentive for employees to give at work, compared to giving in their personal time. What your workplace giving program really needs is to leverage the power of the collective, and explain the benefits of employees giving at work.

Action: Review your existing charity partners to understand which ones your employees are actively supporting.

#2 ALIGN GIVING CAUSES WITH YOUR BUSINESS

Successful workplace giving programs are underpinned by a strategy to support cause areas that make sense to the company’s core business. This might be an alignment with the company’s mission: for example, a superannuation fund supporting financial literacy and education, or a construction company supporting homelessness. These cause areas might also be relevant to a company’s location, local community, product or values.

While every company is different, a useful starting point might be one or two overarching cause areas, and a range of 10-30 charities that sit under that. This provides employees with both a focused and consistent understanding about how their company supports the community, providing them with clarity around the “who” and “why” of their workplace giving program. This also gives employees a range of choice, without being overwhelming. The exciting outcome for the community is that the company’s support is then concentrated to fewer charities and can make a meaningful difference.

This approach to workplace giving also gives the company a chance to establish and build deeper, longer-term relationships with specific charities. Not only will your employees become increasingly educated about the work they are supporting, but they will become advocates internally, championing the cause amongst their colleagues. This approach creates meaningful corporate-charity partnerships for genuine change.

Action: Ask yourself if your current giving causes align with your company’s mission.

#3 VISIBILITY IS THE KEY

Once a workplace giving program is set up, it is important to keep it visible, relevant and to give employees a reason to keep coming back.

Having a central platform which houses all your employee giving activities will add significant visibility to your workplace giving program. Employees will no longer have to rely on emails, or be sent out to myriad external websites to get involved.

Keep employees coming back with campaigns at key calendar moments. This is a strategy that works consistently well, whether it is for end of year, mental health week, or International Women’s Day. Keep it fresh and interesting by offering a range of campaigns such as crowdfunds, appeals, company matched campaigns, or fundraising during employee engagement events.

Take every opportunity to communicate about the power and results of collective giving. After all, the contribution your company makes is the sum of each small contribution from individual employees. If your company has established a strategic cause area and a limited range of charity partners, you will have the ability to communicate an ongoing story about the difference your company is making over time. Employees want to join this journey with you – it gives greater meaning to their individual contributions and makes them feel part of a collective team effort.

Action: Leverage calendar events to keep your program visible and relevant, to keep employees coming back.

Catalyser organises your workplace giving program

So where to from here? If it seems like a challenge to establish a workplace giving program that offers a diverse range of activities, the Catalyser Employee Giving Platform brings it all together for you.

Catalyser lets you bring your giving activities, such as volunteering, pro bono projects, payroll giving, crowdfunds, appeals, peer-to-peer fundraising and child sponsorship together so your reporting is consolidated, and so your employees have only one place to go for everything community related.

Catalyser has a modular structure which means you can choose the features that you need, and add more over time as your program expands. Personalise the platform that your company needs.

Catalyser offers strategic consulting services if you would like to refresh an existing program, or refocus your existing activities. Get in touch for a free chat to explore how Catalyser’s technology can help your increase your employee engagement and workplace giving participation.

Catalyser is a business solution for employee giving. To book a demo or find out how we can help your company improve its employee giving, email us at hello@catalyser.com or call 1800 233 138.