An increasing number of companies are investing in workplace giving programs. Not only do they support the community, but they also offer businesses a strong return on investment.
Workplace giving programs have been shown to improve employee performance, strengthen your brand, and create greater trust amongst customers, among other benefits.
If you’re looking to make the most out of yours, the following article will highlight five proven strategies to boost its performance. Whether your engagement levels or growth have stalled, or you’re finding it difficult to embed your program into your company culture, implementing our expert tips will help you to get back on the right track.
Does your current workplace giving program allow your employees to contribute to any registered charity? You could be inadvertently making it more challenging for employees to participate and engage in your program.
Giving employees the ability to support any organisation they wish to is no doubt well-intentioned. However, employee feedback tells us that when employees are given free choice across tens of thousands of charities, they find it difficult to know where to start. The sheer amount of choice becomes overwhelming, resulting in many employees disengaging from giving altogether.
Offering too much choice also dilutes the social impact return you can make as a company. Think about it: if your employees support 10 thoughtfully-selected charities, the social impact return will be far greater than if they support a random assortment of 100 different charities.
Another consequence is that it’s easy to spread yourself thin if your company chooses to support countless different charities. Instead of concentrating on amplifying your workplace giving program and engaging employees, you’ll instead be dealing with significantly more admin
Start reviewing your existing charity partners. Look at which ones your employees are most engaged with and put them on a shortlist.
Now that you understand why it’s crucial to provide employees with only a selection of charities to support, it’s time to learn how to strategically choose the right ones for your company.
The ‘right’ charities to support will differ from company to company. To determine which ones make sense for your company to support, you’ll need to track down charities that meaningfully align with your company’s core business and values. This step is essential to ensure your workplace giving program is meaningfully embedded into your company culture.
There are many ways to go about this. You can choose giving causes that align with your company’s mission. For example, a superannuation fund may choose to support financial literacy and education charities, while a construction company may opt to support homelessness-related charities.
Alternatively, you could select cause areas that are relevant to your company’s location, local community, product, or values. For example, you could support a local kids’ sports team in the area where your HQ is. It’s also worth taking into account which charities your employees have already demonstrated high levels of engagement with.
A useful starting point is to select one or two overarching cause areas, and then narrow down a range of 10-30 charities that sit under that. This provides employees with both a focused and consistent understanding of how the company supports the community. It also gets to the heart of the “who” and “why” of your workplace giving program.
The exciting outcome for the community is that your company’s support is then concentrated on fewer charities and can make a meaningful difference.
This approach also allows your company 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 also become advocates internally, championing the cause amongst their colleagues.
Determine if your current giving causes align with your company’s business and values and make modifications accordingly. Focus on establishing meaningful corporate-charity partnerships for genuine change.
It can be difficult to convince upper-level management about the value your workplace giving program provides. It can be even harder to get them to play an active role with its rollout and development. However, successful programs require support from management.
In addition to getting the program signed off in the first place, support from management will communicate to employees that workplace giving is prioritised at all levels. This doesn't just have implications for the charities themselves, but also your employees’ job satisfaction levels.
A recent study from Atlassian found that 74% of employees agree businesses should be just as concerned with their social impact as they are with their financial results. The study also found that 66% of employees think that “big businesses have increased responsibility, now more than ever, to address key societal issues facing our country.”
Management support is also necessary because many employees will look to see if your CEO and other senior executives are invested in the program before committing to it themselves.
Management, therefore, needs to recognise its role as a powerful driver of workplace giving. It can do this through such initiatives as:
If you’re having trouble getting your management on board, arm yourself with data about your employee giving outcomes. By providing management with reports that quantify your successes, you’ll be able to present an evidence-based case for workplace giving.
Speak to management about ways they can contribute more to the success of your workplace giving program.
Another proven way to strengthen your workplace giving program is to increase its visibility.
Remember, most 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. However, they can’t be expected to keep participating if they either don’t know how to or they’re unclear why they should even do so.
This is why actively promoting your workplace giving program and keeping employees in the loop will go a long way in bolstering it. One of the most effective ways to increase the visibility of your program is to make information about it more readily accessible through all points of the employee experience.
Consider mentioning it in your job ads, adding it to your onboarding pack, bringing it up in all-hands meetings, hanging up posters, and starting conversations about it. The key is to regularly communicate to your employees about your program, so it’s no longer treated like an afterthought. As your workplace giving program becomes more visible, it will start to become more ingrained in your company culture.
Another easy way to bolster visibility is to schedule campaigns at key calendar moments. For example, you could set up a running challenge to raise money for heart disease charities, encourage participation in the ice bucket challenge for ALS, or organise a gold coin donation event for 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.
It’s also a good idea to appoint ambassadors for each charity your company supports. Ambassadors are employees who agree to help promote your workplace’s giving initiatives. To succeed, you’ll need to offer them a balance of structure and guidance, and the ability to put their own stamp on their ambassadorship.
Experiment with ways to keep your program visible and relevant to employees so they keep returning.
The fact of the matter is that many workplace giving programs are outdated and difficult for employees to access. A key part of the problem is that the onus is often on employees to navigate through various sites, emails, and programs to get involved.
That’s why offering employees an enterprise-grade, central workplace giving platform like Catalyser makes sense. Catalyser empowers your employees to engage in workplace giving by providing them with a modern and easy-to-use hub for all workplace giving activities.
Our platform supports all kinds of giving activities, from volunteering and pro bono projects, to payroll giving and crowdfunds, to appeals, peer-to-peer fundraising, and child sponsorship.
Signing up is a quick and easy process, meaning that you can get your program up and running right away and keep the momentum going. Catalyser also offers complete customisation abilities, so you can make the platform your own. The ability to customise the platform to reflect your brand will enable you to keep your messaging strong and on-brand.
These features have all been shown to help increase employee confidence in your workplace giving program and lead to higher participation rates.
Provide your employees with a state-of-the-art giving platform that streamlines the giving process so it’s easy and enjoyable for them to participate.
Did your employees band together to raise thousands of dollars for your chosen charities? Or maybe a selection of employees have started offering pro bono work?
Whatever successes have resulted from your workplace giving program, you should take the time to celebrate them. Celebrating your successes as a team transforms giving from an individual and invisible activity, to one that’s a part of a company-wide effort to come together as a team to achieve common goals. It also makes the whole giving process more fun and meaningful, leading to great buy-in.
It’s up to you how you go about celebrating successes. You could give shoutouts in your company newsletters or send over certificates or gifts of appreciation. You could even throw a company-wide celebration to really put a spotlight on everyone’s efforts. And don’t forget to give a special round of applause to your ambassadors!
When employees see that their contributions are genuinely making a difference—and that they’ll be duly recognised for their hard work—they’re far more likely to actively participate in your workplace giving program.
Remember, the contribution your company makes is the sum of each small contribution from individual employees. Make sure to leverage the power of the collective and don’t be shy about celebrating your employees’ wins.
So where to from here? As we have explored above, there are numerous ways that you can strengthen your workplace giving program. If you want it to have a greater social impact, more meaningfully engage your employees, and work to the best of its abilities, give them a try.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that Catalyser offers strategic consulting services if you are looking to refresh your existing program or refocus your existing activities. Get in touch for a free chat to explore how Catalyser’s technology can help you to optimise your workplace giving program.