How To Know When Your Company Is Ready for a CSR Technology Partner?
We still regularly hear Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) professionals say with a sigh, “Oh, we don’t have a CSR technology partner; we use Excel and email to manage our programs.”
Sometimes even they can’t believe that they are still using such tools to run their CSR efforts.
They understand the inefficiencies and the time wasted, yet they still hesitate to move to the alternative: a dedicated CSR technology platform.
Some CSR program managers worry a system will cost too much, while others are concerned that it will prove to be too complicated to implement across the workforce. A fair number have little firsthand experience with current CSR technology offerings.
The fact is, there will come a time when virtually every company will want to consider upgrading to the efficiency gains and enhanced user experience of a dedicated CSR platform, it’s just a matter of figuring out when.
This article will help you know if you’ve reached that point or not.
Let me cut to the chase. The answer is probably “yes.”
Below we outline the various ways to know when it’s time for you to find a CSR technology partner, and the questions to ask when evaluating providers.
Your Reporting Needs are Getting Bigger and More Frequent
Many day-to-day CSR activities will require you to report on the performance metrics for your program, such as employee giving performance.
But when your company is large enough, it becomes far too difficult and time-consuming to track and report on CSR data if you don’t have the proper tools.
When is it time to start searching for a tool you ask? When you’ve just spent hours trying to turn an excel spreadsheet into a pivot table to see the most popular volunteer causes in your company. Or your CFO is asking for a monthly finance report so that funds can be appropriately budgeted, but you have trouble reconciling the total matching gift allocations during a specific time.
Accurate and easy-to-generate reporting is essential for a CSR professional to run a successful program.
A dedicated CSR technology platform provides tools to seamlessly run reports on a program’s performance.
Your day-to-day reports will allow you to easily reconcile funds or review the employee engagement. YourCause provides standard reporting tools like the “All Giving Report” to allow you to check on you KPIs with a glance.
Many CSR managers create a CSR report at the end of the year to show the philanthropic activities that their company did throughout the year. This is a great way to showcase your company in a good light and prove to stakeholders that CSR is a worthy cause to support.
With a technology solution, you will be able to spend your time analyzing and acting on insights, rather than manually crunching numbers.
Questions to Consider:
When you are researching CSR technology partners, be sure to understand the reporting capabilities.
- Will you need to request reports from your partner, or will you be able to run them yourself?
- What are the additional costs if you need specific, custom reports generated?
- Will you have access to Ad Hoc reporting tools?
- Can you easily get the data in a chart or graph in the same tool?
- Can you easily export the data in other formats?
You’re Spending More Time on Manual Tasks Than on Strategy
With so many moving parts, your role should be one of strategy and execution over data entry.
When you took on your role, you had certain goals and expectations for your CSR programs. Gols like:
- Fostering a culture of philanthropy and providing employees and teams easy ways to participate.
- Helping employees connect their skills with community organizations that need them.
- Sharing the work the company has been doing in the community for years, but that no one knows about.
Whatever your goals, it’s easy for them to get lost as you spend your time managing the details of giving campaigns and the myriad tasks that go into a volunteer event. You can get overwhelmed by minutiae such as emailing employees to register for an event or getting them to record their hours and t-shirt sizes.
A CSR technology platform can collect and organize all the details for you and for the champions and event coordinators across your organization, letting you get back to leading the strategy, communicating, and executing on the larger mission.
A CSR technology platform empowers the employees to get involved and take action. An employee can easily login, donate money, signup for an event, log hours, and even choose a t-shirt size without you having to lift a finger. This alone can save you a ton of time.
A platform also gives you the ability to easily setup team volunteer events, send automatic notifications, store and track form signups, and issue Cause Cards. The software does the heavy lifting so your time is better spent on strategy.
You’ll then have the bandwidth to train volunteer leaders, build relationships with local and global nonprofits, and introduce all the best volunteer management best practices you’ve been dreaming of implementing but haven’t had the time.
Questions to Consider:
- Do your employees have one place to go to engage in CSR programs?
- Can employees easily make donations to charities within your parameters and know when the charity received the funds and/or get a copy of tax receipt information?
- Are there a great set of resources easily available for employees to get the information they need- policies, waivers, FAQs, etc.
- Does the CSR provider have a customer service team available to answer questions and provide employees support?
Tracking Checks is Becoming a Headache
Getting funds from donors to nonprofits seems simple. The truth is, it can be anything but.
When the employee donation volume is large enough, tracking what is sent, deposited, and reconciled becomes a chore unto its own.
A situation like this can be common: You requested 48 checks to be written and sent to nonprofits. 6 weeks later, you don’t know which checks have been cashed and employees are contacting you daily for an update. Additionally, your finance team needs the information for their monthly reconciliation report. It can be a real headache.
The right CSR technology partner can not only efficiently process your donations and matches, but they can also provide online updates indicating when the donation was approved, when the funds were distributed to the charity, and when the charity received them in their account. Complete transparency and daily tracking updates eliminates questions and encourages people to give again. And if your employees or recipient nonprofits have questions, the right partner has a customer service team that can answer their questions or concerns.
Here at YourCause, we swiftly and accurately process donations and company matches for our clients. We encourage the nonprofits in our system to register for Automated Clearing House (ACH), which is an efficient way for donations to be directed into nonprofits accounts. However, not every charity has the bandwidth or resources to handle ACH, so we also support sending checks. NPOs can log in and see the details of the donations they receive.
This is helpful to employees as well, because they can log into our platform and check the status of their donation. And if there are any issues at all, we’re here to help. We’re setting the standard for customer service in the tech space, not to mention the CSR industry.
Questions to Consider:
There can be many caveats. Make sure to ask the following questions so funds aren’t being used where they aren’t intended. Hidden fees can be surprisingly high and undermine your program’s impact:
- What kind of fees does the CSR partner charge for processing?
- What percentage does the CSR partner take for each donation? (hint – We never do.)
- Are there penalties for nonprofits who don’t sign up for ACH direct deposit? (Some nonprofit organizations simply don’t have the infrastructure to handle direct deposit. That doesn’t mean they should be penalized.)
Your Online CSR Presence Could Use Some TLC
That Sharepoint/Google/Facebook page you’ve set up to share CSR information with your employees isn’t cutting it. Maybe it needs some TLC from your IT team. The trouble is, they don’t have the bandwidth to attend to it.
Many companies think they are saving money by building and managing an internal site, but the time and resources needed from your IT team is often a hidden cost. When there are bugs and issues, it becomes a negative impact on your users.
The simple fact is, if it’s difficult to sign up for a volunteer event, then your engagement will be low.
You need a CSR technology provider that has an already established and dedicated presence. A place that employees can go to complete their giving and volunteering tasks from the comfort of their work computer.
At YourCause, we take a partnership approach to make sure that our platform is meeting your needs. Our dedicated engineers, product designers, and UI experts eat, sleep, and breath CSR technology. This means we release updates and features monthly to continually enhance our platform.
Questions to Consider:
- Do you get enough IT resources you need to make needed changes and updates?
- How do you choose which features to update?
- Do you have to wait your turn on an IT roadmap?
- Are you getting the benefit of external ideas and benchmarking to drive innovation in your platform?
- If you find a bug, can you get it fixed in a timely fashion?
You Could Use a Community to Offer CSR Guidance
Many CSR teams are very small or completely non-existent. This makes it difficult to brainstorm new program ideas.
Since no other team is focused on the kinds of issues and business decisions you are working on, there aren’t people within your company that you can drop by their cube to collaborate with.
You’re not quite sure where to turn for practical, strategic information to help you meet the goals you have set for your programs.
The right technology partner is more than just a software provider. They become a true partner. They connect you with other clients who face similar issues, and help you communicate your best practices to a wider community.
Here at YourCause, our account managers know their clients’ program guidelines, their client contacts birthdays, and when they are prepping for a big presentation. Account Managers connect their clients to the right people within the organization and within our client network so our client contacts can grow and strengthen their professional community.
Questions to Consider:
- Where do new ideas come from and how often?
- Do you have a resource with expertise in the field to bounce ideas off of?
- Do you know others in your industry doing similar work?
- Do you know peers in other industries, in companies of different sizes, or in different locations who might have a new approach that could be a game-changer?
It can be hard to manage a successful CSR program if you don’t have the right tools and wrap around support services.
If any of these scenarios hit close to home, you may be ready for a CSR technology partner. Let’s talk through and explore if the YourCause platform can help you achieve your goals.