Back-to-School: Time for an Employee Giving Refresh

Katie Dunlap August 7, 2018 Employee Engagement

With September coming and school right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about the annual workplace employee giving campaign season. Thousands of companies take advantage of this season to encourage their employees to donate to charity. And with today’s climate, Corporate Social Responsibility has never had greater visibility or such a strong foothold in the American workforce than it does currently.

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CSR practitioners are feeling the pressure, debating how to reinvent their program’s relevancy while battling declining employee interest in the predictable annual giving campaign.

After witnessing clients develop and promote these giving campaigns year-after-year, I’ve come up with seven key strategies identified as most important in executing a successful annual employee giving program sure to improve employee visibility and get your program’s year off right on track.

If amplifying your employee giving campaign is on your back-to-school agenda, consider putting some of these to use this fall!


Make a Plan

It seems simple enough, but all too often, we get dragged down in the weeds. We forget to set overall goals on where we are headed and end up distracted by smaller parts.

Just like any new class at the beginning of the school year, a teacher provides a syllabus. It outlines the structure of the year, what will be covered, what students will learn, etc. Create a syllabus for your employee giving campaign this fall by making a plan and let it be your guide.

Your plan should provide a clear vision for your program and should identify your campaign’s objectives, goals, and strategies.  You will als0 need to define the roles and responsibilities of employees. Simply stated, this plan is going to be your roadmap to success for the campaign. Start back on the right foot this campaign season with a planned and guided agenda!


Make it Easy to Participate

Just like ‘one-stop’ shopping for back-to-school supplies, overall research indicates that ‘convenience’ is one of the most important driving factors for employees when it comes to donations.

Give employees more options on when and how they contribute, offering payroll, credit card, and other financial giving options. Consider moving from a once-a-year campaign to a year-round approach to giving.

If your company uses a technology platform to administer your employee giving program, make sure all employees have access, either through a website, mobile site, or other means. If employees don’t readily have access to the tools, they are much less likely to engage.


employee giving campaign, YourCause
For Red Nose Day, YourCause employees only needed to participate by wearing red and purchasing a nose at their local Walgreens, making it an easy giving campaign to participate and engage in!


Make it Personal

Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all teaching, so why would engaging in an employee giving campaign be any different? When building your fall CSR agenda, you want to ensure that it relates to your employees while remains personal to your company’s unique mission and culture.  

Allowing your employees to have choices when developing giving options is a strategic way companies can reflect the diverse interests of the workforce while maintaining the overall mission of a company.

Companies can make recommendations for employees by featuring specific nonprofits or causes that align with the company’s mission. Make sure this is done in conjunction with a campaign that allows employees to give to causes that are important to their own personal passions and interests. When doing this, employee participation actually increased during giving campaigns featuring a choice for employees to give to.


Make it Fun!

We all remember our favorite teacher… why? – Because we learned the most that year, but we did it while having fun! If your campaign has people falling asleep during lectures, find ways to inject some fun into it. We’ve found that events and contests help to build excitement and add an element of fun to any giving campaign.

You may want to consider:

  • Including competitive games in the giving campaign
  • Hosting a donation drive
  • Doing a crowd-funding project as a team or department
  • Hosting a fitness challenge
  • Incorporating a volunteer project

Another important element of any giving campaign is the social aspect. Test out different events, games, contests, etc. with your employees and see how they respond. Once you find something that works with your culture, include those elements in your CSR program to create a unique and fun employee giving campaign this fall!


employee giving campaign, yoga
We challenged employees to do fun things in their ‘noses’ all day long and take pictures of it to support the giving campaign.


Make it Authentic

Anything is cool if the seniors are doing it!

We learned this early in high school, but it’s funny how much doesn’t change when we get older. If the people at the top are totally in, they can act as brand ambassadors, demonstrating their support and engaging employees throughout the company.

While top-down mandates are gone, authentic involvement and participation from the CEO and other senior leadership goes a long way during employee giving campaigns, truly becoming a company-wide all employee effort.


Make a Match

One key reason employees donate through their workplace instead of an outside source is because of corporate match opportunities. Not only does this increase the personal impact that an employee gets to have on a cause they care about, but it also shows that their employer is making a genuine commitment to their employees, their employees’ causes, and others.  

Many clients have seen that both employee participation and total giving numbers increase when a corporate match is offered. Show your employees in a simple and effective way that your company is ‘on their team’ this fall and you are sure to see improvements in your giving campaign!


Make People Feel Wanted

Finally, recognize and thank your employees for participating and volunteering in your CSR programs! Providing the appropriate recognition to the people responsible for helping and engaging ensures that donors are acknowledged and thanked for their work and financial contributions.

Next year’s campaign begins by thanking those who had a hand in this year’s success.  Let them know they are appreciated, valued, and that you want them back next year!

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Don’t leave home this summer empty-handed, head back to the office in style with a refreshed employee giving campaign agenda! Including these tips in your ‘back-to-campaign’ agenda will sure to bring increased participation and elevated employee experience.