Employees Don’t Know What They Don’t Know

Danielle Morgan November 5, 2015 Employee Engagement

For employees, a workplace giving program is becoming less of a perk and more of an expectation. Popularity and demand surrounding successful volunteering, corporate matching, and giving programs continue to grow. Companies are working hard to implement programs that meet their employees’ expectations, but I have found that many companies sometime struggle to set and manage what the employees should truly expect. Employers need to ensure that they are on the same page as their employees when it comes to the feasible functions and benefits of a company’s CSR program. In an effort to help companies avoid future confusion and set clear expectations, I have identified key points that should be clearly communicated surrounding all giving and/or volunteering programs.

They don’t know what they don’t know, so educate them. Arm your program champions and CSR support team with answers to the following questions:

  • What types of charities are eligible or ineligible for a donation and matching gift?
  • Are different types of employees eligible for different programs?
  • Is there an employee match cap?
  • Is there a corporate match cap? If so, are the matching dollars awarded on a first come, first serve basis?

In today’s tech world, society is trained to expect actions to happen instantly. Employees that give are no different. When they donate they want the NPO to receive the funds instantly. As a CSR professional you know this may not always be the case. Be sure to explain the “why” behind your processing schedule to help employees understand the timeframe. Ask them to,

  • Consider the resources available within a non-profit organization – NPOs can often lack resources to take, record, and deposit donations on a daily basis. A monthly or quarterly processing schedule allows for a more consistent time frame for receiving checks – allowing NPOs to plan for the personnel needed for the intake of funds.
  • Note that processing fees play a role your program’s budget – Though YourCause consolidates all checks going to the same charity per disbursement cycle in effort to limit the number of check fees assessed, these fees still must be considered when budgeting. It may be helpful to explain to employees your monthly or quarterly processing schedule helps to eliminate additional check fees by allowing donations to the same charity to accrue, therefore allowing for benefits such as higher match caps, or the ability to cover credit card transaction fees for your employees.

Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. People absorb information differently, so be sure to communicate your program parameters via multiple mediums and at multiple times. Below are a few mediums that I suggest to easily communicate all program details to the entire employee base:

  • Include giving program details in new hire onboarding material – Along with explaining the benefits available and how to use the platform, explain all of the guidelines and limitations as well. Employees will come on board, not only excited about the benefit offered to them, but also aware of the boundaries of the programs so there are no surprises or assumptions. Consider providing this information to all employees annually as a refresh on your programs.
  • Utilize all of the messaging features within the your CSR platform – Our platform, CSRconnect, has a number of different ways to get information out to employees including places to house program-specific guidelines, FAQs, and administrator messaging capabilities that allow for customizable messages to be included on various pages throughout the community. Match summaries are also available to employees each time they request a match so they are kept up to speed on the dollars they have available to them.
  • Keep your account manager up to date with all program guidelines and changes – Our YourCause account management and customer support teams are happy to explain the ‘why’ behind a program to employees when needed. By keeping them in the loop they are able to effectively communicate program benefits and parameters to our clients’ employees.

Communicating clearly, explaining the functions of your program, and keeping everyone on the same page will help you lay a solid foundation to build enthusiasm and confidence in your company’s CSR program. You want employees to be excited about what your program is able to do, and defining expectations will help you avoid future bumps in the road that could lessen the momentum and excitement surrounding your company’s CSR efforts. And, most importantly, don’t forget to emphasize what your company CAN do (and is doing) to make an impact and how you all are making a difference!