There clearly are folks who aren’t engaged. This is a challenge we all face. How do you engage the unengaged or those who are not passionate about a cause yet? I think we need to make the importance of what we are doing in the community more visible to people. Move away from promoting the program features and do a better job of connecting people to a cause. Once they are “tuned in,” they will leverage the match. We have seen that first hand for years. Donations naturally follow engagement.
Chevron’s program is known for its high engagement rate, why do you think that is?
I think it is because we don’t “twist people’s arm” to donate money. We try to inspire employees to get involved in the community whether that means volunteering at a school or shelter, coaching a team, or participating in events we coordinate with local nonprofits and charities.
What processes did you put in place to encourage participation?
I think our nonprofit partnership events and our employee networks are our strongest vehicles to engage people. The networks especially do a great job of connecting likeminded or culturally similar folks to charities and events that align with the things that are important to them. Our corporate drivers definitely resonate with some people, but I think getting people engaged is easier when you have co-workers and/or friends who are interested in similar causes all participating alongside each other. It is about the community at the end of the day.
Because you have such as high engagement rate you reached your match cap goal very early on in the year, what is your strategy to maintain a high level of engagement without the incentive of a company match?
We have always paid out a match for every eligible request. Even though the match budget grew by $1-2 million dollars per year from 2012-2014, our executives saw the value and continued to fund the program. So the incentive of a match has remained in place to date. That said, when the program launched in 2008 we had benchmarked against the participation rates and average donation amounts in 2006. At that time, the average individual employee match was $345/year. Today, after opening up the guidelines and providing matches to all 501c3 and public organizations, we have seen the average individual employee match grown to a staggering $2,246/year. As you can see, at this cost per participant, the total number of dollars can really start to add up as more employees begin participating.
What does the future of the Chevron matching program look like?