Why nonprofits may not accept a financial contribution

Corporate fundraising

Few people would argue that the greatest need of all nonprofit organizations is unrestricted revenue. The constant flow of money enables the nonprofit to fulfill its mission of addressing critical needs. 

Fundraising is critical to a charity’s success

Fundraising is a high priority for all nonprofits. Most have teams of employees dedicated to fundraising either through grants, events, sponsorships, cause marketing, workplace giving, and matching gift programs. Even smaller nonprofit organizations actively seek contributions of all types even with their limited resources. Contributions are the lifeline of all nonprofit organizations.

Some would shudder to think that some nonprofits don’t accept all contributions. The question has become, should a nonprofit accept every gift that comes its way? It’s certainly hard to say ‘no thank you!’ to donors, but sometimes…that’s the more prudent path.

Reasons why a charity rejects corporate donations

For this blog, we ask the question, why would a charity reject a cash donation from a legitimate corporation? Although it may seem counterintuitive, some potential gifts serve an organization better if they were refused! For example, a potential gift might include hidden costs, burdening and draining the accepting organization of resources that could be used to develop other resources or support the mission. Gift acceptance may also accompany implied endorsement of a company’s product or mission.

There are two primary reasons why a nonprofit might deem it appropriate to reject a contribution.

  1. A donation might be inappropriate or require resources that the nonprofit is not equipped to provide. Examples of this include in-kind donations. Very few nonprofit organizations will keep an in-kind gift. The goal is to convert those physical gifts (e.g. cars, clothes, timeshares, etc.) to monetary donations. For many charities they aren’t equipped to handle the acquisition and subsequent disposition of the gift.
  2. The donor organization might be at conflict with the nonprofit’s mission and purpose.

Importance of gift acceptance policies

In today’s world, most charities have a gift acceptance policy that states that the organization reserves the right to refuse donations from any corporate entity. The challenge is not with individual cash donations but rather corporate monetary donations.

In the case of a matching gift program, the nonprofit will accept the individual employee’s donation but may not accept the corporate match if it is from a company that the nonprofit deems ineligible. The employee donor must understand this prior to making a gift and requesting the match. Companies need to understand that nonprofits have gift acceptance policies and make sure they communicate these policies to employees. 

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) recognizes the potential conflict between receiving donations from certain types of corporations and fulfilling their humanitarian programs. They have a strong gift acceptance policy which states that MSF will not “accept contributions from companies and their respective corporate foundations whose core activities may be in direct conflict with the goals of the medical humanitarian work of MSF or which may limit MSF’s ability to provide humanitarian assistance in any way.”

MSF is not alone. Most nonprofits have similar policies which protect them from accepting donations that are in conflict with their mission and values. Nonprofits would do well to make sure companies understand these policies. The IRS considers gift acceptance policies as a “best practice”; they ask whether a nonprofit has a “gift acceptance policy” when they file documents.

Recognition, acceptance, and communication

Corporations need to respect these policies. They also need to ensure their employees who might want to contribute through a matching gift program understand that they are free to donate, but the corporate match might not be accepted.

Corporations and nonprofit organizations can create strong and powerful partnerships when they work together. However, a particular corporate group is not a strong partner for every nonprofit. Recognition and acceptance by both parties is essential. We’re impressed with the good that is being done through strong corporate nonprofit partnerships. When it’s a match, they are powerful for creating and bringing about change in the world.

We give a big shout out to the nonprofits and corporations that are working together to further their mutual objectives. Keep up the good work.

Volunteer ideas for the entire family that your kids will love

Family volunteer ideas

Nothing quite beats summer vacation with seemingly endless days filled with sun and fun. Beyond the summer reading list and occasional week at camp, a great way to occupy a child’s time is with volunteering! This post explores the importance of volunteering as a family and family volunteer ideas. 

By instilling the practice of volunteering in our children from a young age, they will be apt to volunteer as adults. This practice will boost their self-confidence, increase their knowledge about their community, and broaden their horizons.

If you are ready to start your family on your do-good journey, here are ten family volunteer ideas:

  • Socialize adoptable dogs and cats at your local animal shelter – If you find an animal you love, consider fostering him or her!
  • Pack or sort food at a local food pantry – This is an easy project that educates children about hunger in your community.
  • Conduct a donation drive – Assist your child in collecting shoes or socks for the homeless in your community. Drop them off together at your local shelter.
  • Serve food at a soup kitchen – If your children are older, volunteer at your local soup kitchen. This activity will showcase the struggles of individuals in your backyard.
  • Collect trash at a local park or beach – This is the perfect project for children of all ages. Don’t forget to weigh your trash, so you know your impact!
  • Support a child overseas – “Adopt” a child in a developing country and support him or her through monthly donations. Your child can write letters to the child you support. This opportunity will open a child’s eyes to the lives of children in other parts of the world.
  • Host a bake sale and donate the proceeds to charity – Allow your child to help out in the kitchen and choose the charity the funds support!
  • Create gift packages for soldiers overseas – Gather together supplies for soldiers serving overseas. Your child can decorate a card with well wishes.
  • Serve Meals on Wheels to seniors – Deliver a hot meal to a senior citizen in your community.
  • Assist families at the Ronald McDonald House – Volunteer alongside your older children at the Ronald McDonald House. Your service will benefit families during their time of need.

Each of these activities will introduce the importance of service to your children. With consistent volunteering, they will dedicate themselves to improving the world around them.

What does family volunteering mean for corporate volunteer coordinators?

With work and family life continuing to intersect, allowing families to participate in corporate volunteer programs will boost overall participation. Furthermore, with more individuals volunteering, you will increase your volunteer numbers and your community impact.

Engaging families in volunteer activities lays the groundwork for a well-functioning society. If we groom our children now to be volunteers, they will continue to give back throughout their life.

3 Mistakes Small Business are Making with Their Workplace Giving Program

“Build your business around being the most helpful to the world and don’t ever forget why you started giving back.”Ryan Devlin, This Bar Saves Lives

 

Workplace Giving and CSR

Year after year the companies that perform better with consumers are those companies that not only care about giving back but show they care. Workplace giving is no longer a program that is “nice to have”, but rather it is necessity to your company’s success.  Today, workplace giving is more flexible than ever thanks to technology and the growing demands of the millennial workforce.  Small businesses looking to innovate and rise above the noise of today’s competitive market are using workplace giving to accomplish this goal.

Let’s take a look at some of the pitfalls to avoid when getting started with workplace giving.   

Overlooking the Importance of Choice:

Everyone likes making their own decisions, and this holds true when it comes to causes they support.  Research shows that when charitable choice is given, employee precipitation increases (America’s Charities Snapshot Report).  

The world of workplace giving is changing rapidly. The days of companies supporting a handful of charities based on a decision from the top is over.  One recent study found that more than 63% of survey respondents indicated that it is extremely valuable that their employer offer choice of the individual nonprofit/cause he/she can give to.

The largest source of charitable giving in the U.S. comes from individuals. These individuals will demand choice when it comes to their workplace giving programs.  Companies that make it easy for employees to give to causes they care about see higher success rates.

Your employees will feel good about being able to support the causes that matter to them, and they will be happier about where they work. By empowering employee choice you will breath new life into your giving programs.  

Poor Communication of Programs and Difficult Guidelines:

The first two questions we ask our clients that are experiencing low employee participation numbers are 1) How are you communicating your programs to your employees? and 2) How easy it is for them to make a gift?  While these sound like simple questions, they mean everything in the world of workplace giving.  

Communicate clearly and communicate often, and make it easy for your employees to give when they feel inspired.  Mobile and web-based donations will be a key to success for the younger workforce.

Good Done Great provides outstanding workplace giving technology. That said, digital tools are never a replacement for good old-fashioned human touch. Ensure that your efforts to educate, encourage, and solicit employee participation are done through face-to-face interactions in addition to online channels. This is a great way to further engage your people and community.  

Not Bragging about Your Success:

We are taught at a young age that it is never polite to brag about yourself. Companies have historically followed this rule from fear of not appearing sincere in their philanthropy.  Don’t feel ashamed to tell your story.  In fact, by not telling your story your absence is speaking for you.  Stakeholders might assume you aren’t giving back as much as you should, so be a rule breaker and celebrate all the good work you are doing.  

To help share your story it is important to set goals and measure your impact.  Having goals and metrics help hold you accountable and further integrate your social impact work with your company culture.   Utilizing technology to support these goals can help you better track your impact and share results with your stakeholders.  

With the world of workplace giving continuing to evolve and grow, don’t get left behind.  Avoid these three common mistakes and watch your giving program take off.   For more information on getting started check out our post about FAQs for Small Businesses Launching a Matching Gift Program. 

Engaging consumers in corporate social responsibility

Engage consumers Corporate Social Responsibility

Chances are pretty good that you’ve had the experience of being asked to donate to charity when checking out at your favorite retail store. Whether you consider these “checkout” appeals annoying or appealing, one cannot ignore the fact that according to one study, 71% of consumers said they have participated in a checkout campaign, and 55% said they enjoyed doing it. Additionally, many indicate they will contribute again in the future when given an opportunity.

A successful way to contribute to charity

The amount of money raised through these programs is revealing. One study found that point of sale charity donations raised $441 million in 2016. In aggregate, these large point of sale donation programs have raised over $4 billion over the past three decades. The practice has become embedded in our everyday lives.

Ways to engage consumers beyond checkout campaigns

There are the traditional “donate at the register” campaigns, but there are other ways to engage consumers in charitable giving. Like many of you, I recently participated in Amazon Prime Day. When I logged in, Amazon reminded me to go to Amazon Smiles to take advantage of my desire to donate to one of my favorite charities, St. Jude Children’s Hospital,  as a result of my purchases. In this example, I didn’t have to do anything extra – just make my purchases. Super easy! Amazon made me a loyal customer and made a donation to an organization important to me.

Engaging consumers in CSR is good business

Why do companies conduct these checkout charity campaigns and other consumer facing donation programs? It’s very simple. It’s good for their business. Consumers expect and want companies to give back to the community and demonstrate good corporate citizenship. While these programs are just one way companies engage, they are very visible to consumers, employees, and other key stakeholders.

Employees become ambassadors for the cause and invite consumers to participate. Checkout campaigns raise significant amounts of money but little corporate dollars are involved. Companies get recognition and the visibility without expending a lot of corporate resources.

Positive brand association with a cause

Point of sale campaigns are effective because they are often focused on a single charity or cause. This gives a company an opportunity to be associated with a cause. Having a single cause makes it easier to communicate with consumers and demonstrates a commitment by the company.

The cause does matter. Care should be taken to identify a cause that is relevant in today’s environment, appeals to a broad constituency, and fits with the company’s values, mission, and objectives. A study by Engage for Good found the most appealing causes were children’s health, disease-related charities, and campaigns focused on animals.

Corporate Social Responsibility continues to be a differentiator in the minds of consumers.  With more than 25 years of benchmark data, Cone Communications has consistently shown a steady increase in consumer’s willingness to purchase a product or support a company with a social benefit. Consumers have a more positive image of the company, are more likely to trust a company, and demonstrate loyalty to the company if they see an authentic commitment to social responsibility.

Checkout donation programs best practices:

  • Be authentic. Consumers want and expect transparency and authenticity from brands.
  • Use incentives such as discounts or coupons to encourage participation. It is estimated that 40% of companies offer some type of incentive to encourage donations such as bonus loyalty points, coupon books, and early access to sales and promotions.
  • Connect the donation to the company’s loyalty program.
  • Ensure a strong fit between the company and the cause. For example, a grocery store raising funds to combat hunger is very compelling and demonstrates authenticity.
  • Allow for competition between stores and employees.
  • Provide recognition of employees who are actively engaged and promote donation opportunities to customers.

The top five retail checkout champions in 2016:

  • eBay raised $56.6 million for over 34,000 charities
  • Walmart and Sam’s Club raised $37 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals
  • Petco raised $28.4 million for the Petco Foundation
  • McDonald’s raised $281 million for Ronald McDonald House Charities
  • Costco raised $22.5 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

Just this week, we learned that Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals raises more than 60% of its revenue from the retail sector and primarily through checkout campaigns.

Checkout charity is just one opportunity to engage consumers, but it is a lucrative one. It’s a win-win for both charities and companies, and consumers like it.  The way consumers engage with retailers is changing but “doing good in the world is becoming a higher priority for consumers and employees.”

10 reasons you need consolidated CSR reporting

Consolidated CSR reporting

Consumers have increasingly high expectations from companies regarding their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts. These high expectations place pressure on companies and CSR professionals to authentically and transparently report upon their good works. With consolidated CSR reporting, administrators dive headfirst into their social good data and successfully represent their good works to their stakeholders.

Here are 10 functions you can perform with consolidated CSR reporting:

1) Slice and dice your data

You are probably collecting a lot of CSR data from hours volunteered to dollars donated to cause areas supported. Without a consolidated reporting tool, you can’t manipulate your data to understand your CSR impact. Since you work hard to collect the data, it’s important to have a tool in place that allows you to analyze your data the way you want.

2) Understand your impact in cause areas

The new CSR buzzword is impact. With consolidated reporting, a CSR administrator can analyze at a high-level how their volunteer, workplace giving, and grant programs impact certain cause areas. With this data, you can understand how your programs create social good in your communities.

3) Align company goals with employees’ favorite cause areas

In order for your CSR programs to be authentic, it’s important to align your company’s giving with your employees’ giving. This alignment encourages employees to participate, and they will understand why their company supports the cause areas that they support.

With consolidated reporting, CSR administrators can compare company giving with employee giving. With this information, you can determine if there is a disconnect and develop a plan to bridge the gap.

4) Report upon a state and country level

Which states and countries do your donation dollars support? Which states and countries in which your employees reside are they most active in your giving and volunteering programs? With consolidated reporting, you can analyze location activity. Furthermore, you can determine ways to recognize regions with high participation levels or brainstorm ways to engage regions with low participation rates.

5) Tell a powerful CSR story

Everyone loves a good story. With numbers and statistics, you paint a colorful picture of your giving and volunteering activity. Your employees will feel connected to your brand and proud to work for a company that cares.

6) Justify your CSR programs to senior leadership

It’s difficult to communicate the impact of your CSR programs without strong data. With consolidated reporting, you can download program details including hours volunteered, dollars donated, and causes supported. You can share this information with senior leadership and demonstrate how your programs have improved throughout the years.

7) Plan for future initiatives and promote poor-performing initiatives

It’s hard to plan for future events without a strong understanding of your current practices. Consolidated reporting provides users with the tools to analyze their current performance. With this information, you can decide which programs to continue to support or drop. It’s better to continue to offer those programs that engage your employees!

8) Identify key charity partners

Beneath your plethora of CSR data, there may be a key charity partner that you may not currently engage with. Without consolidated reporting, who knew that 75% of your employees individually volunteered with Habitat for Humanity? Once you uncover this information, you can strengthen charity partnerships or build new ones.

9) Recognize employee rockstars

Employees want to receive recognition for their participation in giving and volunteering programs. With consolidated data, you can pull reports that indicate which employees donate and volunteer the most. They will appreciate the public recognition, and this will encourage them to continue participating!

10) Demonstrate confidently to your stakeholders your CSR impact

According to the 2015 Cone Communications/Ebiquity Global CSR Study, 82% of Americans expect companies to report upon the progress of their social and environmental efforts. It’s important to share your impact upon the community and the environment. With consolidated reporting, you will share the entirety of your CSR impact, and consumers will respect your transparency.

No longer do CSR professionals need to pull data from multiple technology platforms. It is possible to use one technology platform to pull reports for true consolidated reporting. With this seamless process, you will improve your programs and easily provide your stakeholders with an understanding of your CSR impact.

Beyond the borders: challenges and opportunities with global CSR

Global CSR challenges and tactics

We live in an interconnected world. In any given day, you may talk to a colleague across the hall and later speak with someone several time zones away. The challenge for companies is how to design global CSR programs that provide those employees in far away locations the same opportunities as their U.S. peers .

The challenges faced in a global CSR program

CSR managers say one of the greatest challenges they face is creating global programs with defined metrics and demonstrating ROI on these international programs.

The challenges of running a global CSR program are vastly different than a program limited to U.S. locations. Customs and cultures are different. Expectations are different. Furthermore, finding reputable nonprofit partners across the globe is challenging. Certainly, there isn’t a one-size fits all type program. Global CSR programs must establish a standard framework while allowing for flexibility in implementation.

Standards and guidelines to ensure global CSR effectiveness

By nature, global programs must be customized by country. There are, however,  some standards and guidelines that can be established to help managers answer the questions about effectiveness and ROI.

The four traditional metrics companies use to gather CSR data include:

  1. Total contributions including cash and in-kind donations
  2. Percentage of employees participating in company giving and volunteering programs
  3. Number of volunteer hours performed
  4. The number of nonprofits impacted through financial contributions and volunteer services

These are great metrics and a good starting point. CECP offers some additional metrics that help shape the story of your company’s involvement. Their suggestions include looking at total giving as a percent of revenues and total giving per employee. These metrics can be broken out by country and compared globally.   

Key CSR targets

More and more companies focus their giving around causes. Doing so, allows them to report on giving in each of the cause areas. Another tool is the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) launched a few years ago by the UN Foundation. The SDGs, officially known as Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a set of 17 “Global Goals” with established targets for each of the goals.

If you aren’t sure where to focus, the SDGs provide clear goals and targets. What you focus on is defined by your company and what aligns with your mission, value, and business objectives.

The key is to set targets of what you want to achieve and the impact you want to have. This can be done by supporting one or more of the SDGs and reporting on your impact to Agenda 2030. It is important to be authentic, but be bold and then hold yourself accountable.

The importance of global charity partners

While it is important to have a strong partnership with your nonprofit partners in the United States, it is even more important to have an equally strong relationship with your global partners. Work together with these partners to define the outcomes you hope to achieve with your programs. Additionally, identify the key metrics that you want to track and measure progress against.

For example, if you are involved in education and employees serve as volunteer mentors, you can ask for metrics around the number of students involved in the mentoring programs and how those students performed on standardized tests. How did your financial and employee commitment move the needle on student performance?

Balance quantitative data with CSR stories

While, statistics are important and vital to showcasing your company’s CSR involvement, be sure to balance statistics with storytelling. In your CSR report, highlight nonprofits or individuals who your financial and employee engagement programs support. Stories will add the color commentary to your CSR report. In a very personal way these stories demonstrate the difference you are making.

Today, very few companies question the need to report on CSR activities. The days of hiding good works under a cloak of secrecy are over. Expectations from stakeholders are that companies will be involved and will demonstrate how they are making a difference. This story can only be told when companies have defined the metrics and outcomes that are important to them. In order to do this, you must set up a system and the tools necessary to gather the data you need to communicate your involvement and commitment.  

This post was authored by Steve Greenhalgh, our Managing Director of CSR Strategy.

FAQs for Small Businesses Launching a Matching Gift Program

So you are contemplating creating a matching gift program?  Where do you get started, and what are other small- medium businesses (SMB) doing?  The good news is that you are not alone.   In fact, according to a study completed by America’s Charities, 70% of companies offer matching gifts as a component of their volunteer and giving programs.    At Good Done Great, we work with companies of all sizes, and we are frequently contacted by small businesses looking to learn how they measure up against their peers.  

How Common is a Matching Gift program in the SMB Market?

While this number can vary greatly depending on company size and industry, the trend of workplace giving is here to stay.   Your consumers and employees are demanding it.   Fact: 91% of global consumers said they expect companies to have social and environmental goals. According to a Deloitte survey conducted last year, 70% of young Millennials, those ages 18 to 26, say a company’s commitment to the community has an influence on their decision to work there.   Every day more small businesses are jumping in to workplace giving. It is time to join the masses.

What is a Typical Match Rate?

In our experience most SMB businesses that we work with are using a 1:1 match ratio.  Sometimes this ratio will vary amongst different employee groups.  For example, your company may offer a 1:1 match for full time employees, but offer less for your part time employees. Or, you might want to offer a higher match for employees after they hit their 5 year anniversary with your company, or to those who serve in a leadership role.

The important thing to keep in mind when determining your ratio is that your matching gift program is a benefit, and no matter what ratio you are able to start with, you are increasing your impact on the social good community.

How Does My Business Benefit from Matching Gift Programs?

Who doesn’t want a more elevated brand, better relationships with your local community and happier employees?  These are just a few of the common benefits associated with a matching gift program, which we have dived in deeper in past posts here.  

Other advantages to consider are how giving back can help small businesses in their public relations effort- especially if you do not have a large PR/media budget.  You can share your good work through blog posts, press releases, and other social media channels.   This is all good, but don’t forget that an effective workplace giving program is not about you.   It is about supporting the causes your employees are passionate about.

Finally, when your company offers a matching gift program you will benefit from tax breaks.  No matter the size of your program, you are able to deduct your matching gifts from your reported income.  It is a win win for all!

What Do I Need to Consider When Building a Matching Gift Program?

There are many factors to consider when building a matching gift program, but in summary here are some key principles to keep in mind:

  • Allow employee choice.  It is ok to select causes that are eligible for your program, but giving is personal, so allow your employees to choose which specific non-profit they want to support.
  • Keep it simple and social.  Plan ahead for what infrastructure will keep the program engaging and easy to use.  
  • Make time to ensure your program is well run.  Whether this means you appoint a program administrator or hire someone to manage the program, make sure it is a program that will not fall to the bottom of your priority list.  It will take time and effort to nurture and grow your matching gift program.  In the end, it will be worth it!

For more tips on getting started and running effective matching gift programs for the small business stayed tuned and sign up for more information at www.gooddonegreat.com . Sign up for our newsletter today! 

The importance of outcome measurement in defining CSR success

Outcome measurement and corporate social responsibility

Open any Corporate Social Responsibility report, and chances are you will see glossy photos of employees picking up trash or painting a building. Amid the photos, statistics highlight the hours volunteered, dollars donated, and charities supported. The photos and statistics provide proof points for CSR programs, but do they accurately depict the impact companies create in the communities in which they operate?

Many corporations stop their CSR tracking with outputs – hours volunteered, dollars donated, and charities supported. They fail to ask themselves the question, “Why would our stakeholders care?”

We can take a hint from foundations and other grantmaking organizations to better report upon our CSR impact. These organizations utilize the outcome measurement approach to track inputs, activities, outputs, and outcomes. This model more accurately answers the question, “so what?”

Say one of your CSR programs is a volunteer program that matches your employees with students for one-on-one mentoring and tutoring. The inputs include the volunteers, books, writing utensils, computers, budget, and any other inputs needed to operate the program.

Activities may include helping with homework, demonstrating computer functionality, and participating in any extracurricular activities that may boost the confidence of the students.

The outputs are the tangible results of the volunteer program – hours volunteered, numbers of students mentored.

The final and most important components of the outcome measurement approach are the outcomes and performance indicators. These components indicate the intended impact of the CSR program and the specific and measurable characteristics of the program.

The outcomes of a mentoring and tutoring program may include improved reading comprehension, increase in computer literacy, and increase in confidence and self-esteem. These outcomes indicate what you hope your tutoring and mentoring program may accomplish and can be jointly decided upon with your nonprofit partners.

In order to determine the success of the outcomes, program administrators determine performance indicators, these are the measurements of your outcomes.  Referring to our example of a mentoring and tutoring program, here are some sample performance indicators:

  • 75% of students improved standardized test scores
  • 89% of students surveyed revealed they had more self-confidence in school
  • 63% of students improved their computer literacy

Imagine how powerful your CSR reports will be with statistics that indicate the effectiveness of your programs. Your nonprofit partners will more accurately understand the impact of your partnership, your leadership and board will recognize the importance of your CSR programs, and your company’s programs will more clearly indicate positive transformation within your communities.

For any corporate group that wants to move the needle on their CSR reporting, we suggest you work with your nonprofit partners to determine the outcomes you hope to achieve with your programs. No one doubts the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility in increasingly troubling times; however, it’s important to move beyond the vanity metrics and report upon real and sustainable change.

3 Secrets to Unlocking Your Giving Program’s Potential

In an earlier post, we explored how easy it is to get started with a workplace giving program.  More and more small to mid-sized businesses are launching giving programs, and they are seeing the benefits, from happier and more engaged employees to brand recognition in their local communities. To read more about how to get started, check out our post on Starting an Employee Giving Program in 4 Easy Steps. Now, let’s take a deeper look into how to better engage your employees through those workplace giving programs.   

The millennial workforce has made their voice heard about wanting giving options in the workplace.  This trend is even more relevant with recent changes in administration and heated political climate.   Corporate philanthropy is on the rise.  In fact, overall corporate giving has increased by 4.7% in 2017, and it is expected to continue to rise in 2018.  So how to make sure you stay ahead of the curve with this rising trend?  The answer is to listen to your employees and engage them in every aspect of your giving programs.  In this post, we’ve outlined 3 key tips to unlocking your giving program’s potential.  

Tip 1: Make Giving an Integral Part of Your Culture  

Employees want a culture of giving that reflects the values and mission that attracted them to your company. Additionally, employees want the opportunity to give back in a way that reflects their own personal choice and passions. Think about what makes your company stand out?  How can you incorporate your own uniqueness into your giving programs?  While having support for corporate philanthropy needs to come from leaders, seeking feedback from your employees on how they want to be engaged and what causes they are interested in supporting is critical to your success.

Start by soliciting input and feedback into potential giving programs.  Remember that, as the saying goes, ‘charity starts at home,’ meaning your employees likely have causes that they care about already.  Let them volunteer their favorite causes as potential recipients of your workplace giving programs.  Encourage your employees to donate  and/or volunteer for causes they personally care about and demonstrate this commitment through senior leadership’s own commitment to charity.  If your company is new to corporate giving, the following are examples of how to get the ball rolling:

  • Ask your employees to nominate a favorite community cause or campaign.  Eliminate those that don’t fit with your brand, and hold a vote on which ones to support.
  • Create a strategy to support your giving program and ensure it fits with your existing operations and resources.
  • Get your CEO to make a big splash for a cause and showcase it to your employees.
  • Create a matching gift program that shows a tangible commitment from the company.  You give, we give, let’s all give.
  • Make your program a priority. Workplace giving should be just as important as  your mandated sessions on health care or retirement planning.

If your employees feel ownership for your giving program and leadership embeds giving into your culture, you will create higher levels of engagement and participation.

A giving program that your employees have a sense of ownership in and embedded into everyday culture at your workplace will create higher levels of engagement and participation.  

Tip 2: Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

Be ready and expect questions. You will need to communicate the alignment between your giving program’s goals and your company’s values and the importance of participation.You will need to  communicate how your giving program aligns with your company’s values and goals and why it is important for all to get involved.  

A caveat: employee participation should always be voluntary, and pains should be taken to ensure that no employee feels he or she is being pressured into giving or volunteering. To be successful in integrating your giving programs into your culture you will need to communicate with all  your key stakeholders and create buy in.  

The #1 reason employees don’t give? They weren’t asked.  The #2 reason: nobody told them how.  Be sure to communicate early and often about the program and how they can participate.  Repeat as necessary.  Your communication plan will be a marathon and not a sprint, so get ready for a long term commitment.  Don’t forget that your efforts to educate, encourage, and solicit employee participation are done through face to face interactions in addition to online channels.  

Tip 3: Measure Impact and Share  

Your workplace giving program is only as effective as your actual knowledge about its outcomes.  It is incredibly important to have a system in place that allows for accurate tracking and reporting.  Even if you don’t have the resources to invest in infrastructure to support your giving program at this stage, start planning for when you might.  In the meantime, track metrics that include things such as employee participation rates, dollars raised, and time donated.  Showing your story of impact will attract more employee support.   The more employees feel they can create change, the more motivated they will be.  We have seen success when companies support and reward their employees in personal volunteer activities or encourage employees to recognize each other for good social impact work.  

The benefits to workplace giving are numerous, but if you are able to embrace it as part of your company culture, effectively communicate the desired outcomes of the program and steps for involvement,  and show your collective impact, you will take an important step in unlocking your giving program’s potential.  

Stay tuned to our upcoming blogs for more effective workplace giving tips and secrets.  Learn more about us at www.gooddonegreat.com .

Don’t leave money on the sidewalk: A closer look at matching gift programs

Imagine you are walking down the street, and you find a $50 bill lying on the sidewalk.

You pick it up, and prior to pocketing it, you check to see if anyone is around. You most certainly won’t leave it on the sidewalk.

Every year, charities leave $6 to $10 billion on the sidewalk. The source of this missed funding? Unclaimed matching gifts.  

According to Double the Donation, 65% of Fortune 500 companies offer matching gift programs, and over 18 million people work for companies with matching gift programs. The median participation rate of employees who participated in matching gifts programs in 2016 was 7%.

Not only do corporations offer this program as a benefit, but employees also request the opportunity to give back. More and more research demonstrates employees’ desires to participate in CSR efforts through the workplace.

The existence of these programs indicates that employers are willing to place their corporate dollars into the hands of their employees. Companies and charities have an incredible opportunity to develop workplace giving campaigns together that meet the charitable desires of current and future employees.

We all know that charities and CSR departments work with limited resources and limited staff; therefore, it can be difficult to stay on top of promoting corporate matching gift programs.

Take advantage of matching gift programs

We’ve developed a few tips for charities and for-profit companies in order to maximize the effectiveness of their matching gift programs:

For charities…

  • Collect employment data from your donors. Once you know where your donors work, you can collect information on their matching gift program. Does their employer offer a program? Are your donors taking advantage of the program?
  • Network with the local companies in your neighborhood. Both small and large companies alike are developing matching gift programs as a way to attract and retain employees. Reach out to them and schedule a lunch and learn so that their employees can get to know your mission and vision.
  • Determine a list of other companies beyond your local region that offer matching gift programs. Use a service such as Double the Donation.

For companies…

  • Communicate, communicate, communicate. In the daily hustle of life, it is easy for employees to forget about the benefits that their employers offer them. Find out where your employees “hang out” either online or in person and post reminders about your matching gift program. Place posters in lunchrooms or bathrooms, utilize your employee giving software to place popup reminders, or post announcements on your intranet.
  • Offer your employees choice! An America’s Charities study found that employee participation increases when the workplace giving campaign features a group of charities or the option to donate to whichever charity the employee chooses.
  • Make it relevant! Tie in current holidays and themes to encourage participation! Since June is Men’s Health Month, develop a matching gift campaign that demonstrates the importance of good health and mention several charities that support men’s health and wellness.

It’s time that we stop leaving money on the sidewalk! Charities and corporate groups alike will reap substantial benefits by participating in matching gift programs.