A few weeks ago, in our post, Houston, We Have a Problem, we discussed some of the challenges around the status quo of workplace giving and CSR programs. Next, let’s take a look at why companies have (or should have) a workplace giving program in the first place. Focusing the ‘why’ of your program in the right direction can benefit the desired outcomes so let’s start by reminding ourselves why these programs make sense. The answer is different if you’re an employer vs. a charity.
Clearly, charities like workplace giving programs because they are an extremely cost effective and productive fundraising mechanism. It follows from that logic that a key outcome for them is to hit a donation target, and to engage senior management of companies to promote that goal. That’s okay, but if that is the outcome you pursue, you cannot help but fail to generate desired business goals.
Here’s why. The fact is, employee giving and volunteering programs are an effective way to engage with your people on things that matter to them. If the extent of their bond with the company is how much they’re being paid or what their perks are, it’s a tenuous relationship that can be flipped by a change in any of those variables. But if you can connect with a person on issues that are relevant and resonant to them; that emotive connection properly fostered and supported can make them more loyal, more invested, and more likely to care about your company and your brand.
In a world where virtually everything is quickly commoditized, creating a more than lip-service commitment to supporting employees’ passion for health and social issues they care about is a sustainable differentiator. Just look at some of the empirical data around how employees (especially millennials) view the importance of community investment! 70% of people say cause factors into where they work; this rises to 87% for Millennials (2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study). Want to attract and hang on to your most promising employees? Make sure your giving and volunteering program is empowered, robust, webby and fun.
So…Why Do Many Programs Fail to Deliver the Desired Outcomes?
The reasons why many well meaning, but status quo workplace giving programs fail to deliver desired outcomes are many and varied. Here are some suggestions that might help you get over the hurdles.
Changing your perspective on outcomes and your definition of impact to focus on igniting employee engagement around your brand can help you achieve broader engagement and ROI. Done properly, a good workplace giving and volunteering program can increase productivity, create switching costs and make social brand ambassadors out of your people – those are outcomes worth pursuing and that is why every company should have one.
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KEYWORDS: Human Resources, People, Social Action & Community Engagement, benevity, workplace giving, csr, Corporate Social Responsibility, corporate giving, employee giving, Volunteering, employee passion, Employee Engagement, philanthropy, business goals, workplace giving software, corporate philanthropy