In 2016, we celebrated our 10th anniversary of running an employee giving campaign. It was incredible to be able to use the momentum from previous years to drive one of our most successful campaigns. Our people and organization raised over $800 thousand dollars for charity and donated nearly 1000 hours of volunteer time! As the Executive Director of Ceridian Cares (our Canadian charity) and the ambassador for our giving back activities in the United States, I am so proud to lead a team this dedicated to giving back.
Want to run an employee giving campaign at your organization? Here are some ways you can ensure it runs smoothly, is fun for all and a success:
Create community – the people strategy
As a starting point, you need to take inventory of what and who you’re working with. Conduct a report of total existing employees and their preferred charities, and profile the community partners that will be receiving the funds. Also, take into consideration how your virtual employees can get involved and how you can make them feel part of the campaign. To help establish an emotional connection to the cause, communicate not just what you’re doing, but why you’re doing it.
Start early, report often
A crucial aspect of any corporate giving campaign is to track its progress. From the very start, you should know how you are going to report, as well as when. Set clear requirements for daily reporting and develop a process to tie metrics to the objectives. Peel back layers of the onion. Roll up totals by groups that make sense to your organization, whether that be by office location, business unit or something else.
Want to become a fundraising engine? Payroll deduction is key. Meet with your payroll professionals as soon as possible to ensure giving is both easy and confidential. You’ll want to distribute the name-free reporting details from payroll to the key fundraising stakeholders every day – and a secure third-party payment solutions provider can make this easier. In addition to setting up the payroll deductions, there is another step – getting the funds to the recipients. A mechanism that ensures each donation gets to the correct agency or charity is an added cost, but in many instances it’s absolutely worth it. This might not be crucial for your organization, but it was for us. When each of our U.S. offices was fundraising for the United Way, we needed to ensure that all the donations went to the appropriate UW agency and communities. The more expansive and complex your campaign is, the more critical this element becomes in guaranteeing its success.
Get all hands on deck, early
As the expression goes, it takes a village. Ask for help from many diverse hands throughout the organization, not just HR. Identify national co-chairs and point people for each physical office, as well as a virtual contact person. Other key individuals you’ll need are:
- Someone with exceptional data and reporting skills
- Marketing or communications support
- Executive-level commitment and visibility
- A privacy auditor (someone who’s only role is to ensure all donations are private and confidential)
- Social Committee input
Start your planning calls as early as possible and make sure communication is ongoing. Find ways to bring the activities of each office together. Some fun and engaging activities to consider include golf tournaments, food/toy drives, social media challenges, and potlucks.
Unify with a communications strategy and be consistent
To ensure your giving campaign runs as smoothly as possible, make sure everyone has the tools, guidance, and resources needed to fuel the message. Provide materials, posters, and templates with messaging and social media plans. Will the event have a hashtag? (It should!) If so, make sure all communications that go out have it clearly displayed.
Although unifying communications is important, it’s not ideal for every office to be holding exactly the same activities. Rather, consider providing templates to your locations, allowing the creativity and engagement of your teams to soar.
One last tip: Don’t underestimate the power of swag (like our Ceridian Cares socks!).
By 2025, the total charitable contributions by Americans could reach more than $55 trillion, according to the National Philanthropic Trust. It’s clearly a great time to start a giving back initiative at your organization. Why not kick it off with your first campaign?