Should Starbucks have an open bathroom policy? Should Amazon support DACA? How should businesses respond to #MeToo?In today’s world, social issues matter. They are on the front page of every newspaper and social media site. Your employees are taking action and expect their company to as well.

  • 75% of US workers between the ages of 18 and 34 expect their employer to take positions on social issues affecting the country, such as civil rights, immigration, and climate change.
  • 84% of US workers believe companies have an important voice in proposed legislation, regulation, and executive orders that could affect the employer’s business or the lives of employees.
  • 75% of US workers expect their employer to support groups and individuals and need in their respective communities, either through donations and/or volunteer efforts.

If employee activism is a hot topic for you, then you won’t want to miss this year’s Employee Engagement Summit in NYC. Andrew Davis, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Coca-Cola, will talk about Tackling Today’s Social Issues and Igniting Employee Activism. A hands-on workshop Connecting Social Issues and Employee Activism with your Brand hosted by Best Buy will follow.

Register now for the 17th Annual Employee Engagement Summit June 27-28, 2018 to leverage employee activism in your business goals.

 

In which parts of the world does your company operate or have impact? Where do your employees live? Consider investing in the needs of these areas to boost global citizenship and expand your regional footprint by incorporating these funds in your employee giving strategies. Regional High Impact Funds can be used as a stand‑alone opportunity or incorporated into employee giving campaigns at no cost to your company. They offer a focused, turnkey solution to enhance CSR efforts, engage with charities and foster employee engagement.

 

Donors are increasingly more likely to give to issues or causes that they are passionate about, rather than remaining loyal to a single charity. Strategically aligning with this trend, Global Impact created a suite of High Impact Funds to serve the interests of donors and offer corporate partners with a unique opportunity for their CSR strategies.

 

Each fund brings together respected charities working directly on key themes, like hunger and education, or in geographic regions, like Africa and the Middle East, to help the world’s most vulnerable people. These funds provide individuals with a powerful option to maximize the effectiveness of their donations and give corporations a simple way to engage in key humanitarian issues and geographic areas.

 

As the globalization movement continues and companies find themselves with an increasingly global workforce, the need and desire to support particular regions is becoming more important than ever. Corporations want to invest in the areas where their employees live and work, and individuals want to support their fellow team members. Global Impact’s regional High Impact Funds provide an opportunity to cultivate this interest in particular geographies and offer a curated list of organizations that are effective in those regions.

  • The Global Impact Africa Fund provides critical support and humanitarian assistance to those living in this region. It brings together Africare, Amref Health Africa, World Bicycle Relief and Partners in Health.
  • The Global Impact Asia-Pacific Fund offers support for economic and social growth for the people of this region. It brings together American Himalayan Foundation, ChildFund International, Helen Keller International and MAP International.
  • The Global Impact Europe Fund focuses on stabilizing and supporting vulnerable people in this region. It brings together FINCA International, SOS Children’s Villages – USA and HIAS.
  • The Global Impact Latin America and the Caribbean Fund works to relieve chronic poverty by providing solutions to eradicate economic instability. It brings together Pan American Development Foundation, Project HOPE, Rise Against Hunger and SEE International.
  • The Global Impact Middle East Fund meets the development and humanitarian needs of those in this region. It brings together American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA), Humanity & Inclusion and Refugees International.
  • The Global Impact North America Fund helps to increase food security and support economic development in this region. It brings together Direct Relief, Habitat for Humanity, International Relief Teams and Save the Children.

 

Working in countries all over the world, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is a prime example of how to incorporate High Impact Funds into employee engagement strategies. Recently, an employee at the IMF wanted to raise funds to fight poverty in Africa by tackling one of the world’s toughest running races, the “Marathon des Sables” (MdS)—a course of more than 150 miles (254 kilometers) in the Sahara Desert in southern Morocco. IMF leadership encouraged employees to support their colleague and worked with Global Impact to feature and promote the Africa Fund on their workplace giving platform and through internal communications.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about the regional or thematic High Impact Funds as part of your employee engagement strategy, please reach out to Joseph Mettimano at joseph.mettimano@charity.org..

 

Last week, we shared best practices to engage your remote and global team members in volunteerism. Today we are excited to share three more tips on how to best engage front-line team members in skills-based volunteerism.

The Opportunity: Front-line corporate team members, such as those in customer service roles or based in call centers, often have high turnover due to the stress of their jobs. Engaging this group in skilled volunteering not only gives them an opportunity for talent development, but also makes them feel more connected to their colleagues, both of which can lead to better employee retention rates and increased workplace happiness. Front-line employees also have incredibly relevant customer service skillsets that translate to nonprofit sector needs, including cultivating donor relationships and training nonprofit client-facing staff in customer service best practices.

The Challenge: These employees are often exempt, hourly employees, making them a challenging group to engage in volunteering and get manager approval to complete this work “on the clock.” Additionally, companies might not realize how this particular skillset can translate to a value-add for the nonprofit sector.

Here are two best practices that can help overcome these challenges and maximize the benefits of utilizing skills-based volunteering to engage front-line team members:

  1. Design a Flexible Program: Developing flexible skills-based volunteering programs that offer virtual participation and have low time commitment is crucial to engaging front line employees. The ability for employees to complete the work “off the clock” or in a short timeframe will increase the likelihood of participation and manager approval.

 

  1. Translate Corporate Skills to Meet Nonprofit Needs: Front-line employees, including front-line managers, have valuable customer service skills that translate to nonprofit needs. Communicating how these individual’s skillsets can support a nonprofit’s capacity building needs can help employees feel confident about participating in a skills-based volunteer project and their ability to make an impact.

Interested in learning about how to engage decentralized employees at your company? Join our session at the upcoming Charities@Work Summit in NYC on Thursday, June 28th to hear from industry experts at JPMorgan, Marriott International, John Hancock, and Wells Fargo about how you can utilize skills-based volunteering to engage global, remote and front-line employees.

 

Understanding Fees

In the last few years, we have seen the rise in popularity of crowdfunding and online fundraising, allowing anyone to raise money for a 501(c)3 they are passionate about or provide support for those who are in need of financial help. While these tools have proven to be increasingly useful and in high demand, many of these tools do not operate under a Transparent Giving model, rather under a model that takes a small fee with each donation made through their sites.

With information readily available at our fingertips, individuals have discovered the fundraising fee model and have taken those that practice it to task. During the 2017 California wildfires, a social media influencer asked followers to Venmo her cash, which she used to buy gift cards for victims, just to get around the fees that would have been applied to donations. Her followers were willing to forgo the security of sites that verify the distribution of funds and trusted a random stranger, just to bypass these fees. Because of these pressures, GoFundMe removed fees on personal fundraisers for an undistinguished length of time and Facebook removed them altogether.

Removing Fees

Deciding to remove fees can be a tough decision, one that directly impacts the bottom line of a company operating under in a Transparent Giving model. However, corporations that choose to drop fundraising fees are aware of the public’s outcry, knowing that it is the ethical thing to do. The company understands the potential negative impact on their own bottom line but sees the betterment of the individual or nonprofit organization as more important. Taking a stand for society over the long-term instead of choosing profits in the short term positively impacts their brand and their reputation.

Corporate America Takes Notice

In the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) industry, we are seeing these same trends play out. Corporations are beginning to ask platform providers about their fee models. It is important to take note that the fees a platform charges can make the difference in whether an employee chooses to participate in a CSR campaign, employee satisfaction, and so much more.

From the beginning, YourCause has chosen a transparent business model, not taking a percentage of any donation made through our platform. We are seeing more and more companies express an interest in partnering with those that practice this model and an added assurance that the most possible amount of employee donation makes it to the intended organization. The result?… Companies have begun choosing a transparent giving model because they are committed to a CSR model that minimizes the fees deducted from an employee’s donation and maximizes the impact of every dollar donated. They are also proudly displaying their commitment using the Transparent Giving badge within their philanthropic platform, as well as on their website and social media channels. Developed and launched by YourCause, the Transparent Giving badge is an industry-first initiative recognizing companies who are committed to maximizing the impact of their employees’ charitable contributions.

 

The Future is Exciting

Looking to the future, it’s exciting to see our consistent decision to practice a Transparent Giving model echoed by other platforms. In the end, we all have the same goal of making our world a better place. Ensuring that a greater percentage of funds makes it to our nonprofit partners is key to achieving our goals, however, the conversation isn’t over. People and corporations all over the world must continue calling for transparency in the fundraising process. We’re excited to support other corporations and organizations as they begin the process of eliminating fees and understanding what that means for the future of the bottom line.  
If your company is part of the Transparent Giving movement, we invite you to download the Transparent Giving badge and display it proudly!

At Common Impact, we know that skills-based volunteering is an effective employee engagement and talent development tool for all team members. Skills-based volunteering stretches participants’ current talents in a new environment, develops new skill sets including teamwork, navigating ambiguity, client focus, and much more. However, for skills-based volunteering to become truly transformative, it is important that organizations create “sticky” relationships between their companies and nonprofit partners to ground their pro bono programs in their people. Recognizing the benefits of experiential learning initiatives may be more obvious for team members based in an office location, but we have found that skills-based volunteering is a powerful tactic to reach employees wherever they are in the organization or the world.

Today we are excited to share three great ways to engage your remote and global workforce through skills-based volunteerism.

The Opportunity: Corporate employees have the opportunity to interact, and learn from colleagues across the globe, stretching cultural competencies and broadening networks. Companies also benefit from having access to an expanded talent pool that surpasses geographic boundaries and, if done correctly, employees who are happier and more productive. For nonprofits, removing geographic boundaries enables organizations to benefit from a wider reach of corporate talent and expertise. These remote and global volunteers also expand a nonprofit’s potential donor and volunteer pool, as volunteers share their experience with their networks and spread greater awareness of the nonprofit’s mission.

The Challenge: However, in order to capitalize on these opportunities: employees must interact effectively and cultivate relationships with each other despite cultural and communication hurdles; managers need to adequately supervise and support their virtual workforce; and cross-departmental teams need to work together across geographic boundaries.

Here are three best practices to overcome these challenges and maximize the benefits of virtual skills-based volunteering:

  1. Establish a local presence: There is no replacement for an in-person, local connection. When possible, Common Impact has found it helpful to include at least one employee on the team that is local to the nonprofit community. This helps to cultivate a strong relationship and connection with the nonprofit, even if the rest of the team is virtual.

 

  1. Embrace Technology: Using technology to enhance team collaboration, relationship development, and connection to the nonprofit are key to a successful virtual engagement. In particular, we have found that reliable conference call services, and screen/video sharing platforms such as GoToMeeting and GoToWebinar are helpful to support these technology needs.

 

  1. Support Team Leads: Each Common Impact project is led by one corporate volunteer, dubbed the “team lead.” Managing virtual teams can be challenging for leaders of all skill levels – making this a compelling stretch opportunity for team leads. We have found it critical to have accessible support for the team leads intentionally built into the engagement, as it ensures project success while reinforcing leadership development.

Interested in learning about how to engage decentralized employees at your company? Join our session at the upcoming Charities@Work Summit in NYC on Thursday, June 28th to hear from industry experts at JPMorgan, Marriott International, John Hancock and Wells Fargo about how you can utilize skills-based volunteering to engage global, remote and front-line employees.

 

Volunteering continues to drive engagement and is an outlet for social change. Whether companies are giving their employees time off to work on specific projects, known as “paid release/volunteer time off” programs, or teams are getting together to tackle an issue at a local non-profit, the gift of time and expertise within the workplace has been exploding. Time and funding support have been increasing over the last decade, as challenges continue and citizens find their voice to make a difference

The advantages a volunteer program that works are numerous (as well as charitable). Perhaps you’ve heard that:

  • Points of Light through “Straight to the Point” has shared a number of advantages–
  1. Employees see release time as a benefit or ‘perk’ that improves employee morale, retention, and recruitment.
  2. Active, engaged employees are happier, more professional, and more productive.
  3. Employees are able to engage with volunteer opportunities that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do, such as with their children’s school.
  4. Promotes the company as a ‘good neighbor’ in the community.
  5. Typically, union employees are included in the release time program, which bridges the gap between union and management.
  6. Brings positive outcomes for the company, including employee development opportunities, leadership building, team building, and increased employee morale.
  • According the current Deloitte Volunteerism Survey,
    1. “89% of surveyed corporate human resources executives believe that companies who sponsor volunteer activities offer a better overall working environment than those who do not”
    2. “77% say company-sponsored volunteer activities are essential to employee well-being”
  • A July 2017 article in Forbes states – “You can find case studies all over the place describing the remarkable return on investment that corporate volunteering efforts deliver to companies large and small. The rewards your ‘brand’ could enjoy by making itself synonymous with doing good in the world can’t really be overstated. The Carroll School of Management studied this formally and documented how closely linked employer-sponsored volunteering and core business goals really are. “Reputation management” is just the tip of a very enticing iceberg.”

It’s simple to see why companies are clamoring to facilitate volunteerism initiatives within their organizations. In fact, more than 3 out of 4 companies are implementing some sort of paid release program for employees. Excellent EVPs implement a variety of time-release policies, depending on the company’s nature and strategic approach around employee volunteerism. This means that while some companies can afford to give employees PTO to serve on volunteer committees, smaller companies may have to rely on increased PTO if the employee chooses to spend that PTO giving back to the community in a formalized way.

The advantages are clear: employees see the time off, skill building, and camaraderie they get from volunteering on “company time” as a value add; volunteer programs can give the organization a good name in the community; and paid release can bridge the gap between union and management (which can occasionally be a tenuous relationship). So how do you build a volunteerism program in your own company?

  • Ensure your program is properly administered and someone is on hand to handle the requirement of requesting and approving of paid time off. The last thing a great volunteerism program needs is someone not playing by the rules.
  • Consider combining your volunteer paid time off policy with a program that is near and dear to the organization (if your company has its own charity or non-profit arm, for example) or one that is meaningful to employees (smaller towns may have schools where many employees’ children attend that can use the volunteer hours).
  • Build in a “disaster relief” clause that allows for employees to go without sufficient notice to assist during a time of crisis (Hurricane, earthquake, tornado, et al)

 

To set the stage, please consider the following example:

Purpose/Goal:

The purpose of the program is to support activities that enhance and serve communities in which we live and work and the issues that impact quality of life.

We recognize that participating in these sorts of activities enriches the lives of its employees.  Community is not defined as just local community, but may encompass the global community.

Amount of Time:

Employees can donate up to 24 hours (3 days) per calendar year toward charitable organization, in accordance with giving and volunteering guidelines.  More than one organization may be chosen. 

The hours break down as follows:

  • 2 half-days off for group volunteer activities, sponsored by the company (8 hours)
  • 16 hours off for personal volunteering by the employee

This donated time, up to 24 hours per calendar year, will be considered paid time off.  The pay rate will be the employee’s current base salary on the day(s) the time is taken.

This time is refreshed at the beginning of each calendar year, unless the program is amended or discontinued, and does not accrue from year to year.  Usage of this time or lack thereof does not affect vacation accrual or sick leave usage.

It takes a lot of moving arms throughout the entire organization to make volunteering at work not just a reality, but a thriving enterprise. Do your research, get advice, and then make something big happen. The advantages of some sort of volunteerism are clear, it’s up to you to assess what will work for your organization and begin reaping the benefits

If you aren’t measuring employee engagement, you should be. Skeptics complain that the data from employee engagement surveys isn’t fully trustworthy; any time you survey people, you have to look with a very cynical eye at the wording of the questions and whether the people surveyed believe their answers are truly confidential.

If you run employee-focused programs, however, it’s worth the effort to get to a trustworthy data set for employee engagement.

When I was at Wells Fargo, I worked with HR to correlate my volunteer and giving program usage with employee engagement data, which at that time was considered trustworthy. Through this, I learned a number of interesting things that helped me make a business case for investment in my programs. Among the things we learned:

  • Employees who donate or volunteer consistently return higher engagement scores.
  • Employees who volunteer with company-run events feel more a part of the team and think more highly of their coworkers.
  • Usage of the matching gift program did not correlate with higher or lower engagement, and in fact
  • Employees who were perpetually disengaged (low scores over a three year period) got the highest average donation match.

Furthermore, we went beyond combining basic program usage with engagement data; we cross-referenced program satisfaction surveys, and, in some business areas where management agreed to the research, we included productivity and profitability measures. We learned a number of important things from that research, but two things stood out to me:

  • Employees tend to follow their leader—if their leader volunteers and donates, employees in the workgroup tend to do so as well, and
  • Workgroups with high volunteerism and donor rates on average showed slightly lower short term profitability but had higher engagement, lower turnover, and better retention over time.

Obviously, your success may vary because every organization is different. It’s important to measure engagement, however, because until you have data that supports or refutes your beliefs, you’re just another person with an opinion. Once you have the data, you can investigate its meaning and decide whether you need to adjust your programs, change your approach, or keep your course steady.

 

Have you uncovered interesting or unexpected trends in your engagement and community involvement data? You can tell me, and pick up tips from leading practitioners, at the Charities@Work conference in New York, June 27-28.

Peter Dudley is an author and nationally recognized expert in corporate social responsibility, marketing, and employee engagement. He’s worked the last 17 years in CSR running employee giving and volunteerism for Wells Fargo, where his workplace campaign was ranked #1 nine years in a row by United Way Worldwide. Before joining Wells Fargo, Peter held various roles in high tech startups, from Marketing Director to software development to community management.

Peter is honored to serve on the Community Health Charities national board of directors as well as the Charities@Work Corporate Advisory Council, which he chaired in 2015 and 2016. He has also served on and chaired United Way Worldwide’s Global Corporate Leadership Council.

Peter lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and is the proud father of both an Eagle Scout and a transgender daughter. 

By: Andrew Troup, director of corporate giving & engagement strategy, Blackbaud’s Corporate & Foundation Solutions Group

Two weeks ago I had the fortunate opportunity to attend one of my favorite annual events in the corporate giving & engagement space, the 2017 Summit on Employee Engagement in Corporate Citizenship presented by Charities@Work and ACCP. I have attended the Charities@Work Summit for several years, however this was the first year that they partnered with ACCP to host the summit and in my opinion it simply led to continued success. This year’s summit was filled with exceptional content that was both inspirational while also remaining relevant and full of actionable takeaways.

I particularly enjoyed aligning key takeaways from sessions and conversations with recent observations I’ve read and written about myself regarding the state of today’s “socially conscious business”.  Most corporations I’ve encountered have a strong base of employee volunteerism and an established CSR program, but few have taken the next step towards truly driving change: aligning profit and purpose. Mark Shamley, President & CEO of ACCP, alluded to this new trend by speaking about the importance of purpose; how purpose is linked to profit; the need for authenticity; environmental, social, and governance strategies and their connection to earnings; as well as how employee engagement is the new “currency” of CSR.

In my webcast “Building the Socially Conscious Company of Tomorrow”, I break down how purpose is the key to your organization affecting long term change and becoming a socially conscious company of tomorrow. The definition of a “socially conscious company” that I favor is one that leverages their assets to make a tangible, positive, social, and environmental impact. Or, more simply, linking profit and purpose. “Profit” can mean more than just dollars, other examples are talent and expertise at your organization, data you have that can lead to efficiencies, or tips about sustainability. Each of these factors can lead to “purpose”, or tangible impacts. Freya Williams, CEO from Futerra North America, said it best at the conference when she stressed the importance of work and the ability of employee engagement to save the world. If we can connect profit and purpose, we can drive true culture change and foster a more just and sustainable world.

So what steps can you take to drive this culture change within your organization? It will require connecting all your giving and engagement activities, and effectively managing the outcomes and influence of each. Learn more about each of the 3 steps towards affecting long term change by listening to my webcast, which you can access at no cost here.

I will end with a thought posed by the team from Povaddo during their session, Social Activism in Corporate America: “…we need to prepare for a paradigm shift from employee engagement to employee fulfillment…” 

With a corporate job, many of us are fortunate in that our companies support our consistent learning by allowing us to attend vital industry conferences, such as the Charities@Work summit.  We are able to hear from inspirational speakers and to learn best practices from top-notch companies.  The Charities@Work summit consistently delivers and provides tremendous opportunities to learn and be inspired.  Attendees at the conference can be seen taking copious notes, talking with presenters afterwards and tweeting nuggets they want to be sure to share and remember.

But what happens when you return to the office? If you are like us at Time Warner Cable, and presumably many other conference-goers, you left the conference with great ideas.  But when we return to the office, it’s so easy to find that inspiration lost in a sea of competing priorities awaiting our return.  We’ve heard time and time again about the benefits of learning followed up by application and how the greatest successes come when ideas are followed by implementation. Last year, the TWC team decided to stop the pattern pushing learning aside because of email overload; instead, we focused on how we could apply our key takeaways from Charities@Work.  We are so pleased we did because we translated our conference takeaways into measurable successes.

We want to help foster a community that consistently learns-and-applies, learns-and-applies, so we all get better results over time.  So, at the 2016 conference, we delivered one of the Next Great Idea presentations and challenged our peers to carry the learning beyond the conference.  At the Tuesday night reception, we posed the question “What is your biggest Charities@Work conference takeaway that you plan to put into action?” to conference attendees.  The responses were fascinating to us; we saw executives latch onto ideas and speak about how they could put them into action in their own organizations.  The ideas we heard were as varied as the attendees themselves, and we wanted to share the responses here, in case they inspire others.

We all had great fun trying the virtual reality experience from Pencils of Promise.  Hearing about how VR can impact our world is one thing; seeing it is another! The team from Cone Communications want to explore VR more to see how they might be able to use it for clients. In fact, one leader from Cone said that the conference reinforced the importance of integrating CSR throughout the entire business, almost to the point of there being no specific CSR program, per se. But instead, it becomes business-as-usual, tied into everything a company does and the way it thinks.  They said:  “The virtual reality element is just one more way we can try to reframe CSR and consistently think outside of the box.”

Pencils of Promise’s Virtual Reality experience
Pencils of Promise’s Virtual Reality experience

Michael Norton’s keynote on the “Science of Smarter Spending” seemed to universally force attendees to rethink their giving programs as it relates to employee engagement/reaction.   Wells Fargo wants to explore the idea of providing an incentive or challenge grant if 75% of employees participate.

Michael Norton
Michael Norton

Global Impact wants to try out the pie chart/check-box idea on a women’s AIDS website to see if it raises engagement. The agency INPex, which specializes in scaling up local cause activation programs, plans to leverage the ideas they heard as well – for them, the pie chart and transformative experiences are relevant to the cause marketing and employee engagement toolkits and strategies they create for their clients.

Maggie Carter, UNICEF; Susan Grotbo, Google; Joe Mettimano, Global Impact
Maggie Carter, UNICEF; Susan Grotbo, Google; Joe Mettimano, Global Impact

Attendees were also inspired by best practices presented in the “Next Great Idea” series and in the breakout sessions.  Several participants mentioned wanting to investigate the badge swipe program used by Google to support UNICEF.  From the workshops, we heard participants wanting to follow others in asking more detailed questions on matching grant forms as a way to learn what inspires employee nonprofit selection.  More than one executive asked us, at Time Warner Cable, how we managed to convince our operating units to pick up volunteer costs.

Charities@Work attendees discussing best practices and next great ideas
Charities@Work attendees discussing best practices and next great ideas

As is the case with this conference every year, ideas were overflowing.  Jenn Whelan from Ashland summarized it nicely, “The Charities@Work conference reaffirmed our commitment to the community and helped provide the resources, ideas and tools to make those relationships stronger.  It also reminded everyone at the conference that when we get together, we make the world a better place.”

Tiffany Calderon, Community Relations, Best Buy
Tiffany Calderon, Community Relations, Best Buy

From unlocking the concept of purpose and thinking about engagement year-round, to new ways to think about the power of storytelling, the 2016 Charities@Work summit provided the foundation we all need to go back to work and drive new successes. It would be interesting to follow these ideas through to implementation and circle back with companies in 2017.  Good luck to each and every one of you.  We hope you are able to truly turn theory into practice, and deliver greater results than ever before.

 

 

Jim_Gordon_final_v2_1.21.2016 Milinda Martin Headshot Holick1  Jim Gordon leads the Corporate Brand and Reputation team at Time Warner Cable, overseeing all CSR, sustainability, volunteerism, and    strategic philanthropy.  Included on his team are Milinda Martin, VP, Corporate Citizenship, and Jennifer Holick, Director, Volunteerism.    The company launched their volunteer program in 2014, and joined Charities@Work at the same time.  

 

 

 

1

The pressure is on to get your employee engagement numbers up.  You know you need to expand your current program beyond company-wide volunteer days and that your dollars for doers program really only engages a small subset of already-committed volunteers.  To really move the needle, it is vital that you find ways to inspire the legions of unengaged – particularly the Millennials – to WANT to get more involved on an ongoing basis. So, where do you start?  Simple. You start with using the valuable assets and investments you already have!  You bring your company’s established cause marketing and strategic philanthropy partnerships to life for your employees – at the local level.  Here’s how…

1) Capitalize on existing corporate partnerships to supercharge your employee engagement growth

Often times cause marketing partnerships, strategic philanthropy partnerships and employee volunteerism programs are handled by different corporate teams.  Working together to create integrated volunteerism programs is a smart investment that drives ROI in all departments.

Your company has already gone through a vetting process to select its strategic cause partners and has invested significantly in the partnerships.  These cause partnerships are valuable assets that you can use to supercharge your employee volunteerism growth.  They are long term corporate investments that build equity over time.

2TAKE ACTION: Look for ways to bring these partnerships to life in a meaningful way for your employees all year round. Make the cause palpable to your employees.  Get these causes into the DNA of all employees by creating a movement around them within your corporate culture by way of your volunteerism program. Make engagement easy, relevant, and fun.  Work with your cause partners to build in professional development or other strategic elements. Make it hyper local and personal for your staff so they can really feel the “halo-effect” of the partnership firsthand.

If you need some help with a strategic action plan, get some help.  Just be sure you create an effective way to invite your employees to be part of something larger – your company’s movement!  Empower them to build the momentum in neighborhoods around the country and around the globe. Measure the engagement and enjoy the results!

2) Share visual, emotional stories about your cause work, to inspire more people to take part in your chosen causes

Are your employees truly aware and feeling the great work your company is already doing with your cause partners? If you’re like some of our clients, then answer is a definitive no.  This case study shows you the challenges faced by a Fortune 100 healthcare company and how they solved them.

2TAKE ACTION: Use your valuable volunteerism “content” to create a series of ongoing communications that share compelling stories about volunteering with the company’s chosen causes.  Use powerful emotional images to show employees the impact their peers are already making – and the fun they are having!

Instead of leaving this valuable volunteerism content buried in a file, make it work for you!  Inspire more action by showing people the experience and positive benefits they could have if they chose to get involved.  You can even light the fire of “friendly competition” by setting regional goals and providing awards as incentives for increased participation with your company’s chosen causes.

3) Make it super easy for people to get involved with your company causes in their own neighborhood

This might sound obvious, but it is surprising how often it is not happening. You need to go ahead and connect the dots for people.  Make it simple for them to take action in their own neighborhood, otherwise they will just be content with admiring what other people do.  Make it about them and how they can be a part of a positive movement.

2TAKE ACTION:  Alongside your compelling volunteerism stories and powerful visuals, provide a specific, local call to action.  Make it easy for people to act on the emotion they are experiencing from the compelling stories and visuals.  Offer them specific opportunities in their local neighborhood and get them registered!

Make it as simple as one click for them to learn more and register for local events.  Be sure you are providing a user-friendly experience or you will certainly pay the opportunity cost by way of low engagement numbers.  Of course, in order to deliver this positive experience, you need a good strategy and system in place that is optimized for your particular corporate culture and takes into account the unique needs and opportunities of your cause partners. You must commit to setting up a system that will really work for you, your partners, and your employees.

4) Provide downloadable tools and resources to make it a great experience

Once you have someone interested in getting involved, shepherd them to success—and registration!  Make it obvious to them that this is going to be a great experience.  Be proactive. Help foster a positive experience. Do this and more of your employees will begin enjoying the benefits of long term employee engagement -and so will your company’s bottom line- as you meet your engagement goals.

2TAKE ACTION: Think ahead, like any great event planner would do.  Provide downloadable resources like checklists, FAQ’s, suggestions, maybe even some basic talking points to help your people feel at ease committing to volunteering as a company representative.  Showcase those supportive tools during the registration decision-making process to dispel any doubts and help close the deal!

At INPEx, we take it to the next level by helping our corporate clients create custom employee volunteerism programs with their cause partners that are specifically designed to engage key internal audiences, such as managers or Millennials.  By going the extra mile to offer volunteer opportunities that are tailored to the unique needs and opportunities of a specific group, you will enjoy much greater benefits – both in terms of employee engagement and strategic cause marketing.

In today’s market place, it is more vital than ever to increase visibility of and engagement with your cause partnerships.  Millennials demand it and consumers demand it.  There is real business value and opportunity cost at stake.  Integrating your corporate cause partnerships into your employee volunteerism program can pay many dividends if you do it right.  If you make the effort to put together a solid strategic plan that includes a system for measuring against ROI, you will set yourself up for success.  That’s how we have been able to deliver triple-digit results for our discerning clients —and so can you!

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