Costco Wholesale & United Ways discuss workplace giving at #FSCon2014

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From delicious food to insightful presentations and all the way to a beautiful cruise along the Charleston Harbor, it’s safe to say that the 2014 FrontStream Philanthropy conference was a smashing success! Last week nonprofit organizations, corporations, and FrontStream partners joined us in Charleston, SC to share tips and best practices on maximizing fundraising efforts through our social fundraising, peer-to-peer fundraising and employee giving solutions. We’d like to warmly thank everyone who was able to make it, and for those of you who couldn’t – there’s always next time!

Workplace Giving Exchange
While there were many notable industry leaders speaking at the conference, the Workplace Giving Exchange, led by Chris Tyler of United Way and Lynn Cruz of Costco Wholesale, truly provided an insider’s look into what makes a successful campaign. They shared valuable tips and tricks on what has been effective in their own workplace giving programs.

United Ways Giving Campaign
The United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County (United Ways ATX) specifically focuses on improving early care and education for children, encouraging student success at school, and strengthening families. Chris Tyler, Director of Online Communications, has used TRUiST Campaign Management for 13 years and as such, has developed an effective online campaign strategy.

In Tyler’s experience, an online workplace giving campaign is successful when:

  1. The workforce is a good “fit” for online strategy
  2. Organization is a strong United Way partner
  3. Strong internal support of an online campaign exists
  4. Organization assumes the cost of activity

Using these qualifiers, United Ways ATX has seen 38 organizations raise $14.5 million with more than 45,500 donors in 2013 alone!

A perfect example of an organization facilitating an effective online giving campaign is the United Services Automobile Association (USAA), a Texas-based Fortune 500 financial services group serving the United States military.

USAA employees can give back to their communities through volunteer work and charitable giving facilitated through Campaign Management. In 2013, over 7,600 employees, their families, and retiree volunteers dedicated 417,000 volunteer hours providing meals to wounded warriors, assisting at the Food Bank, building playgrounds, and serving as mentors, pen pals and readers to over 6,200 children across 23 schools. Combined with USAA’s 2013 United Way campaign, USAA Foundation, and retiree support, total contributions reached $14.5 million to nonprofit organizations!

Costco Wholesale Charitable Giving
Costco Wholesale, the second largest retailer in the United States, maintains a charitable workplace giving program supporting organizations that benefit children, education and health, and human services. With 655 locations worldwide and 464 warehouses in the US, Costco employees raised over $17 million in the US & Canada alone in 2013.

With such an impressive figure, it’s easy to defer that Costco employees are extremely engaged and dedicated to supporting their communities. Lynn Cruz, Costco’s Supplier Diversity Manager, attributes this to an effective engagement strategy and express pledging.

Our goal is to make giving as easy as possible for Costco employees,” Cruz stated during Monday’s Workplace Giving Exchange, and they certainly have made it easy through TRUiST’s customizable giving solutions.

Since most Costco employees are actively on the warehouse floor and not in front of computer screens, the retailer was in need of an accessible giving solution. Working closely with TRUiST, Costco developed express pledging made accessible on all warehouse registers. Employees simply swipe their membership cards and can make donations to any qualified charitable organization in $5 increments. Prior to this solution, Costco raised $58,000 in paper checks and pledges through manual campaigns – substantially less than their 2013 efforts. By making it easy for employees to give, Costco was able to dramatically increase their impact on surrounding communities.

In addition to express pledging, Costco engages competitive employees through regional warehouse giving reports. Since the TRUiST platform updates employee giving statistics in real-time, Costco is able to stimulate a sense of friendly competition by sending reports detailing individual warehouse contribution, by region. According to Cruz, this engagement strategy has been a very effective way to spark interest among employees that are already competitive by nature.

We truly thank Chris Tyler, Lynn Cruz and all the other speakers and participants for sharing their valuable insight and feedback at last week’s conference! For those of you that attended, we will make presentations and pictures available soon, and look forward to seeing you all next year!

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