The holiday season is the most generous time of year. Over a Thanksgiving turkey or piles of Christmas presents, people have reason to give thanks and help those less fortunate, while keeping in mind their year-end charitable tax breaks. Employee donations to charities reflect this: the average gift in December jumps to $519.80, from $221.70 in September, according to TRUiST’s research into the $300 million-plus worth of employee donations our company facilitated in 2013. So it is only natural that after the busy holiday season, your employees aren’t contributing at the same level.
If you wanted to make 2014 the best year yet for your organization’s employee giving program, this can be a daunting prospect. But you don’t have to wait until the end of year to see progress. In fact, it’s extremely important to keep employees engaged all year long.
While this has been the coldest winter on record, spring weather is [hopefully] right around the corner. Use the coming sun-filled days to motivate your employees to give and volunteer. Here are a few ideas to reinvigorate your CSR program if the dreary months of winter have put a freeze on them:
All Staff Volunteering Trips
There is no better way to encourage employees to volunteer than the prospect of spending an afternoon out of the office on the first beautiful days of the year. Reach out to local nature conservancy groups, many of which rely heavily on volunteers to carry out their mission. From planting seeds to park clean-ups, these activities are perfect for small or large groups of volunteers as a fun way for employees to form bonds out of the office and contribute to an environmental cause. As we head into the warmer months of the year, these activities can easily continue, so consider establishing a relationship with a charity to potentially schedule monthly volunteer opportunities.
Encourage employees to be involved by getting creative with friendly contests. Instead of sending out a simple ask for donations, consider encouraging friendly competition amongst colleagues by challenging each department to raise the most in donations or spend the most time volunteering to a charity or list of charities of their choosing. You could consider further incentivizing your employees by offering the winning team or department an increased corporate contribution that matches or exceeds the amount of their donations. By incentivizing your employees to encourage others to contribute, you can boost your programs without requiring much effort on your end.
Don’t Forget Social Media
If you’ve been meaning to involve social media in your giving campaigns, now’s the time to do it. Social media is an ideal way to spread news and engage your audience. Advertise volunteering trips and donation competitions on Twitter and Facebook, and highlight the charitable deeds of your employees. This will increase awareness of your employee giving and volunteering programs both inside and outside your company.
Using Data to Boost Your Giving
The best way to boost employee giving is to understand the trends. Beyond why, when, and how your employees give, there are other factors at play. We’ve found that the average employee’s donation seems to demonstrate responsiveness to the economic conditions faced by others in their communities. It appears that factors including higher levels of regional income inequality lead to larger employee donations. A strong gasp of these factors is key: how can you tailor your program to address the biggest issues in your region? Look at the top charities your employees give to and volunteer for: do these reflect the need in your community? By shaping your program’s activities and incentives to reflect regional challenges, employees will be encouraged to give back to the issues that are closest to home.
The spring gives your program a fresh start. These four tips can help your program grow for a successful 2014.