How to Make the Most Compelling Case for CSR Software: Part 2 of 3
Building the content of your pitch
What you'll learn:
● How to use surveys and other tools to better know your employees
● How to find and apply benchmarks to appeal to your leaders
● Key metrics and indicators to understand your business
● How to apply data to tell and sell your story and show you know your industry
In Part 1 of our three-part series, you learned to answer the question “Why CSR Software?”
In Part 2, we’ll take you through the process of building the content for your pitch to leaders, aka, the decision makers. The more you know about your audiences (employees, executives and your business) — and the overall CSR landscape — the more your case will resonate and the more effective it will be.
If your target audience isn’t listening,
it’s not their fault, it’s yours.
— Seth Godin
It’s true, you’re selling. Think of a recent purchase where you bought something you had no idea you needed. You felt this “lawn mower” was made for you and the pitch was speaking directly to you. It’s because the advertiser had gathered all kinds of valuable information about you and tailored their messaging using that information. You’re now the salesperson, your customer is your company and your product? CSR software.
Let’s explore the types of information you’ll need to make a pitch for CSR software that moves you closer to that “Yes.”
Know your employees
Your people, the causes they support and the issues they care about, are the driving force behind your CSR program. Delivering a meaningful experience is critical to program success and ultimately, business success.
Use the following tools to gauge where your people are, so you can show how software can be leveraged to engage them more deeply in ways that will resonate with them.
Is there a recent employee engagement survey you can reference? Its results will give you accurate insights into areas for improvement.
To dig deeper into areas like the causes or nonprofits your employees support, and the activities they’d like to participate in, conduct your own survey. You could also organize a focus group or individual interviews.
Work with your HR team for support to see what’s available and what’s possible.
Your Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and other special interest groups can be a great source for quantitative and qualitative data on your people. Group types, activities and membership demographics can all provide valuable insight that can inform your CSR strategy.
- Knowing how successful fundraising campaigns are, for example, could help you set donation volume goals.
- If an ERG focused on environmental impact is popular, software that provides ready-to-use resources for Earth Day, for instance, would save your team time compiling resources from scratch.
- What percentage of employees don’t work at a desk or work remotely? Access to a mobile app and the ability for employees to support nonprofits in their local areas would be key features when selecting a software vendor.
Know your leaders
These are your decision-makers so you can never be too prepared. The more you know about the issues they’re dealing with, their communication styles, goals and priorities, the better you can tailor your pitch.
What is a benchmark? A standard against which things can be
measured or compared.
Find CSR benchmarks, particularly from competitors and/or top performers. These benchmarks can be related to any of the following: participation in employee giving and volunteering, volunteer hours tracked, donation match rates, the number of companies who offer global programs, etc. Is a competitor going all in on GivingTuesday and achieving incredible impact? It’s helpful for your leadership to see frames of reference.
Here’s an example of a general CSR benchmark:
65% of Fortune 500 companies
offer matching gift programs.
Source: Double the Donation
Here are some examples of specific CSR benchmarks: Competitor X offers each employee $5000/year in donation matching, $15 in donation currency for each volunteer hour and commits $100,000/year to grants.
How you frame your benchmarks will depend on the leader’s decision-making style. Risk averse leaders need to know what they could lose by not taking action. Opportunist leaders want to be ahead, or at least on par, with the benchmark. If you’re presenting to a larger team, it’s best to frame your benchmarks both ways.
Pro tip: Limit the number of benchmarks to 4-5 for greater
impact and focus on relevant industries/companies.
Determine communication preferences
Do leaders prefer live presentations or PDFs? Some like to get material to review before a
Find opportunities or pain points
What’s top of mind that could tie into your pitch? For example, a recent employee engagement survey with lackluster results, a new CEO or board member, etc.
Know your business
From what’s going on inside the business to external conditions that affect operations, you’ll want to show that you’re aware of and have considered the current state of affairs, future plans and how things work.
For a well-informed pitch, find answers to these questions:
- What are the business goals? Ensure your pitch reflects them. If leadership is looking to address low employee engagement, for example, you know CSR can help so compile the data to prove it. Head back to Part 1: Articulating your why, for CSR stats that pack a punch.
- What’s going on in the business that could affect how your pitch is received? Have there been layoffs or budget cuts? These factors can lower employee engagement and the budget for new software. As CSR is proven to boost engagement and CSR software dramatically reduces admin time, you can position software as a worthwhile investment.
- What’s your company’s budget cycle? Knowing your company’s fiscal year will help you time your pitch just before budget decisions are being made, usually two quarters in advance.
- What obstacles and objections are you likely to face? Think of risks and address them proactively. Here are a few common ones:
- Cost is typically the biggest objection when it comes to investing in any type of software. Leveraging the stats throughout this article will certainly show the potential bottom line benefits to your business. Benevity can also help you calculate ROI specific to your company when you request a demo.
- Competing priorities can be a reason that executives are reluctant to invest so you’ll need to position CSR software as a top tier priority. Illustrate your case with before and afters from other companies and data that shows what your “after” could look like.
- Leadership can have concerns over security and reputational risks. Reassure them that charity vetting and data security will be deciding factors when it comes to selecting a vendors.
Know your industry
A quick Google search on CSR will give you access to a ton of useful stats and benchmarks. Plus, Benevity can help! Check out this resource: Build a CSR Program That Meets Industry Standards. You’ll need to consider all of it through the lens of decision makers to ensure the data you present is relevant, compelling and timely. For example, a case study from a competitor or stats from that industry will resonate more.
Tell the story
Throwing a bunch of data points on the screen to see what sticks is a tactic you’ll want to avoid. Instead, put it all into context. Decision makers likely won’t have the depth of knowledge you do, so start from the beginning:
What is CSR?
What does your program look like today?
What impact has it had on the business?
What are others in our industry doing? Check out company annual reports as
well as their About or Media website pages.
How could adopting software build an even better program — one that addresses
key business goals?
The story you tell in your presentation should answer the question, “What’s in it for us?”
Sell the story
If you think back to that advertising example earlier, it wasn’t the lawnmower’s horsepower that sold you on it, but rather, the outcome from that horsepower: “Cut your lawn mowing time in half so you can enjoy a lazy Sunday.” The 5-star reviews from other customers, the before-and-afters and all the other evidence that demonstrated how life would be better if you had that lawnmower.
Position CSR software like that lawnmower.
Illustrate the value of CSR software with case studies (before-and-afters), testimonials (5-star reviews), and other data that speaks directly to the decision maker’s challenges and opportunities. Show them how the business would be better if you had CSR software.
● 75% of clients cited business efficiency as the number one benefit of using Benevity.
Pro tips: Stats you can reference from Benevity’s own client survey:
● 75% of clients reported an increase in employee engagement since using Benevity.
● 84% of clients say Benevity helps them be a force for positive change in the world.
● 60% of clients say Benevity helps them create an attractive employer brand.
● 77% of clients say Benevity helps them build a stronger, more connected culture.
Benevity Impact Labs publishes CSR and corporate purpose industry reports that feature data, research, trends and insights designed to help companies maximize their impact.
If you’re looking for CSR case studies, check out Benevity’s client case studies for real-world examples that show the value of CSR in action. You’re sure to find a few from companies that speak to your specific challenges and opportunities.
Taking the time to locate, assemble and organize relevant content to inform your pitch for CSR software will give you the confidence to rally advocates and deliver an effective presentation to leaders.
Continue “How to Make the Most Compelling Case for
CSR Software” with Part 3: Advocating and Pitching.