Best ways to use goodness software to boost employee engagement

In today's episode, we discuss how to use your corporate giving and employee engagement software to scale your Corporate Social Responsibility programs and increase employee engagement. We discuss how to boost a stalled CSR program, how to work in traditionally non-giving cultures, and how to engage with employees in different locations. 

This is Part 3 of our 3-Part series on: Everything you need to know about employee engagement and corporate giving software.

Watch, listen or read:

Part 1: What is employee engagement and corporate giving software

Part 2: Implementing corporate giving and employee engagement software

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Read what we discussed:

Karl Yeh:

So, today I'm joined by Kathryn Pisco, Goodness Catalyst with Benevity, and we're going to talk about how to use your corporate giving software to increase employee participation.

So, we talked about what a corporate giving software solution is, how to implement it, but now how do we grow and scale our program with this new tool?

Kathryn Pisco:

This is something that I think is on the mind [00:01:00] of every CSR professional when they are fortunate enough to finally go to market and introduce this to their employees.

And then, it's like, "Oh no, is this actually going to work? And are we actually going to have employees engage?"

And so, I think there's a couple of things that we've seen across the Benevity client community.

When we looked at the data from some of our fortune 1000 clients and companies, there's a couple key things that you can [00:01:30] think about within your program, as you are utilizing the technology that really help encourage employees to engage and we tend to see more engagement from it.

Optimizing your corporate giving and employee engagement software

So, the first is to make the program really personal.

Support by supporting what your employees are passionate about, whether it's their giving or volunteering.

Making it easy.

So, from a giving perspective, I mention this in part two, but turning payroll on, payroll giving [00:02:00] increases engagement up to I think 70% of people or are 70% more likely to engage if payroll giving is turned on and they give like four times as much, but also making it easy from an access perspective, not just having giving opportunities, but also volunteering opportunities.


Also, we at Benevity have a module called Missions that allows employees to take small micro actions that have pro-social impact and ladder up to greater impact. [00:02:30]

But it's really easy to do these kinds of small things.

So, making it really easy for every employee, kind of meeting them where they are.

Matching is also something that really helps increase employee engagement.

Employees are twice as likely to give if their employer is actually matching it. And then you can do things like incentivize employees to utilize the platform.

So, I think we talked to in part two about seeding employees with some dollars when you launch, but you can also offer [00:03:00] them rewards for doing volunteering and say offer a dollars for doers program.

For instance, is what it's called, where you volunteer with a nonprofit, you track it within the platform, and then we will give you $5 an hour that you can then donate towards that nonprofit.

And I think the last thing to really think about is just making sure that you're reaching all of your employees, that it's not just a program focused on just the corporate office. 

But if you're a global program, what those different markets look like or [00:03:30] if you're all across the US what that looks like as well. And now that you have technology, you're able to kind of cross...

You don't have to be in all of those locations to still really engage your employees.

Karl Yeh:

So, what happens if you're finding that your employees aren't... Your program isn't scaling or you're just finding the exact same people donating every year. So, how do you go about scaling it even with the tool?

How to boost a stalled CSR Program?

Kathryn Pisco:

Yeah, I think that this is very common actually.

So, you tend to see that [00:04:00] there's a core group of people that are super engaged and the biggest challenge is taking it just from those people to the broader community.

So, I think there's a couple of things you can do.

See who's engaging

First, it's if you have the platform, the tool, now, you likely have reporting capabilities to actually go in and look at the data and see who's engaging, who's not.

And then try to figure out why that might be the case.

Is it for instance, that they're in an office that's not at headquarters [00:04:30] and it's more difficult, they're not getting the communication in the same way?

Is it potentially because maybe you're a manufacturing company and have manufacturing plants with a lot of folks that don't have desks or even computers.

And are they just not able to actually access the technology?

If that's the case, maybe using our mobile app. Benevity has a mobile app, I'm sure other organizations do as well to really get the technology into their hands.


And it could also be just offering [00:05:00] a variety of ways to engage.

So, not every person has time to volunteer. Not every person has the money, especially in this global pandemic to donate.

One thing that we've found is we've seen a huge service surge, especially in this last year, around companies supporting their employees to take small actions and actually giving...

They're re kind of defining and re-imagining what volunteering looks like. It no longer has to be just volunteering X number of hours with this nonprofit.

Re-imagining Volunteering

It can be, let's [00:05:30] do small acts of kindness or doing micro actions and giving credit for that too.

And through our missions module, which actually helps support these micro actions, we saw that it did just that.

So, I think over a third of the people that were engaging in that missions module had never given and had never volunteered in the past.

So, it was something that brought them in because it was an easy thing to do and really met them where they were. And then, a third of those then go on to give and volunteer.

But it's a great way to [00:06:00] meet your employees where they are, either in the world or where they are in kind of their journey to making social impact.

Karl Yeh:

Well, let's actually keep on the track of some of the challenges that CSRs face and what happens in a business organization that has a kind of a non-giving culture.

It's not really a culture that you would say is friendly to, or I wouldn't say maybe friendly, but more of not used to, not [00:06:30] used to giving or not used to being in this environment.

What to do in a traditionally non-giving culture

Kathryn Pisco:

Yeah. And that happens quite often.

In fact, we see that across the Benevity client community, especially with some of our global companies that are either headquartered in Europe or have international offices, that giving is actually not culturally relevant at the workplace anyway.

It's much more focused on volunteering.

And so, and we also see that the culture might just not be there where people enjoy [00:07:00] or are used to giving money.

And so, that's something that I would recommend offering a variety of different ways to engage in the CSR program that aren't just giving.

And what we've seen is that if you engage people in volunteering, you ask them to take small acts of kindness or goodness, eventually that then leads many employees to give.

I think 30% of people that volunteer go on to also give money. [00:07:30] And when they do, they actually give more money than they would have if they were only just giving.

And so, it's kind of looking at trying to meet your employees where they are offering a wide variety of ways to engage, and also really trying to support them in their personal passions.

So, many times, employees might not want to engage because it's the only way to engage is around a corporate initiative that they don't necessarily feel that personal connection to.

So, if you offer them the opportunity to give or to volunteer [00:08:00] or to work with nonprofits and causes that are close to their hearts, the chances are that there'll be much more interested in being a part of the program.

Karl Yeh:

Does leadership or executive participation impact participation of employees and maybe participation, not just from a program level, but also approving from a budget level?

How does leadership/executive participation impact a CSR program?

Kathryn Pisco:

Absolutely. [00:08:30]

Without engagement from the leadership and buy-in from the leadership, many of these programs can not truly thrive.

There typically needs to be some sort of budget.

I mean, I've seen companies and clients that have done, run CSR, successful CSR programs on a shoe string, but to really grow and scale, especially if you're a global company, it requires having some sort of budget and that those approvals typically come from leadership.

So, from that perspective, it's absolutely imperative.

But then additionally, just the idea of when your employees see [00:09:00] that a prominent leader or maybe even the CEO believes that CSR is important and is not just saying it and for lip service, but actually taking action.


Maybe I've seen companies that have taken a video of their executives making their first donation in the platform, but really seeing that it's a part of the overall culture and something that's really important to them.

We tend to see that employees get excited and start really mobilizing as well.

Karl Yeh:

You touched on [00:09:30] something that I've actually been curious on.

Like when you talk about global companies, how do you go about engaging employees in different locations?

I'm sure it gets harder once let's say your business becomes international.

So, now you have employees in different countries, but I'm sure it's just as challenging as let's say, if you have your organization in North America or just in the United States or in Canada where like maybe you have employees in different provinces or States.

How do you go about [00:10:00] making sure that all the employees are engaged and not just the ones in headquarters?

How to engage employees in different locations?

Kathryn Pisco:

A huge challenge.

And especially if you're going from having a completely manual program where you physically have to kind of be in person, you're tracking all of the things, you typically see those sorts of programs be very focused on the corporate headquarters or the office where it's of tangible reach.

It's really challenging to know what matters to employees in some of these different markets without actually listening and hearing.

[00:10:30] So, what we typically recommend is implementing some sort of either formal or informal ambassador program where you get buy-in and engagement from some of those we talked earlier about how there are certain groups that are always going to engage.

They're always going to be excited.

Could you leverage some of those people in these various markets?

So have someone in the London office that is the ambassador for the London office.

They understand what's important to their colleagues, what non-profits [00:11:00] they want to support, what initiatives they want to be a part of.

And have all of these ambassadors all over either the world, if you're a global, or within the United States or North America if you're not. And leverage them for ideas, advice, and input.

And in most technology platforms, you can have a variety of people contributing to content or giving opportunities, volunteer opportunities, within the platform even if they're not actually running the program.

And so ,I think it's also thinking [00:11:30] about how you're accessing people.

Not everyone has a desktop computer, so can they use a mobile app?

And what is culturally relevant in each of these spaces too. I referenced earlier in many international markets, it's not relevant to give money and to be asked to give money at work.

So, those programs would likely make much more sense to be focused on volunteering.

And there's ways, at least within the Benevity platform, where [00:12:00] you can target content and target giving opportunities and volunteer opportunities based on who that person is.

So, to give you an example, Karl, you sign into your platform, you're ready to give and volunteer. You're going to have a very different experience than I will here, Kathryn in Boston, Massachusetts, because the technology is able to know where you're located, what job title you have, things that are important to you. So, your experience is [00:12:30] going to be different.

And from a global perspective, it's really important that you offer your employees to be able to access technology in their local language. They transact and give money in their local currency.

And so, all of those aspects are really important to consider, to really make an inclusive program.

Karl Yeh:

And I would imagine the role of your local champion or cultivating that local champion regionally is very critical then.

Importance of a local champion

Kathryn Pisco:

Absolutely. And there's different ways to do it. [00:13:00] It's a big job to have a truly formal ambassador program.

We have clients that actually use the technology, Benevity technology, to train and have a very cohesive program for all of their ambassadors.

It's very formalized.

It's almost very respected and revered within a company to be asked to be an ambassador, but there's also companies that are doing it in a way where it's a little bit more grassroots and not as formalized, but it's really important [00:13:30] to gain that insight.

And even if it's not a formal program, really making sure that you're talking to employees in various markets and regions and offices to understand what's going on and what's important there so that you can design a program that matters to everyone.

Karl Yeh:

So Kathryn, do you have anything else to add in terms of raising employee participation with your giving software solution?

Kathryn Pisco:

I think just focusing on meeting your employees and your company initiatives where they are in the moment. And keeping it as inclusive of a program as possible.

And if you're empowering your employees to kind of find their personal purpose and you're supporting your employees and what they want to do while at [00:14:30] the same time staying true to who you are as a company with your social mission and goals, the engagement will come and you'll have a very successful program.

Karl Yeh:
And remember to catch part one and two of our discussion on corporate giving software solutions where we talk about what it is and how to implement. Thanks for joining us. And we'll catch you in our next episode.

Question for you

How have you implemented or how have you increased employee engagement with your corporate giving software solution? 


About Kathryn Pisco:

As Director of Goodness solutions here at Benevity, Kathryn Pisco has a passion for building relationships and helping brands bring their social mission to life with technology. For almost a decade, Kathryn has worked at the intersection of purpose and profit. Before her time at Benevity, Kathryn served as Founder and CEO of Unearth the World, a social enterprise that plans transformative international exchange and skills-based volunteer opportunities for professionals and students. In her time away from work, Kathryn is a world traveler, budding foodie, Peloton lover and mother to three beautiful kiddos: Lucia (4), Olivia (4) and George (1).

Connect with Kathryn on Linkedin