The must-have capabilities they need to deliver on

Are you looking for a corporate social responsibility (CSR) software partner for your company? One whose technology can transform your employee engagement program and scale your social and business impact? There’s a lot to consider, such as giving and matching features. The number of nonprofits vetted and supported. Streamlined disbursement capabilities. Reporting functions. Global capabilities, and much more.

A good workplace giving and volunteering program can drive employee engagement and help your people gain a sense of personal purpose. Purpose leads to a better employee experience, builds culture and supports the attraction and retention of top talent. Turnover is reduced by 52% on average when newer employees are actively engaged in giving and volunteering at work.

If you run a CSR program, you'll know better than anyone how much manual work is involved, making it difficult to scale and create the impact you want. You’ll want to select a CSR software partner who can help you build your program with leading insights, create a community and offer new products and add-ons as you grow.

To guide you, we’ve prepared a list of the top 10 questions to ask and the capabilities to look for so you can make the right choice.

1. How will they support your CSR strategy and goals?

Your CSR software partner should have a proven track record working with other companies to understand their needs and goals. They'll have a highly experienced team that provides full support for clients, end users and nonprofits, who can guide you in the right direction — from best practices and strategic insights to technical support.

You’ll want to know:

  • What their product suite is and if it’s integrated
  • Who their clients are and their retention rate
  • What they see as their top differentiators
  • Their company values and mission, and if they are a certified B Corporation
  • How many in-house people are on their client support team, and if they'll provide a dedicated team to support you
  • What support is available for end users and nonprofits
  • If they offer resources such as industry insights and vetted content to respond to disasters and crises


2. What kind of volunteering opportunities are available, and how are they managed?

Volunteering provides meaning and impact that leads to both personal and professional growth — and connects your people, your company and their communities. Your CSR software partner should make volunteering as easy and personalized as possible.

You’ll want to know:

  • The number of volunteering opportunities available and if they can be targeted to employees based on their geography, department, skills and interests
  • If you can set up and manage volunteer opportunities for employees and teams, including support for volunteer ambassadors
  • If employees can log and track their volunteer hours on mobile and upload pictures
  • The different types of volunteering (large and small events, virtual, skills-based, board service) are supported
  • The availability of automated and flexible volunteering rewards, such as Dollars for Doers
3. What are the giving and matching features?

Giving your people the broadest possible range of vetted nonprofits to support means they can easily connect with the causes they’re most passionate about. This is vital to driving engagement in your program. Payroll giving and automated tax receipts are must-haves that make the process even easier.

You’ll want to know:

  • If your people can donate to the nonprofits of their choice
  • The payment methods available (e.g., credit card, PayPal, Apple Pay, payroll — one-time or recurring) and if employees can be rewarded with donation currency (new-hire credits, account seeding, milestone celebrations)
  • The ability to track donations made outside of the platform
  • If employees can create their own fundraisers to share with co-workers, friends, family and social networks
  • The automated matching features, including if employees and executives can offer a match on each other’s donations and if custom rules and parameters can be set, such as matching percentages, match threshold, etc.
  • How quickly they can help you respond when disaster strikes or crises arise
  • The availability of automated tax receipting that employees can access from their profiles


4. How can they help you create a seamless global experience?

When selecting your CSR software partner, be sure to think about their ability to create an inclusive experience that connects your people around the globe.

You’ll want to know:

  • The number of nonprofits they provide access to worldwide and their vetting process
  • In how many — and which — languages is their software available
  • Their understanding of payroll giving in different jurisdictions and in how many currencies they enable payroll giving
  • If they mark up currency exchanges
  • If they have internal teams monitoring and responding to emerging regulatory changes
5. How are nonprofits vetted and supported?

Vetting nonprofit organizations can be time-consuming, complicated and costly — and the stakes are high. Giving to an organization that’s not what it seems could mean misdirected dollars and reputational risk to your company.

You’ll want to know:

  • Their experience and expertise in vetting nonprofits, including their process for sourcing nonprofits for their database, the watch lists they monitor and ensuring organizations are still in good standing before disbursing any funds
  • If they charge for vetting and adding international nonprofits, and if so, how much
  • If their vetting accounts for equivalency determinations (which can be burdensome on nonprofits, especially smaller ones) or if determinations are based on locally relevant criteria
  • If they offer a dedicated portal where nonprofits can apply for eligibility and manage their profile, including creating giving and volunteer opportunities
  • If they have dedicated staff handling nonprofit inquiries and administrative needs, and if so, how many


6. How are disbursements handled?

Getting donations to nonprofits is a complex process. The fewer the hand-offs between the donor and recipient nonprofits, the better, ensuring a more secure and less costly transaction. Look for a CSR software partner that handles as much of each transaction as possible and whose disbursement process is focused on accuracy, cost-effectiveness and speed.

You’ll want to know:

  • If they outsource disbursements to third-party providers or do it themselves
  • If they use a third party, what the fees are and if those fees are passed on to the recipient nonprofits
  • What soft costs (for example, check processing or recording) are associated with their disbursement process
  • The percentage of disbursements done by EFT (electronic funds transfer) and if there’s a charge for this
  • How international donations are distributed, given checks are not accepted in many countries, and if they have a regular reconciliation process to ensure all funds are delivered or accounted for
7. What security features are available?

Keeping your data secure is essential for trust and brand reputation. You’ll need a properly certified partner with a dedicated security team and the right safety features in place.

You’ll want to know:

  • Their security certifications (for example, ISO 27001, PCI-DSS or SSAE 18)
  • If their software supports multi-factor authentication
  • If their software supports single sign-on (SSO), and if so, what systems are supported
  • Their process to detect, identify, report, notify you, respond to and resolve security incidents in a timely matter
  • If they perform internal audits on your internal processes, procedures and controls


8. What are the reporting capabilities?

To get a clear view of how your program is performing, you’ll need to be able to measure all aspects of it. Comprehensive reporting features help you get all the detailed data you need to benchmark, improve and take your impact to the next level.

You’ll want to know:

  • Their standard reporting capabilities
  • Their custom reporting capabilities
  • If they offer dashboards or visual analytics views
  • If their reporting integrates employee demographic data
9. Does their software integrate with affinity groups or ERGs? 

CSR and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) groups work together in an organization, and sharing causes, events and data between platforms is important. Employee resource groups (ERGs) are often critical to driving CSR program participation but aren’t supported with technology that can help them organize. 

You’ll want to know:

  • If they have a solution to manage ERGs
  • If they can report on ERG participation
  • How they can manage ERG events
  • How their ERG solution integrates with their CSR solution


10. Is the technology intuitive and easy to use?

Finally, and arguably most importantly, your technology must be intuitive for your people (including field and remote users) and integrate seamlessly with your existing systems (like HR and payroll). One of the most significant factors affecting participation is ease of use for everyone.

You’ll want to know:

  • If their technology meets Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA standards
  • If their software requires training for end users and if there’s an additional fee for this
  • If the solution can allow you to personalize or brand the interface
  • If they offer a mobile app or can help you connect with your field and remote users
  • If they have an API for integrations like e-commerce platforms and rewards programs and HR systems such as payroll

Ready to learn more and feel confident about selecting a CSR software partner? Download our Quick guide for choosing an employee engagement partner, chock-full of even more questions to ask to make sure you get the technology partner you need. You can also check out Benevity’s own solution anytime.

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