In part one, we covered 3 secrets to building employee engagement through your workplace giving program. We hope they helped you bump up your employee participation and strengthen your foundation for success. With engagement done properly, your programs will help attract and retain your employees, build your brand and sustain a competitive advantage.

Now, let’s dig into 4 more secrets to take your workplace giving program to the next level.

1. Motivate: Make Workplace Giving Interactive and Fun

No one wants to do something that feels like a chore. By making workplace giving an experience employees want to participate in, you can use your Goodness program as a lever in building a positive and purposeful corporate culture. That means giving needs to be interactive, easy and, yes, fun, for both employees and administrators alike.

We live in a one-click world. Replicating the experience employees have in their personal online interactions is a great way to increase uptake in employee giving and volunteering. Workplace giving processes are often built from the perspective of either the corporate administrator or the recipient charity.

Rarely is the employee user experience considered or made a priority. The result? A whole lot of digitized or paper pledge forms and manual matching processes, often with a once-a-year option to participate (a set it and forget it strategy).

Such programs usually attract, at most, 20% of employees who are really passionate about a cause and want to support it, no matter what hoops they have to jump through. But, the programs fail to engage the other 80% who likely have causes they care about, too.

So let's turn that around and make the 80% the ones who are participating! A surefire way to make this happen is to ensure your workplace giving solution includes:

  • An online interface that inspires and is mobile-friendly
  • Customizable personal accounts
  • Empowered choices about where, when and how much to give
  • Easy and interactive communication, including the ability to share on social media

An employee giving program is only effective if people willingly use it. Arm twisting, no matter how well intentioned, creates animosity instead of inspiration.

Focus instead on the heart of giving, and crafting a culture of giving at your company. Giving is uniquely personal. If you can tap into the zeal that people have for causes that matter to them, you can translate that zeal into goodwill for your company.

2. Make Matching Meaningful 

Matching is a big deal! Matching gifts of time and or money is the most powerful and effective incentive to participate in giving programs. Our research shows that those in open matching programs are two times more likely to donate. And, every $1 increase in the match cap yields an additional 25 cents in individual donations. So matching actually has a multiplier effect.

The best way to make matching matter? Create a meaningful matching budget, and make it super easy for employees to access that match.

Match Strategically 

Focus most of your investment in workplace giving on matching — not on software, manual processes or administration.

  • Segment your budget to match both company-branded causes and to charities that employees individually choose to support. 
  • Vary the match rate to encourage giving to company-branded causes (e.g., employees can donate to any registered charity and the company will match at 100%; if employees donate to company-branded causes, the company will match at 150%).
  • Establish a match cap per employee. It can range from $250 to $25,000 — the higher the match cap, the greater the likelihood of participation by employees. 
  • Consider external third-party partners (such as suppliers) who could fund matching offers where strategically sensible.
  • Create a matching budget that is as large as you can afford so that you will encourage participation and get the most leverage from your program. 

Match in Real-Time

Many corporate programs make matching a separate step from giving. For example, employees submit their donation tax receipts to be approved for corporate matching. But this approach decreases both the impact and goodwill that should come from matching. Adding more steps means that fewer employees will likely participate.

Further, because matching the old-fashioned way is painful for employees, administrators and charities, a whopping 10 billion dollars of matching funds go unclaimed every year. This is a massive amount of money that could truly move the needle on important social causes. 

Matching should be done automatically and in real-time, which will increase participation rates and leverage existing budgets. Real-time matching increases the likelihood of uptake, and alleviates a cumbersome manual process, saving time and money and freeing up resources for everyone involved.

3. Viva Volunteering 

Giving time is a key part of employee giving, and for many employees, it can be as important as donating money, if not more. By bringing together your workplace giving benefits with volunteering rewards, your program will attract new people who may prefer to support causes with time instead of money.

In fact, according to our data, the average employee donation amount was 41% higher at companies that offer a volunteering program vs. those that don’t.

With an increasing appetite for corporate volunteerism comes a desire  from both employees and employers — to make tracking, managing and rewarding corporate volunteering easier. To encourage employee volunteering, consider a program that enables:

  • Easy, online ways to promote corporate-sponsored, partner and community volunteering opportunities to employees (it’s even better if your tool can target the content that you send to specific groups of employees!)
  • The capability to create campaigns for volunteering opportunities
  • Employees to easily select, plan and track their volunteering participation (including the ability to track hours via mobile devices)
  • The ability to easily reward participants with donation currency
  • Report generation on critical metrics

4. Use Metrics to Manage What Matters

If you embrace employee engagement as one of the key outcomes of a successful workplace giving program, enthusiastic participation should be a key metric to measure success and impact — not just dollars raised.

Participation should be passionate, unforced and inspiring. Ironically, many well-intended programs put so much emphasis on persuading employees to hit a target number or have such onerous processes, that they turn what is supposed to be aspirational into something that generates animosity. 

Influencers are important, but don’t just focus on the 10–20% of your employees who already participate. If your workplace giving program isn’t fetching participation rates in the 50% range or higher, it's time to make some changes. 

Take a hard look at:

  • Process: Is it clear what people have to do? Are there extraneous steps that could be eliminated? 
  • Technology: Is there a glitch preventing people from completing a donation or tracking their time? Is matching automatic and done in real-time? Are volunteer rewards easily shared with the charity of their choice? 
  • Program design: Are employees able to choose their own causes? Are your branded causes compelling? 
  • Outcomes: Are you overly focused on a specific target number or are you genuinely offering your employees ways to feel good about giving? 
  • Commitment: Are your senior management members walking the talk? Are they engaging with employees on giving?   
  • Promotion: Are you effectively sharing the opportunities for your employees to give back in ways that matter to them?

Together with the secrets from part one about successfully engaging with your employees on giving, we hope these tips on motivation, matching, volunteering and measuring what matters, help you imagine new possibilities for your workplace giving program.

Find out how Benevity can help boost your program with our market-leading workplace giving cloud solution.