How to get employees charged up about charitable activities
More and more, being a good corporate citizen makes even better business sense. In a recent Edelman good purpose study, 67% of consumers said they’d rather buy products and services from companies who support worthy causes.
And it appears companies who care have happier employees too. According to the National Council for Volunteering Organisations (NCVO), almost half of workers in the UK said they were more likely to stay with an employer that allows them to donate time or raise money for charities during working hours. What’s more, The Telegraph reported that more than one in ten employees said they would take a ‘significant’ pay cut to work for a company that encouraged charitable activity among staff.
So while your business may not have pockets deep enough to invest in a wide-scale CSR programme, there are a range of simple and effective ways to give back to your community, while reaping the benefits of more motivated and engaged employees.
Employer-supported volunteering. This option allows staff to volunteer for a chosen charity with support from their employer – either through paid or unpaid time off to devote to a personal charity project or a company-wide programme. Around 70% of FTSE 100 companies run this type of initiative.
Payroll giving. Also known as Workplace Giving or Give as You Earn, a payroll giving scheme allows your employees to make gift-aided donations to their favourite charity (or your nominated company cause) through their monthly pay cheque. You can also choose to match contributions up to a certain amount.
Fundraising events. Pulling together for a common goal is a great way to boost team spirit – whether it’s a local bake sale, or backing the company team in the London marathon. Charities themselves usually have a wealth of ideas (and a valuable support team) to get the ball rolling, helping you to schedule a calendar of events, handle donations and share success stories throughout your organisation.
A team effort
Whether you opt for business mentoring, employer-supported volunteering or a fundraising fun run, it pays to make your charitable activity a collaborative effort from the outset. Begin your journey with small steps:
Define your objectives. Start by asking some fundamental questions. What does your charitable programme mean to your business? What would you like it to achieve, both internally and externally? What charity (or charities) would you like to support? It isn’t essential, but it makes sense to team up with a charity that is somehow connected to your business – from tackling youth unemployment to supporting the arts.
Find your leader. It’s vital that senior management show their support and lead by example from the start, but you’ll also need a passionate person to drive your charitable efforts from the frontline. Choose someone with infectious enthusiasm who can gather support from all corners of the company, as well as the practical skills to organise and promote events.
Let the people choose. Get your employees’ buy in from the very beginning by voting on your nominated charity, brainstorming fundraising ideas and allowing your team to shape the direction of your charity programme. From there, give as much freedom as you can to cultivate a creative approach to giving. Allow local teams to champion the overall cause in their own unique way and encourage healthy fundraising competition between departments and regions.
Keep it simple. Make it as easy as possible for people to get involved. Link up with your charity for ready-made communications and promotional items, circulate easy-to-use templates and set up a central bank account for donations.
Shout about success. Employees will be far more committed to the cause if their work is rewarded with a bit of time in the limelight. Praise best practice, recognise brilliant ideas and give top fundraisers and volunteers the visibility they deserve through company newsletters, intranet and other communications tools. Encouraging individuals to share their stories will inspire others to get involved, especially if it’s backed up with a special nod from senior management.
How have you brought charitable giving to life in your business? And what kept your employees fired up about fundraising? We’d love to hear your success stories.