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Inside workplace giving Part 2
Brendan Stelmach

Brendan Stelmach

Brendan Stelmach’s work as an Associate in the Partner Solutions team sees him provide research, writing and support for existing and prospective clients, as well as contribute to the wonderful blog team! A Chicago native, he is very happy to be living and working in the Washington, D.C., area. Before Global Impact, Brendan gained experience with the World Bank and the U.S. State Department. He has a passion for all things international, from philanthropy to soccer, and tries to learn new things every day, which working with the blog team certainly helps.

By
Brendan Stelmach

Continued from part 1 – Inside workplace giving – Fostering philanthropic connections even while apart

In 1998, Global Impact launched [email protected] to exercise our own best practices for workplace giving. To date, Global Impact employees have generously pledged over $1.2 million for local, national and international charities. In 2020 alone, with a pandemic sweeping the globe, the campaign inspired a staggering 97% participation rate. We pledged 1,734 volunteer hours and raised over $47,000 for causes we believe in.

The numbers speak for themselves. Employees want to do more good, and they want to do it together.

In this second post of our three-part blog series, I will give a first-hand account of my personal experiences as a team representative, or keyworker, for the [email protected] campaign, and discuss what it means to drive enthusiasm as a team during such a tumultuous time. We will also explore the unique ways that Global Impact utilized Growfund to empower giving, and how this tool can help your organization engage your employees.

The importance of teamwork: Inside the keyworker experience
Across sectors and projects, teamwork is the foundation that success is built on – and workplace giving campaigns are no different. A task force of enthusiastic, informed and helpful peers is key to getting your employees excited and committed to giving. It puts a face to the campaign, adding a personal touch that is crucial to boosting engagement – and especially true for this year, when many campaigns are or will be occurring remotely. 

I was lucky enough to be a part of the team by serving as a keyworker for the 2020 [email protected] campaign – the first full Global Impact giving campaign that I was able to participate in. Keyworkers are members of the different departments at Global Impact who work to share information about the campaign, encourage their peers to participate and help campaign leadership coordinate special events and programs. 

I joined Global Impact in August of 2019, just missing last year’s campaign season. I wanted to dive in fully for my first complete [email protected] cycle, so I was very happy to volunteer as a keyworker and represent my team. 

The keyworker experience began months before the campaign’s launch, in meetings led by Stephanie Scholz, vice president of human resources and the leader of [email protected] She crafted an open environment that encouraged the sharing of ideas, both strategic and creative. 

From the first meetings, it was clear that this was going to be a collaborative effort, and that to succeed, we would need to make this campaign truly our own. 

Together, we shaped the program – our team of more than a dozen keyworkers identified the campaign themes, crafted volunteering plans and prepared how-to guides to share with the office as a whole. We also participated in strategic discussions around how to conduct a workplace giving campaign remotely and maintain enthusiasm and connectedness without being physically present. 

As an added bonus, keyworkers had the opportunity to invite charities they cared about or had a personal connection with to conduct companywide brown bag lunches held on Zoom. There, charity representatives introduced our staff to new and interesting organizations, and often shared why the organization was important to them.

I was surprised at the amount of creativity we were able to express throughout this process. The passions of each keyworker truly showed through in the final product, which made the campaign all the more compelling. 

Some of the biggest moments in our work as keyworkers included:

Kicking off. Each keyworker participated in the Zoom call that kicked off the [email protected] campaign week. They described various aspect of the campaign and introduced themselves to the organization as resources. This helped reinforce [email protected] as an event that spans the organization and touches each of Global Impact’s departments.

This was one of my favorite components of the keyworker experience. I got to introduce the rewards for hitting our participation and volunteer targets for the year, which allowed me to show my enthusiasm and get other employees hyped about the campaign! 

Keeping up participation. After the kickoff, our mandate was primarily to drive participation. The [email protected] leadership would regularly update us on each team’s percentage of participation – and, in turn, we were charged with following-up and encouraging everyone to be part of this amazing opportunity. 

There was a careful balance to strike between sensitivity to the difficult circumstances that the world is in which might reduce participation in a giving program, and encouraging people to step up and make a difference at a time when many people need help. 

The pandemic has had serious, tangible effects on our staff, and approaching this campaign with extra sensitivity was crucial. The most important component of this was never to call out individuals directly – the participation reports never included the names of those who had and had not pledged. Instead we issued general reminders to the team as a whole as-needed. 

Our volunteering opportunities were also important in this sensitivity effort by giving people who may not currently have the financial flexibility to donate an opportunity to give back through time and effort. 

Keyworkers were crucial to finding the correct tone – our experience within our departments allowed us to understand how best to reach our peers. We also played a huge role in fielding questions and directing people to resources, like finding volunteering opportunities. 

A lot of responsibility came with this role, but we did also have support. One tool that made our jobs as keyworkers much easier was Growfund. This online tool made managing pledges and viewing pledge totals extremely easy for our staff. Growfund has a myriad uses for donors – read on to learn more!

Growfund as a workplace giving tool
Growfund is a unique giving tool created and operated by Global Impact. The service allows for anyone to start a no-minimum donor advised fund that can receive charitable contributions, invest and grow them, and disburse money directly to charities whenever the user wants. This core framework has almost limitless possibilities to drive charitable participation, which is why Global Impact harnesses the power of Growfund as the backbone of [email protected] 

When Global Impact employees make their per-paycheck or one-off pledges for [email protected], contributions are deposited directly into their Growfund accounts, where the funds accrue interest while invested. When the user is ready, giving to the charity of their choice is as easy as a few clicks away. Through Growfund, Global Impact’s employees always know where their charitable dollars are, can plan for larger donations in the future, and become more engaged and thoughtful in their giving. Growfund allows for easy distribution to over 1.8 million GuideStar-rated charities – meaning that employees can find trustworthy organizations that support the causes important to them, regardless of size or location. 

While [email protected] mainly utilized Growfund to make depositing and granting funds as easy as possible, the platform has many more tools that make it a great solution for workplace giving. 

Supporting the causes you care about
Direct granting is not the only tool available to a Growfund user. Anyone with an account is able to view and contribute to curated funds designed to help you achieve impact in the causes you are passionate about.
 
Growfund maintains a bevy of funds that allow donors to easily grant money to a selection of leading nonprofits working in a particular area. For instance, the Clean Water Fund splits donations between WaterAid, Water for People and World Vision. These cause-related funds, which also cover other important areas such as education and women and girls, are always available for donations. But for some causes, timing is more important – Growfund plays a huge role in emergency situations, adding crisis response funds that make donating to support those affected by natural and man-made disasters as easy – and impactful – as possible. Recently, Growfund emergency funds have covered the coronavirus outbreak and racial justice. 

Using Growfund to power our workplace giving grants our employees access to all of these funds so that making an impact in the areas they are passionate about is as easy as possible. 

Achieving great results
The keyworker experience was a wonderful way for me to learn more about conducting a workplace giving campaign. I even learned some things I wasn’t expecting, like what my coworkers are passionate about, and strategies around staying connected while working remotely. 

I was also impressed by Growfund and its role as a crucial tool in achieving our successes and reaching our goals both as keyworkers, and as employees supporting the causes we care about. I’m blown away by its potential to drive change, and am looking forward to seeing it evolve to be even better. 

The [email protected] experience has proven to me that teamwork, especially with the right tools, can achieve amazing results in even the most challenging of circumstances. 

Interested in working with us to improve workplace giving? Reach out to our team today!

Stay tuned for part 3 of our Inside workplace giving series…

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