Welcome to the second installment of Global Impact’s Workplace Giving 101 blog series exploring the ins and outs of successful workplace giving campaigns. In the first part of this blog series, we summarized some of the benefits of having a workplace giving campaign.  This blog explores the role of campaign managers and top leadership as driving forces behind the success of the campaign.

Successful employee giving campaigns don’t just happen. They require preparation, teamwork, and excellent people skills. The first element of this is welcoming your company’s top leadership to participate in the campaign.

Lead from the top: Engaging leadership in your campaign
Strong and visible leadership support of the campaign can be a great motivator. What is important to the boss becomes important to the rest of the team. Therefore, as you begin your campaign, your first interaction should be with the top leadership at your company. Remind them of the ways this campaign can have a positive impact on employee morale and engagement from yesterday’s blog. Ask them to set a goal for the campaign – something measurable everyone can strive to achieve (and celebrate once reached). The goal can be monetary or based on a participation rate (or both!). And then present 3-5 tangible ways they can get involved such as:

  • Be a guest speaker at one of the company-wide calls or presentations to show support and share some of the causes that they personally care about.
  • Send goal update emails to all employees reiterating the incentives and impact of the campaign.
  • Personally thank campaign keyworkers and leaders with personalized emails from leadership (a grateful note can go a long way to show thankfulness!)

The most successful employee giving campaigns offer incentives to increase participation. While employee giving campaigns are always voluntary and do not rely solely on incentives, they are a nice perk for employees to increase their buy-in to the campaign. Instead of basing these solely on individual participation, consider a collective goal. For example, offering extra paid time off (PTO) or early dismissal Fridays once the team hits a participation goal is an excellent way to incentivize participants to give.

Prepare a presentation that appeals to leadership in ways that they see how it could benefit the organization and why they should take an active role in the campaign, including what we talked about in the first blog about all of the benefits of employee engagement programs like employee giving. (You can read that blog here)

Select your squad: How to recruit volunteers to energize your campaign
You may be thinking that you need help with this campaign, and you are right. It is time to select your squad – the people that will help you put your planning into action. These people are your support staff – helping employees with questions, encouraging people to give and becoming the “everyday fresh faces” of the campaign.

Volunteers are recruited by managers to increase their interaction and integration with other team members and to bring a fresh perspective to an annual campaign. These volunteers will need to “make the ask” and engage with colleagues to invite them to give, volunteer and be involved with the workplace campaign.

When selecting your volunteers, remember that what may seem like a gregarious, fun break from tasks to charismatic employees, may be dreaded and difficult for those who prefer to keep their head down and focus on their work. However, it is important to emphasize that there is room for all employees in the workplace giving campaign – and an opportunity for the introverted employees to build their team bonding skills and get to know their colleagues.

It is also an exciting change for employees to get to know each other across departments, beyond the people they consistently work with in their day-to-day interactions. Take into consideration the diversity of your committee to represent as many as differing characteristics within your organization as possible – this will ensure a well-rounded approach to “making the ask” of employees and your committee members.

Send an email to all employees; the most enthusiastic employees will lead the charge with your other volunteers and will emerge as leaders in the campaign. But don’t stop there – identify other employees that may not be as vocal, but may be excited about the opportunity, and ask them to join too. For your more introverted employee picks, a personal email asking them to jump onboard will work best. 

Schedule a volunteers-only meeting where you discuss your ideas for the upcoming campaign. Encourage your volunteers to get to know each other and trade information or insights that they already have about empowering their fellow employees to give.

Activate your own leadership skills
Campaign managers need to be energetic advocates for the campaign and the causes that you care about. Enthusiasm is everything, and this is an excellent way to sharpen those people skills and develop leadership qualities in your company.

If you are not used to being bold, that is okay! In a bonus part of this blog series, we will have a tactical guide on how to directly “make the ask” of your employees and encourage participation in your employee giving campaign. Here are a few tips to help you become more assertive, reduce stress, and communicate your cause in an easier way:

  • Start with emotion: you have a goal of what you would like people to do but getting in touch with your personal “why” is important to showing your enthusiasm.
  • Listen to the reasons that people are giving, and more importantly, the reasons that they are not participating. This is an opportunity to address these concerns head-on and help sway their opinion.
  • Be brave. It is hard to ask sometimes! Do not be afraid of hearing “no”, it is not personal! You may be genuinely surprised at how many positive responses you receive when you simply ask.
  • Make sure to say thank you. You will get so far in your personal and professional lives if you are gracious and welcoming to your donors and your colleagues.

Ultimately, your success depends on the skillsets and personalities of your team and your ability to lead them in this campaign. In our next installment of Workplace Giving 101 blog series, we will discuss marketing and promoting your campaign with thoughtful and practical approaches.