The workforce today values corporate philanthropy and opportunities for volunteering. In fact, according to IO Sustainability, workers are willing to take a pay cut of up to 5% just to work for a company with strong CR policies. So, why is it that workplace giving programs seem to have such stagnant participation numbers? Well, we are so glad you asked…

1. You are living in the past

If your workplace giving program was created a decade ago, it might be time for a revamp. So much has changed from the days of simple checkbook philanthropy. Modern workplace giving programs are an indispensable part of building a company’s culture and HR’s recruiting, retention and engagement strategies so much so that employees want more control of how and when they engage with causes near and dear to their hearts. So it’s time to take a step back and evaluate what is relevant today and refine your corporate programs and policies to reflect what the employees want while also adhering to your company’s values and mission.

Takeaway: If your corporate giving program doesn’t align with your employees’ values, it will stagnate.

2. Dated methodology

If paper forms or your homegrown system is still in place and there is an expectation that today’s employees will use it…

Knock Knock.. Who’s there? It’s 2018!

Today’s programs are supported by software solutions; these are designed to address mobile, social, aspects of life that are as ubiquitous as our smartphones and twitter feeds. Crowdsourcing, peer review and instant access are all part of consumer and professional life. It’s time to make these a part of your workplace giving initiatives too!

Do you know that by 2020, Millennials (ages 18-34 and the biggest generation since the baby boomers) will make up 50% of the workforce? This is the generation that grew up with computers and mobile devices and are now on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. Giving back to the community and society is ingrained in this generation’s beliefs but it can’t be arduous or difficult. So why not select a platform that makes workplace giving participation EASY?

Look at these stats from IO Sustainability about tomorrow’s largest work generation:

  • 45% of Millennials said they would take a pay cut for a job that makes a social or environmental impact.
  • 80% of Millennials want to work for a company that cares about how it impacts and contributes to society. Over half would refuse to work for an irresponsible corporation.
  • 90% of consumers say they would switch brands to one associated with a cause, if the price and quality were comparable.
  • According to the 2015 Millennial Survey by Deloitte, six out of ten Millennials said a sense of purpose is the reason they chose to work for their current employer.

Takeaway: You’ve already seen how consumer technology that exists in the cloud makes productivity soar, why wouldn’t you implement the same in your workplace giving program? Easy access, simple integrations and branded gateways make workplace giving simple.

3. Limiting Scope

From what employees can participate in, to who they can give to, to how they can give… some platforms give limited options to charity and workplace giving. Hear this: Charity is personal. Employees are looking for shared values with their company. You cannot mandate the causes that are near and dear to your employees. And by doing so? You could be limiting the impact your organization can have on the world!

While everyone recognizes that people act and react differently, it’s about time to finally embrace this and put it into practice. Some people are motivated to give financially, some prefer to be more involved and give their time and skills. So make sure you create a workplace giving program for long-term success that addresses the diverse employee base, provides a rich repository of charities that meet your program rules and global laws out there, and offers multiple ways to give. The Boomer in accounting may bring her checkbook every day, but the Gen-X creative director uses Stripe or Paypal and never carries cash, so keep different payment options open to accommodate all your employees.

Takeaway: Options are a no-brainer for benefits programs and charitable giving is another employee benefit. Treat it as such and employees will line up to personalize their workplace giving!

4. No clear communication plan

You might have a flier in the cafeteria on the bulletin board fighting for attention with a hundred other documents posted. Perhaps you sent an email when you started your giving program… four years ago. These half-hearted attempts aren’t likely to get employees excited about your program. Managers need to constantly communicate the program with employees and prospective employees. Instead of facts and figures, show the program in action. Talk about your giving goals during interviews, onboarding and orientation. Post a message from the CEO on your intranet, and include your program details in corporate emails. Instruct managers to bring it up during their meetings, and promote it on your company and recruiting blogs, use the company social media accounts to tag those who are participating and take pictures to post on your internal system like Jive or Yammer and external facing sites like your Facebook page! Spread the word so everyone knows about the program and is regularly thinking about how to contribute to it.

Takeaway: No one can participate in your program if they are unaware it exists. Just like a modern marketer, you are fighting for mindshare in the minds of your employees. Make a splash!

5. No executive buy-in

You don’t have executive buy-in or giving is not embedded in your corporate culture. Find an advocate or consider board placement as a way to allow the C-Suite to see how community service can assist in developing strong partnerships with the communities your company does business with.

Did you know 39% of managers would be more willing to participate in cause work if the CEO participated as well? Volunteerism is a key way to ease high-level team members into service by aligning them with other team members. You will be quite surprised to find support from your executive team by seeking causes they care about.

Takeaway: If you’re unable to secure leadership buy-in, fake it until you can show enough stats to the C-suite to convince them that values-based workplace giving will not only increase engagement and learning on the inside of your company, but boost your brand and recruiting prowess outside!

Increasing participation in workplace giving programs really boils down to how those opportunities are communicated and how dedicated companies are. Today’s workforce wants to give back at work, they just need an employer that is genuine, transparent and proactive in the very programs they seek to gain workforce participation in. From engaging employees through social media to letting them choose which causes to give to, the right solution for your company is out there. You just have to make it happen.