Kate Olsen, Director of Partnerships at Network for Good, shares best practices for engaging employees, giving thanks and sharing corporate impact during the holiday season. Insights are inspired by their recent Holiday ‘Good’ Guide and can be downloaded here.
1) What are elements to consider for strategizing a holiday cause program that “fits” a company’s audience?
Start with your employees. Your company’s employees are not only your biggest asset, but they are also your best brand ambassadors. A holiday cause program should always start with them. What do they care about? How do they like to give back? Hopefully, you have been getting to know your employees’ preferences for giving, volunteerism and favorite causes through programs all year and can now design a holiday campaign that speaks to their passions.
Don’t overthink it (people are primed to give). In the United States, we are conditioned to support our favorite causes at the end of December when the tax year ends. Year after year, the pattern is the same: a flurry of online giving activity spikes in the last few days of the year. Use that momentum to build excitement for your company’s campaign and then make it really easy for people to participate.
Make it heartfelt & meaningful. A thoughtful communication from your company’s CEO can really inspire the rank and file employees. Such a communication shows employees that the leadership team cares about social impact and values all the contributions each employee has made all year. There is something special about feeling that your individual generosity is adding up to tangible good in the community.
2) Since December is one the busiest months for giving, how can companies take advantage of this time to most effectively impact their business and the community?
December is a time to reinforce the commitment to cause your company has been making all year. Think about the partnerships your company has built with nonprofits. Are there ways to showcase those partnerships? December is also a great time to be reflective and tell the story of impact you have made collectively with you employees and customers in the communities where they live and work. What are the stories you can share from volunteer projects or giving drives? Put a human face on the investment your company and stakeholders have made in the community.
3) What are easy ways for companies to creatively promote and communicate gratitude campaigns to stakeholders during the holidays?
Just say ‘thanks’. It’s that easy. Expressing gratitude can be one of the most powerful ways to acknowledge employees, customers and community partners. The end of the year can be hectic and many companies are already starting to plan for 2013. Take a moment to celebrate all the good and remind each other of the spirit of the season. You can send note of thanks via email to employees, post a thank you message on your Intranet, or ask employees to share their stories of gratitude on your blog. In addition a heartfelt ‘thank you’, you can inspire further generosity through charity rewards or by inviting employees to give again as part of a holiday campaign. You can even lobby to swap out holiday tchotchkes for cause cards or extra grants to reward volunteerism and service.
#TAKE3 is a blog series dedicated to quick, yet insightful, takeaways for the corporate responsibility realm. Each feature includes an interview with an industry leader that addresses three questions on best practices and trends influencing the triple bottom line.
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