People love a good story. Although facts and figures are essential components of reporting in business, they fall short when it comes time to sharing impact and results with internal and external stakeholders. The best way to share information is through storytelling. Stories are better than data on its own because they invoke an emotional response. Sometimes stories can be powerful enough to spur people to take action, causing people to devote their time and even entire lives to create change or impact in some area. Stories have so much more substance than a set of facts or a spreadsheet of data.
About The Goals
The Sustainable Development Goals were developed by the UN as the first set of goals to completely transform civilization as we know it for the better. These goals represent 17 areas with a target to achieve them by 2030. This is no small task, but it can be done if millions of people and organizations band together to participate and engage in activities that work toward one or a set of the goals.
Having a volunteer program is an investment, and it comes with an array of benefits. In many cases, volunteering and community investment programs are employee generated initiatives that grow organically. For these programs to have the impact that they are capable of generating, they need to be managed properly. There are a handful of challenges associated with managing volunteer programs, but they can be overcome through a combination of technology and strategy.
1. Start With a Purpose
I’ve been following Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff for quite some time. I’ve always been fascinated by his level of foresight and leadership. Benioff is an innovator in every sense of the word. When he founded Salesforce, selling software online was unheard of, as was selling software on a subscription basis. In other words, he completely disrupted the traditional software industry.
Consumer trust is lower than ever, and their expectations have never been higher. With no shortage of inauthentic cause marketing campaigns in circulation it can be difficult to cut through the noise. One of the best ways to gain consumer trust and loyalty is by sharing employee generated Corporate Responsibility content. Put it this way: it’s okay to brag about the great things your employees are doing in the community on behalf of your organization. Here’s why:
Companies measure just about everything. We use financial statements to measure financial performance, we measure turnover, we measure social media impressions, click through rates, attendance rates, customer retention and the list goes on. Why do we measure things? Usually we have a goal that we’ve set, and then measure actual performance against this goal.
We only set goals for things we care about, and therefore only measure what’s important to us.
So why don’t organizations measure their giving and other metrics associated with Corporate Social Responsibility? When you compare your giving metrics to your financial performance metrics it can yield some fantastic results. For instance, Unilever has discovered that their purpose oriented brands are growing 30% faster than their other brands.
Its been proven that the highest performing companies measure something beyond financial performance. Grant Thornton found that 70.5% of high growth companies have a clearly defined non-financial purpose.
So where do you start?
Start by discovering what your people care about. What are the shared values within your organization? What are the causes that the people within your organization want to support? Ideally you will take this information and develop a program that is flexible enough to support the causes your employees are already supporting in the community.
Next, set a goal. You can use the first year of measurement to determine a benchmark metric of what your organization is currently achieving. Then in year two and beyond, create goals that push these metrics to new heights. For example, in 2015 Clif Bar volunteered over 10,000 hours as a company, so in 2016, they created a company wide goal of 11,440. In 2014, Groupon set a goal of 10,000 hours, which they surpassed easily, volunteering a total of 14,335 hours!
Finally, measure performance. How many products or services have you donated? How many hours of your people’s time has been contributed? How many organizations have you supported? How many people were involved in the programs. Its really motivating, impressive, and inspiring to see the impact created by several small actions created by an organizations people. For example, in 2015, Salesforce achieved the milestone of 1 million volunteer hours. That’s the equivalent of volunteering 365 days per year, 24/7 for 114 years nonstop.
You may choose to offer incentives for employees who participate in these programs, or just allow the sense of purpose and act of giving to work its magic. Either way, if you care about the sustainability of your organization, and the impact you’re generating, it’s time to start measuring. Remember, a sense of purpose drives the people that drive your profits. With Porpoise, you can spend less time managing engagement and community programs, and more time accelerating and amplifying their impact. We’re on a journey to solve the world’s greatest challenges with our clients. Want to join us? Let’s chat.
After analyzing hundreds of programs, and implementing and managing programs for companies of all sizes, we’ve learned a thing or two about how to work with budgets of varying degrees. One of our greatest takeaways was that you don’t have to spend millions in order to implement a successful giving program. In fact, many of the companies we work with are able to increase engagement and impact with ZERO net-new expense. That’s right- lack of financial and human resources isn’t what is holding your program back- its how you allocate these resources that are at your disposal.
As your company grows, and your employee engagement programs begin to evolve and scale, there will come a time when your organization will require a platform to manage them. There are several things to consider when deciding which platform to adopt to manage your programs. Here are the top 5 features that we believe are essential to managing a world-class employee engagement and corporate social responsibility strategy.
In the early days, as a startup or small business with 10–20 employees, chances are your volunteer efforts can be coordinated via email and the impact metrics and data can be tracked on a Google Docs, spreadsheets, or even a piece of paper on a bulletin board. The question many companies are faced with as they grow and scale is when is the right time to switch to a more comprehensive, automated system to manage your social responsibility and community involvement program?