Encouraging employees to share their giving stories is a great way to increase awareness of your charitable giving program. Employee and donor storytelling is a free type of referral marketing and is a great way to increase awareness of your workplace giving program using already established networks.
We’ve put together a guide on how to encourage corporate employees to share their giving story.
What are employee giving stories?
Donors select charities to donate to for a number of reasons. Some donors might base their decision on their interests such as a love for animals, while others might select a charity that supports a cause area close to their heart.
Donors that select charities based on causes they resonate with can often make for an inspiring giving story. An inspiring giving story will activate empathy in others – you can achieve this by creating a verbal and written story brief including;
- Emotional language: rather than stating charity statistics and amount donated, focus on the individual’s feelings and personal experience. While the facts and statistics are important, they are not the factors that inspire giving in others.
- Encourage stories that follow a three-point structure:
- The donor’s personal experience with the cause area
- The charity they choose to give to (it can be through donations and volunteering)
- Relate back to the corporate’s charitable giving program
- A visual: If you’re on a zoom call ensure the storyteller’s camera is switched on or if they are at an in-person meeting, make sure they are visible. If it is a written story, ask if you can include an image of the person. Donor stories may be deeply personal so make sure you show an understanding of employees who would like to remain anonymous.
How to initiate a culture of sharing of employee giving stories
You can initiate donor storytelling by sharing your own story. You can also ask colleagues and other teammates to get the ball rolling. Most people are more than happy to share their story if you just ask them. You can also ask existing committees, groups, working groups and social clubs within your organisation as they are usually highly engaged and help drive the culture within the organisation. When asking employees to share their stories, try asking individuals to share their stories rather than prompting a whole group at the same time. You are more likely to get a positive result from a one-on-one conversation.
When encouraging employees to share their giving story, ensure that the environment in which they are sharing is inclusive. You want to facilitate an environment where other employees can continue the discussion after the story has been shared whether it be in-person or online. You don’t want the donor story to be met with silence or a disengaged online network.
Using influencers and champions
Your executive team and other senior leaders in the business can act as influencers. Having a top-down approach especially around the launch of a charity partnership or charitable program can greatly influence the rest of the business. All-staff meetings are a great place for senior leaders to share their giving story as it will quickly raise awareness about your workplace giving program.
Employees from all levels of the business can also boost awareness of your giving program by sharing their donor stories. While sharing stories at smaller meetings and social events may not have as big of a reach as an executive at an all-staff meeting having closer personal relationships may result in more engaged audiences.
Where is it appropriate to encourage employee giving stories?
- Managers and other mid-level employees: Medium sized team meetings and events are a great place for mid-level employees to share their giving story.
- New or junior employees: Some entry-level employees may not have the confidence to share their giving stories publicly and others might see it as an opportunity to stand out. It is important to give these employees the choice to share their stories during meetings and in more casual settings like catch-ups.
Talk to your charity partners
More often than not, your charity partners want to help you increase employee engagement in your giving program. A more engaged workforce means potentially more workplace giving donations for your charity partner. Reach out to your Client Relationship Manager or your Client Services Officer if you would like to contact your charity partners.
Your charity partners could speak at a variety of events, including your online drinks, lunch and learn sessions or any fundraising events your corporate chooses to support. Charity partners could also provide you with impact stories from volunteers or testimonials from aid recipients to share on your intranet.
Have a multi-channel campaign
While word of mouth can encourage donor storytelling and boost awareness of your workplace giving program, having a multichannel campaign will help to spread awareness. Talk to your corporate’s communications team to see where your donor stories could fit into their internal communications calendar.
Internal social networks
With permission from the storyteller, post their giving story on your internal social network like Yammer and Slack. Where possible, try to include a picture of the storyteller, it could even be a selfie or screenshot of a Zoom call. Make sure to provide a call to action at the end of the story eg. ‘Do you have a donor story to share? Send it to ‘_your email_@_emailprovider_.com’
There are many significant philanthropic events throughout the year like Giving Tuesday, National Day of Charity and Workplace Giving Month and charity days like Pink Ribbon Day, National Close the Gap Day and R U OK? Day that you can create an event around.
When hosting a fundraising event, see if you can create hype around the event by asking a charity partner to speak and sharing a donor story from an employee that has a personal connection to the fundraising day. Creating appeals around this fundraising event and allocating a matching budget to double or even triple donations could boost awareness of your charitable giving program.
See if you can feature an employee giving story or a charity partner story on your corporate’s intranet. Try to get a section for your giving story around any key event days like fundraising events, appeals and workplace giving campaigns like Findex Giving Week.
Using incentives and competitions
Creating a culture around freely sharing employee giving stories is important for the longevity of your program. If you want to kickstart donor storytelling, you can hold an internal competition. Good2Give held a competition last year asking donors to share their giving story for a chance to win money for their chosen charity. This competition received a lot of traction and could be an excellent idea to kick-start donations.