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// The Ten Steps to Success
A workplace giving campaign is only as successful as the employees who participate. Without employees taking the time and effort to designate their payroll deduction to the charities of their choice, there would not be a campaign. The following suggestions are offered to help ensure your campaign’s success. In approaching a new assignment, each of us wants to look forward to success-yet fear of the unknown causes us to ask, “Will I attain it?”
This guide incorporates proven principles which, when followed carefully, have helped hundreds of company campaign coordinators to reach or exceed their goals. Campaign success involves setting in motion a series of closely interrelated activities and events, each of which builds upon those before it. This creates a momentum that ultimately ensures the success of the campaign. Here are the ten keys to a successful workplace giving program.
Involve the Chief Executive Officer
- Secure his or her commitment to the solicitation of all employees.
- Make plans to send all employees a letter of support just prior to the beginning of the campaign.
- Request that a separate pre-campaign solicitation of the executive group be conducted.
- Arrange to meet with your chief executive officer at a later date to review and endorse your campaign plan and your recommended goals.
Review Last Year’s Results
1) Review last year’s records.
- How much was contributed?
- By how many employees?
- What departments met their goals?
- How many gave via payroll deduction?
- How many donors made cash contributions?
2) Meet with last year’s campaign coordinator.
- What went right?
- What went wrong?
- How can you do better this year?
Recruit a Campaign Team
At large companies the campaign may be too complex to be managed by one individual. In such cases, you may want to form a campaign committee to oversee the drive. Each member assumes responsibility for a particular facet of the campaign, depending upon his or her skills and experience.
- Roles – Committee Specialists
- Publicity Director (Usually from Public Relations or Communications): Designs and implements the campaign publicity, Plans and manages the kick-off and other meetings, Coordinates agency visits (if appropriate), and Plans and manages special publicity events and recognition meetings.
- Training Director (Usually from Training Department): Develops training programs, materials and schedules connecting with people, facilities and equipment; and Conducts training for trainers and solicitors.
- Payroll Director (Usually from Data Processing or Payroll): Develops payroll deduction procedures, Prepares pledge forms, and Tabulates campaign reports.
- Roles – Solicitors
- Understand and believe in the concept of workplace giving campaigns.
- Answer questions and direct employees to appropriate sources of information.
- Encourage employees to participate in the campaign.
- Communicate the role of the brochure and pledge card.
Whether or not you use a committee, it is essential to recruit campaign solicitors. The type of solicitation you use will determine how many solicitors you should recruit. Ideally, you will need one to two solicitors per hundred employees if you do group solicitation. However, you will need six to ten solicitors per one hundred employees if you solicit one-on-one. Make your solicitors represent all segments of your company. Solicitors should be selected because they are viewed as leaders within their peer groups. This will be the action group that will make your campaign successful. Share your assessments and plans with them and seek their suggestions for improvement.
Meet with Representatives from the Participating Nonprofit Organizations
Participating federations are your partners in the campaign. As such, they bring a variety of resources, experiences and expertise that will support your company’s campaign. The following are services and tools the participating federations can supply:
- Train campaign coordinators and solicitors.
- Provide information on member charities.
- Help evaluate the campaign and plan for the next year.
- Make motivating and informative presentations to employee groups on the services provided by participating charities.
- Supply campaign brochures and pledge cards.
- Arrange tours of different charities within the community.
- Offer display materials such as banners, posters, videos, photographs, or interactive presentations and provide campaign give-away items such as T-shirts, water bottles, coffee mugs, key chains, or magnets.
Determine Campaign Strategies
Each company is unique so it is important to design a campaign that fits the company’s culture. The following ideas are given as broad guidelines.
- Set goals: Most companies find it useful to set campaign goals. Numeric goals might include total dollars raised and employee participation. Goals should be determined after reviewing the results of previous campaigns. Ideally, goals should be realistic, but require effort to achieve.
- Create a timetable for the kick-off event, group meetings, appreciation event, and results tabulation: Remember to provide adequate time for planning.
- Determine solicitation methods: There are two basic methods for conducting an employee solicitation: individual and group. Individual solicitation involves the personal solicitation of one employee by another, preferable a peer. A more informative, effective and coercion-free environment is available through the group solicitation process. Employees are brought together in small groups to view a video, hear a brief presentation and ask questions. They generally turn in their completed pledge form at the conclusion of the meeting.
Train the Campaign Team
Since these are the people who will carry out the employee solicitation process they will need to be knowledgeable and articulate about the campaign. In short, they will need training. The training should cover:
- Information about the participating charities.
- Effective solicitation techniques.
- How to handle and overcome objections.
- Campaign materials and time line.
- Goals and objectives.
Promote Campaign and Educate Employees
Creative messages, including slogans and themes, can bring your campaign to life and give your communications program a unique look. To create messages that work, it may be helpful to conduct some research among the employees to determine what your co-workers like and will respond to.
A campaign theme will capture the employees’ attention, build enthusiasm and personalize the campaign. The theme should be built into every aspect of the campaign such as the kick-off, thank-you cards and appreciation event. Some suggestions for themes include:
- Capitalize on trends or fads such as movies, popular songs or sporting events.
- Select two or three colors that will be prominent throughout the campaign.
- Organize a casual day in which employees dress in accordance with the theme.
In addition to publicity, employees should be given the opportunity to learn about participating charities through kick-off events, brochures, films, presentations and tours. Events can help motivate employees and make the campaign fun. The kick-off event is the big debut for the campaign. The kick-off is an opportunity for employees to:
- Gather valuable information from the charities participating in the campaign.
- Meet fellow employees who have benefited from a participating charity.
- Come together as a company to support their campaign.
Implement the Campaign Plan
You’ve planned your work-now its time to work your plan. All successful campaigns include certain basic elements.
- Conduct executive/management solicitation early, in advance of the employee campaign, (often called a pacesetter campaign) to set the pace for the rest of the campaign.
- Personalize all pledge cards. This gives an added personal touch and helps you control the campaign by knowing who has/has not been solicited at any particular time.
- Conduct group meetings or do one-on-one solicitation.
- Run a short intensive campaign-strive for completion within two weeks. Short campaigns keep enthusiasm at a higher level. Allow additional time for people on travel or vacation to turn in their cards.
- Follow up with employees to ensure that all have had the opportunity to contribute.
- Thank your volunteers and givers for their support.
Recognize and Thank Volunteers and Donors
Campaign coordinators and solicitors, like the donors, need acknowledgment. Showing the company’s appreciation for their hard work, time commitment and leadership role helps draw more volunteers for the next year. Consider these different ways to thank campaign coordinators and solicitors:
- Thank you page in the company newsletter listing each name.
- Framed copy of a group photograph taken at the beginning of the campaign.
- Special recognition breakfast the day after the campaign is over.
Donors, without exception, need to be thanked for their participation and support of the campaign. Showing the company’s appreciation for employee participation helps build morale and encourages others to give the next year. There are a number of ways to thank donors:
- Verbal thank you from solicitor as an employee returns a pledge card.
- Report the success of the campaign in the company newsletter.
- Thank you card, visit or call from the recipient charity acknowledging the gift.
- Incentives and awards for participating employees
- General thank you letter from top management to all employees thanking all those who participated.
Report Results and Conduct an Evaluation
The wrap-up of your campaign is just as crucial as any other aspect. It is important to follow these steps after your campaign has ended.
- Make certain all pledge cards are returned and accounted for. Whether or not an individual chooses to give is his or her personal decision and no pressure should be exerted to change it. However, the return of all pledge cards is a necessary control mechanism to assure that each employee has been afforded the opportunity to participate.
- Prepare campaign reports and notify participating charities of the results.
- Meet with the campaign volunteers for an evaluation session of the campaign. Identify the campaign’s strengths along with opportunities for improvement.