Deanna Neiers is the director of the northeast and central regions at Global Impact, and leads corporate and charity partnership efforts in her regions. She is passionate about the organization’s alliance of international nonprofits and loves inspiring employees to donate to them. She also loves to travel, eat out and explore the city. Though born in the Midwest, Deanna has lived in New York City for the past 17 years which has earned her the title of an “official” New Yorker. She and her husband frequently ponder one important decision—should they raise their two young children as Cubs fans or Yankees fans? Only time will tell.
Your employee giving campaign is coming up and you might be feeling unsure how to communicate with staff during these unprecedented times. You are not alone. We have heard from campaign partners across all sectors that they don’t know how to promote their campaign this year, given all that employees have been dealing with. Coming across as insensitive is a major concern.
Organizations and campaigns want to be mindful with their ask and yet still encourage all of the positivity that giving produces.
As we have been building our Virtual Employee Giving Hub, we’ve combined best practices and insights into a campaign communication strategy that is thoughtful and strategic in the era of
- First things first – involve leadership. The most powerful and effective messaging comes from the top. Engage leadership and have them set the tone that this year’s campaign will be different. Staff is working remote. There have been furloughs and/or layoffs. People have been sick or have had family members fall ill. Teams might be short-staffed. We recommend having a senior leader send a communication prior to the start of the campaign that acknowledges the struggles and also brings hope.
Points to include in your message from leadership:
-Open with compassion.
-State that the campaign is about bringing us together and building our community.
-Share why they choose to give and what cause they are passionate about.
-Provide options in addition to donating so people can participate in other ways.
- Next, acknowledge the circumstances around this year’s campaign. On the logistical front, be prepared to explain changes to the campaign and answer questions employees may have. People will likely want to know how to attend virtual events, make pledges online or participate in virtual volunteering. Be honest with employees about how it feels to operate a campaign this year. Leave space for colleagues to reflect and share.
- Lead with compassion. Employee giving campaigns are about giving back and changing the world. Center your messaging around empathy and let employees know that you understand if their financial situation has changed ( (this is why adding components to your campaign beyond just financial giving is so important, see more below!).
- Emphasize the need. COVID-19 has made a profound impact across the nonprofit sector – and not just on those organizations that are providing direct medical care. Many charities have also had staff disruptions, challenges with moving their work solely online and a drop in funding. Amplify charities and causes of all kinds, and encourage colleagues to continue supporting what they are passionate about.
Visit Global Impact’s COVID-19 charity response page for details on how our partners are responding, including World Vision, who is working in more than 70 countries and aiming to reach 72 million people or Save the Children, who is training health teams in the U.S. and worldwide how to protect themselves and prevent further spread of the disease.
- Engage in other ways. There will be employees who are unable to make a financial contribution this year and that is ok. Invite them to engage in other ways. Employee giving campaigns aren’t just about raising money for charitable causes, they are about connecting co-workers and making the workplace a positive environment. Offer fun activities, promote virtual volunteering as an alternative to donating, and get the whole family involved this year. Research shows that when people volunteer they are more likely to give, which can help build employee’s connections to charitable giving for future campaigns. Check out our Virtual Employee Giving Hub for employee engagement resources to infuse in your campaign.
- Share employee voices. This is all about connecting with each other. Take a moment to reflect on all the good folks see in the world, and learn about the causes important to your colleagues. Invite employees to make a short video to share where they give and what giving back means to them. Include these videos in one of your campaign communications.
- Say thank you. Now is a critical time to thank individual donors, especially if this is a practice you don’t currently have in place. Getting back to involving leadership, ask them to send a quick note after someone makes a contribution or publicly acknowledge donors in a shared virtual space like Yammer or Slack. Focus communications on messages of gratitude, and be sure to share success stories from the charities in your campaign.
Sample email #1: Thank you so much for your generous contribution to this year’s campaign. In a world where over 736 million people live on $1.90 a day or less, your donation will go far—helping to provide food and clean water to people in need, sending girls to school and providing critical medical care. We are so grateful for your support.
Sample email #2: Thank you so much for your generous contribution to this year’s campaign. As the world continues to fight against COVID-19, your donation will help charities provide access to hand sanitizer and masks, build handwashing stations in areas where they are lacking and deliver special training and protective gear for staff serving in vulnerable communities. We are so grateful for your support.
We are in this together. Please visit Global Impact’s Virtual Employee Giving Hub for more tips and tools you can use during this year’s unique campaign environment. I would also encourage you to check out this blog post to hear how Global Impact handled our recent workplace giving campaign, Caring@Work.
For further assistance or to establish an employee giving campaign this year, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.