At the May 2022 Boost Matching conference, we heard research findings, behavioral science techniques, case studies and had multiple discussions on the challenges and barriers that are holding us back from increased participation in workplace giving programs.
My proposed path forward leans heavily on the behavioral science research that was shared during the Boost Matching conference. Realized Worth Institute’s Chris Jarvis shared that for companies to move employees to action, they need to create a “primed” environment so that when the “ask” to give is made, employees will be quicker to act. So, what exactly is a primed environment?
The way I see it, it is an effective marketing campaign, where education and awareness of the program are at their peak. Employees are reached through a wide range of mediums- intranet, email, physical signage, social networks, meetings, etc. They have seen a variety of different messages that leave them knowing giving is important to leadership and it is something everyone within the company is a part of. They may have already started to think about their own giving, organizations and causes they support and begun to weigh the benefits of participation. Information on program benefits, incentives and how to make a gift are readily available.
The key piece is that you HAVE NOT made the actual ask for the employee to give YET. ONCE an employee has been exposed many times to the campaign, there is a strategically timed “ask.” This will make your ask more successful, harder to ignore, and more likely to get a quick response.
How do companies create a primed environment?
At Boost Matching, a lot of great examples of how this primed environment is created were shared, including use of time-bound campaigns around giving and unique incentives like double or triple matches at strategic dates and a variety of different messaging styles to drive behavior. Some others to add to the mix include effective storytelling, events and use of ERG/BRG groups (employee/business resources groups).
One of the biggest untapped resources for creating a primed environment is the use of the nonprofits your employees would consider supporting. At the end of the day, giving is about making an impact and there is no one better to tell that story and communicate what an employee’s gift can do than the nonprofit themselves. When you encourage employees to release their contact information, you have a built-in vehicle to cultivate future giving and participation in your engagement program. By giving nonprofits insight into your campaign- things like dates, matching information, key themes or messages- you are creating another outlet to build a highly primed environment through the nonprofits themselves. Using digital and email marketing, the nonprofits can contribute to create YOUR primed environment.
Check these boxes and you are on the way to a building a successful campaign:
- Set a date
- Create a theme, establish key messages, determine incentives
- Maximize your communication channels
- Engage your nonprofit partners to boost your message
- Strategically time your “ask”
How can nonprofits contribute to primed environment?
For the nonprofits that participated at Boost Matching, many see growth and increasing potential in their employee giving revenue. However, it can be challenging to identify the right strategies to increase and cultivate donors without the knowledge or insights on the employee giving programs themselves. What I see happen all the time is that we let these challenges and lack of knowledge hinder us from trying things out.
That wasn’t the case for Sarah Thompson at Save the Children! Sarah was willing to test some new strategies despite these challenges. She shared some of the results at Boost Matching, piloting advertising and digital marketing strategies specifically targeted to a workplace donor and yielded strong results in year one, including 11% growth.
As more employees work in hybrid work environments, there is a great opportunity to reach donors directly via digital marketing, building that primed environment for the potential workplace donors. Whether it is using specific audience targeting via social media or other forms of digital advertising like mobile geofencing, industry/professional network outlets or geographically specific publications, you can reach your potential donors more directly than ever.
One of the keys is to adapt your message. The ask to give must highlight giving in the workplace, the opportunity for matching funds and it is essential for the employee to see themselves and their workplace in your ad. Nonprofits should do the following to help set a primed giving environment for the employee audience:
- Set a budget
- Determine specific employee giving programs you want to target
- Identify vehicles (social media, other outlets)
- Create unique and creative messaging targeting that workplace