Get started with annual program planning

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Proven ideas to set yourself — and your people — up for long-term success with your CSR program 

Whew! With an eventful year in the rearview mirror, it’s time to shift gears and start planning for the next one.

Start laying the groundwork now — whether it be for a new calendar or fiscal year —and you will have a better chance of meeting all of your CSR goals. And, you will make the year ahead a whole lot less stressful. The good news is there are some tried-and-true ways to set yourself up for success while helping your people do good and drive more impact in their communities and across the world. 

Here are four ideas you can implement now to build a strong purpose-driven program all year round. 

Plan out your campaign year

When you take a proactive, 12-month approach to your campaign planning, you’ll be able to ensure there are plenty of opportunities for your people to engage all year and at times that matter to them. Plus, there will be no big gaps in your programming, which means more program participation predictability and greater efficiency. And you’ll probably pick up steam as more people start to engage. To show how this works, we’ll borrow a rule from marketing: The Rule of 7 says it takes an average of seven interactions with a brand before action is taken. For your program, this means the more times you expose your people to campaigns and opportunities, the more likely they’ll be to dive in and take part. 

Focus on folks who are already engaged

This might sound counterintuitive for reaching your participation goals, but in this case, CSR programs can borrow a tactic from business. There’s truth in the adage that the cost to retain a customer is much less than the cost to acquire a new one. You can apply this to your program by exploring ways to make sure those who participated last year are primed to engage again. Once you focus on this cohort of employees, you’ll find more opportunities to lock in participation gains by engaging even more people as the year progresses! You’ll be driving efficiency and ensuring your momentum from last year isn’t lost. 

  • For those already-engaged employees, you might want to consider introducing the Benevity app so they can continue participating whenever from wherever they are! 
  • Peer matching also offers employees another way to support the nonprofits they care about, and support their peers.
  • The recently launched Benevity Community is a great place to go for inspiration on keeping your most engaged people active or you can check out the lock.svg Big Book of Goodness for 25+ ideas to engage your people to do good.
  • You can also check out the lock.svg Spark Reporting Training to learn about measuring program success, Spark reports and stock reports and how you can use this data to increase participation.

Encourage higher donation frequency with microdonations

For some, giving a little every month seems more manageable than a big sum at a certain time of year — and your people might be even more cautious with their funds right now. You can encourage employees to set aside funds in their My Funds Giving Account to use through the year, or they could set up a recurring monthly credit card donation equivalent to just 1% of their salary (or time) annually to make a huge difference! Here are a few reasons this works:

  • It’s a more digestible message during times of economic uncertainty. Frequent microdonations can lead to huge impact when they’re added up. 
  • Employees will feel empowered. Your people will likely feel good about planning ahead to support the nonprofits they care about. Plus, setting up recurring donations makes it easy to “set it and forget it.” 
  • You’ll build predictability. Encouraging your employees to set up recurring microdonations should lead to more predictable (and manageable!) participation — and impact.

You can also encourage microdonations through Payroll which makes it easier for your people to give while avoiding merchant fees on other payment methods.

Companies that offer payroll giving as a payment method (in addition to credit card and PayPal) see four times the participation rate than programs that don’t.

  • Learn everything you need to know about how user Giving Accounts work and how employees can use My Funds to save for future giving in the lock.svg Getting Started with Giving Accounts training.

Provide multiple ways to participate, with the help of your local ambassadors and ERGs.

You’ll see gains in participation and engagement when you enable your people to take part in ways that resonate with them. By providing various ways they can participate — like giving, volunteering (virtually or in person) or taking action with Missions — you’re making your program more relevant and accessible. If you leverage the passion and expertise of local program ambassadors or employee resource groups, you can see your impact grow without a ton more work for your individual program administrators. 

  • Learn more about how to build a business case for your program’s ambassador network, and access tips and templates to take your network to the next level in our updated Ambassador Guide.

Ready to get planning now so you can grow your impact this year? Reach out to your Benevity Client Success Manager to start your program planning discussions.

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