Displaying articles for: January 2013

By Allison McGuire

 

I’m looking for someone who shares my interests in philanthropy, is adaptable, and will ultimately enhance my day-to-day life.

 

Walking sign - briefcases.jpgNo, this isn’t an online dating profile. In fact, the new partnership between LinkedIn and the Taproot Foundation may feel like a matching service (connecting needs to corresponding assets, profile assessment, etc.), because it is! The new TaprootFoundation.org aligns business professionals interested in pursuing philanthropic goals with nonprofits in need of their assets.

 

I was lucky enough to get the scoop on this project through Taproot’s Aaron Hurst and Meg Garlinghouse of LinkedIn.

 

Click here to read the interview.

 

By Kate Olsen

 

Step 4: Frame the Call to Action.

 

Once your company’s disaster team has completed steps 1-3 of effective disaster giving campaigns, it’s time to communicate your call to action to the right audiences. 

 

How you choose to engage different stakeholder groups will depend on the unique ecosystem in which you conduct business, and the communications approach will differ by audience. Your disaster response, however, should look and feel coordinated across audiences, even if the specific calls to action (donate, volunteer, etc.) are different.

 

Home Depot Disaster Relief.jpgNo matter the call to action, your company’s invitation to join the response should be clear, tangible and time-bound. Vague appeals with no emotional connection to the individual reading the message and no concrete deadline for action will do little to drive impact. 

 

Your appeal must spell out any special requirements for participation.  Define matching grant thresholds and eligibility. Declare what portion of proceeds will support which nonprofits. State how much will be donated for each status update on social media.

Be specific and transparent – and willing to address feedback in real time.

 

In the information turmoil following a disaster, it’s important to communicate through channels that are familiar and proven effective. If your employees are conditioned to check the company Intranet for important news, then a posting on the homepage will result in higher employee participation in a giving campaign. If your customers like to follow you on Facebook, then posts about how they can help will spread further and faster on social media than via an email.  If your customers primarily engage with you offline, then supplement online communications with physical announcements in retail stores.

 

When a disaster strikes, your customers and employees are likely confused about how they can help and what action would matter the most to those affected.  Your company is in a unique position to clear up that confusion and focus attention on relevant calls to action and organizations to support.  It’s up to you to communicate that message effectively to customers and employees and facilitate their support.

 

 

Learn all 5 Steps! Download our FREE eGuide: How to Help: 5 Steps to Effective Corporate Disaster Giving Campaigns.

 

 

Image via https://corporate.homedepot.com/CorporateResponsibility/HDFoundation/Pages/DisasterRelief.aspx

Marking Milestones with Joy

by Network for Good Specialist ‎01-30-2013 3:00 AM, EST

By Kate Olsen and Allison McGuire

 

This is adapted from our eGuide, Rewards & Loyalty: 3 Ways to Win the Hearts of Your Consumers & Employees with Cause.

 

When it comes to cause marketing, consumers and employees want it all. They're hungry for a connection to your company’s social responsibility commitment, and they want to feel personally invited to a conversation with your brand. Further, they even want to help you co-create your brand’s identity!

 

A powerful way to fulfill those two desires is to make cause central to your brand promise.  When you insert charity into your consumer and employee engagement approach, you open the door to a rich conversation about what matters – to your company, to your consumers, to your employees, to your community – that can only help you build relationships (not just fans) and enhance loyalty.

 

Here's how you do it:

 

1) Say Thank You.  

2) Incentivize Participation. 

3) Mark a Milestone

While an award or certificate is nice to receive, when the excitement is over, it then sits on a shelf collecting dust. Why not celebrate brand milestones, employee service anniversaries and other events with the long-lasting gift of charity instead?

 

Your giant billboard and website homepage banner build awareness for a big milestone, but they don’t help your consumers and employees relate to or internalize the joy of the occasion. Provide an experience that translates that joy in a way that is meaningful to each individual. This way, you’re helping your consumers and employees mark the occasion by supporting something they care about. The milestone will feel twice as nice.

 

HBO paid it forward with charity gift cards for the premiere of the documentary ‘A Small Act’:

GC_HBO_card.jpg 

 

Ready to say thank you, incentivize participation, or mark a milestone with charity rewards? Contact us today!

By Kate Olsen

 

If you haven’t been paying attention, you might be surprised that your consumers and employees are the forces shaping your corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy – or at least they should be.

 

Let’s explore why and how.

 

Happy hello employee.pngEmployees

As I noted in an earlier post, employees are a company’s primary brand ambassadors and it’s vital for every company to have a strategy to keep its workforce motivated, productive and all about customer satisfaction.  Every company must have an employee engagement plan that fits its unique culture, and reinforces the behaviors and attitudes essential to success. 

 

 

How do you benchmark your employee engagement? Read on...

 

By Kate Olsen

 

If you haven’t been paying attention, you might be surprised that your consumers and employees are the forces shaping your corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy – or at least they should be.

 

Patagonia ad - jacket.jpgLet’s explore why and how.

 

Consumers

In 2011, branding agency BBMG released a report highlighting the new ‘Conscious Consumers’ – the 70 million Americans who make their purchase decisions through lens of social impact.  As BBMG puts it, “Early adopters and “box turners” increasingly concerned with products’ impact on the planet and its people, these savvy shoppers are twice as likely to try new things, share their opinions online and reward (or punish) brands based on corporate practices.” 

 

Read on...

Halo-ed Investing: #FF Feature

by Network for Good Specialist ‎01-25-2013 3:00 AM, EST

By Allison McGuire

 

Natalia Oberti Noguera means business. When the self-identifited feminist with a capital 'f' discovered that only 12% of U.S. angel investors were women (further, only 4% were minorities)*, she took matters into her own hands, setting out to change those numbers.

 

Pipeline Fellowship image.jpgMs. Oberti Noguera created the Pipeline Fellowship, an angel investing bootcamp for female philanthropists. This program aims to increase diversity in the American angel investing community and creates capital for women social entrepreneurs. Through an overlapping three-pronged approach—education, mentoring, practice—Fellows learn about angel investing, receive continual guidance from experienced field professionals, and put their money where their mouths are via investment in a female-led for-profit social enterprise.

 

Read on...

Mo Millennials Mo Problems

by Network for Good Specialist ‎01-24-2013 3:00 AM, EST

By Allison McGuire

 

This is a continuation of a post on the Marketing Macarena.

 

Social Media Microphone.jpgThese days all marketers seem to be talking about Millennials, the purchasing trends around my generation, and how we’re influencing brands’ identities and strategies. While there is much to be said about Gen Y, keep in mind that while the tech-savvy generation’s buying patterns may reward responsible companies and penalize irresponsible ones, we’re not alone. Other generations evaluate companies along similar criteria.

 

Want to drive consumer engagement? Use these tips gleaned from Edelman’s 8095® Millennial study to connect with consumers of all ages:

 

 

Dance! Stand for something! Spread the word!

 

 

 

Image via this fantastic blog post.

By Kate Olsen and Allison McGuire

 

This is adapted from our eGuide, Rewards & Loyalty: 3 Ways to Win the Hearts of Your Consumers & Employees with Cause.

 

When it comes to cause marketing, consumers and employees want it all. They're hungry for a connection to your company’s social responsibility commitment, and they want to feel personally invited to a conversation with your brand. Further, they even want to help you co-create your brand’s identity!

 

A powerful way to fulfill those two desires is to make cause central to your brand promise.  When you insert charity into your consumer and employee engagement approach, you open the door to a rich conversation about what matters – to your company, to your consumers, to your employees, to your community – that can only help you build relationships (not just fans) and enhance loyalty.

 

Here's how you do it:

 

1) Say Thank You.

2) Incentivize Participation. 

 

Trying to get more consumers to try your new product? Looking to get employees to show up for a volunteer project? Instead of offering coupons or springing for embroidered t-shirts that will get limited use post-event, give consumers and employees a pre-paid donation to allocate to a cause close to their hearts. The benefit of 'paying it forward' will motivate them to try something new.

 

Many companies offer ‘dollars for doers’ incentives to drive participation in employee volunteer programs. These rewards allow companies to accrue matching grant funds for their pet causes in exchange for volunteer hours. 

 

While that's meaningful, charity incentives don't just extend to employees. Many market researchers are discovering survey participation increases when rewarding consumers with pre-paid donations. Big consumer brands are also engaging their customers through crowdsourced cause contests. These contests give individuals the opportunity to help allocate company philanthropic dollars to their local communities.

 

Here's how Liquidnet rewards their generous employees:

 

GC - Liquidnet.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How else can you add cause to your rewards portfolio? Download our FREE eGuide to find out!

 

By Allison McGuire & Kate Olsen

 

BCLC  Citizens Awards.jpgMany businesses rely on the Business Civic Leadership Center (BCLC) for resources around corporate social responsibility. A program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, BCLC helps businesses improve the impact of their efforts to positively address societal challenges.

 

Since 2000, BCLC’s 'Citizens' Awards have spotlighted successful and replicable models of positive business impact on people, communities, and the environment. 

 

Check out the full interview here.

 

 

Do the Marketing Macarena

by Network for Good Specialist ‎01-17-2013 3:00 AM, EST

By Allison McGuire

 

Macarena.jpgThese days all marketers seem to be talking about Millennials, the purchasing trends around my generation, and how we’re influencing brands’ identities and strategies. While there is much to be said about Gen Y, keep in mind that while the tech-savvy generation’s buying patterns may reward responsible companies and penalize irresponsible ones, we’re not alone. Other generations evaluate companies along similar criteria.

 

Want to drive consumer engagement? Use these tips gleaned from Edelman’s 8095® Millennial study to connect with consumers of all ages.

 

Dance! While you don’t have to do the Macarena with your customers per se, remember: entertaining brands are commonly Millennials’ favorite (80% of the generation prefer this type of brand engagement). Taco Bell, Old Spice, and Boloco, for example, all have fun and aren’t afraid to share their sense of humor.

 

Keep reading...

Brand Citizenship Rules

by Network for Good Specialist ‎01-16-2013 3:00 AM, EST

be bigger than you_Pinterest.jpg

By Allison McGuire

 

 

“People are telling us that corporate responsibility begins with helping ‘me,’ the individual consumer, before it expands outward into CSR-like initiatives. For it to be meaningful, corporate citizenship should first integrate the values that are important to people in their daily lives. After that is done, a corporation should connect people to something bigger than themselves – their communities, their country, people across the world, and the planet. That’s what we call Brand Citizenship.” - Anne Bahr Thompson, Onesixtyfourth

 

As it turns out, U.S. consumers are more interested in companies that treat their employees well, are truthful in their claims around products and services, and provide reasonably priced goods than ones that rely solely on “big-budget CSR initiatives.”

 

What does this mean for your company? Read more to find out.

By @CaliMcG

 

IBM logo.jpgThis Thursday, join us on Twitter for our monthly #C4Gchat, where we explore companies doing good. Our first TweetChat of the year is, naturally, around companies' 2013 resolutions. We’re excited to have IBM and CDC Development Solutions as our featured guests. We’ll talk about international corporate volunteerism – why it’s a key part of IBM’s CSR portfolio, how the partnership with CDC Development Solutions works, and where the program will grow in 2013.

 

Please join us by following #C4Gchat at 1 pm ET on Thursday, January 17.

 


Read more...

10 Hot Consumer Trends to Watch in 2013

by Network for Good Specialist on ‎01-14-2013 3:00 AM, EST

The following is a guest post from Network for Good's CSO & COO, Katya Andresen.  You can read the original post via Katya's Nonprofit Marketing Blog.

 

 

Trendwatching is out with its 10 hot consumer trends to watch in 2013, and they are worth sharing.  I’ve listed each trend along how I think it relates to companies.  But don’t forget the basics as you consider these shiny new developments!

 

1. Presumers and Custowners:  Consumers are interested in participating in the funding, launch and growth of (new) products and brands that they love.  So try testing crowdfunding, friends to friends fundraising and a spirit of partnership with your customers in the new year.

 

2. Emerging Squared:  We’re seeing a reversal of the old trends of developed markets catering to emerging ones, and emerging markets increasingly provide products and services to developed markets.  How is this international trend affecting your work?  Is there an opportunity to weave this economic force into your programs overseas to speed up the pace of change?

 

texting.jpg3. Mobile Moments:  Consumers will be doing everything on their mobile devices.  2013 is the year you must make it easy for them to engage with you on their smartphones.

 

4. New Life Inside: Eco-products will go from being something you can recycle to something that you can plant.  Apparently it’s the year to put seeds in everything from chopsticks to pencil stubs.  And even Molson Canada beer coasters are made of seed paper.  They grow into a tree when you plant them.  I smell corporate cause marketing partnerships for green organizations!  But move fast, I expect this is a trend that will come and go quickly.

 

5. App-scriptions: Doctors and hospitals will certify and curate health apps as part of care.  Why not you, too?  If you work in the health world (pharmaceuticals or otherwise), maybe there should be an app for what you do - certified by professionals.

 

6. Celebration Nation: Emerging market products will celebrate and spotlight national and cultural heritage.  How can you partner with nonprofits to highlight the international cultures you champion?

 

7. Data My-ning:  Says Trendwatching, “To date, the ‘big data’ discussion has focused on the value of customer data to businesses. In 2013 expect savvy shoppers to start reversing the flow, as consumers seek to own and make the most of their lifestyle data, and turn to brands that use this data to proactively offer customers help and advice on how to improve their behavior and/ or save money.”  I think there is an opening for companies to use this to promote behavioral changes - and giving.

 

8. Again Made Here: Trendwatching predicts more local manufacturing in established markets like the US, driven by niche marketers, the green movement and on-demand ordering.  New local partners and cause marketing possibilities, perhaps?

 

9. Full Frontal: Brands can’t just be transparent, they have to aggressive about it.  As they are increasingly held accountable, there is a real opening for do-gooders to pressure companies to be responsible corporate citizens and ethical cause marketers.

 

10. Demanding Brands:  Brands will also turn the tables and encourage consumers to step up and do good.  Another great opportunity for partnerships in 2013!

 

 

Image credit: http://pinterest.com/pin/75013150015004607/

Western Union's CSR: #FF Feature

by Network for Good Specialist ‎01-11-2013 3:00 AM, EST

By Kate Olsen & Allison McGuire

 

You probably know Western Union for their money-transferring platform. You may not know that the company has a diverse CSR portfolio, an engaged workforce, and a hand in community advancement. We had a chance to talk with Talya Bosch, Vice President of Social Ventures, about the company's mission, its relationship with the Western Union Foundation, and the secret sauce to its cause campaigns.

 

 

Q1: Western Union has created a portfolio of social impact programs with the goal of expanding economic opportunity, an issue well-aligned with your core business capabilities.  How do you maintain that focus?  What criteria do you use to screen potential initiatives or cause partnerships?

 

We are fortunate to have a focused and inspiring leadership team that believes that Western Union is a purpose-driven brand. We believe that access to financial services is a right for all, not a luxury for the few. In the Social Ventures team, we are charged with using our business assets for business and social impact. Our shared value efforts need to align with the company’s core business goals of delivering a financial return on investment, while at the same time offering a meaningful benefit to society – with a focus on under-served audiences. When it comes to cause marketing, we have made a strategic decision to support education via Education for Better, a three-year commitment to the education cause.

 

Q2: What advice would you give other companies trying to focus their cause programs to align with core business capabilities?

 

It can be very helpful to start with the end in mind. Try to get clarity and agreement on what you most want to accomplish. Some people use terms like cause-related promotions, corporate responsibility and shared value interchangeably. For them, as long as it’s “doing good,” the terms don’t matter. I think that does a disservice to the field. After all, the finance team would never say that it doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about sales or profit since it all has to do with money. [emphasis mine] Similarly, it’s helpful to be clear about which business goals you want to advance, since different social tools are best suited to accomplishing very different aims. Then again, there also is a place for traditional philanthropy, which primarily focuses on social outcomes without any direct business return at all.

 

Western Union FF Feature.jpg 

 

Q3: How does Western Union involve customers in social impact programs?

 

We involve consumers in a variety of ways. At the most basic level, we communicate clearly and transparently about what we are doing in the Social Ventures space. Together with the Western Union Foundation, Western Union also has engaged in consumer fundraising programs, which have been particularly popular in times of disaster. Our system has tremendous potential to get funds to individuals as well as nonprofit, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) when and where they are needed most. The company also sometimes runs cause-related marketing promotions in which money transfers or similar consumer action triggers a donation to a charitable organization. For example, in 2012, we have helped fund scholarships, books and school meals, which have been shown to keep students off the streets and in school.

 

Q4: How does Western Union involve employees in social impact programs?  What is the employee engagement culture like in terms of volunteerism, giving back and/or personal sustainability?

 

Employee engagement is a big part of Western Union’s culture. A benchmark 57% of Western Union employees give to the Western Union Foundation – unrestricted and out of their own pockets, since they believe in the work of the foundation and want to be a part of it. We also have a growing volunteerism program, including an executive-in-residence opportunity for rising stars within the company who give several weeks of their time to work on-site with social entrepreneurs through Ashoka. I think the spirit of community engagement runs very deep for us because people here have chosen to work for a company that is extremely customer-centric – and, those customers often are at the bottom to the middle of the economic pyramid, people whose financial needs just aren’t well met by other firms. So, just by coming to work every day, Western Union employees are part of something bigger.

 

Q5: What is an example of a hallmark social impact program or cause partnership?  What have you learned from the program or partnership?

 

I love the African Diaspora Marketplace. It is a business plan competition that engages diaspora community members in using market-based approaches to solving challenges and creating jobs in their home countries. We have run the program twice, each time receiving far more applications than we anticipated and bringing the finalists to a 'business fair' in Washington DC to network and receive mentoring and technical assistance in support of their business idea. The winners are amazing. One launched a passenger ferry on Lake Victoria – the first one operating there in years – which dramatically cut travel times in the region. The Earthwise Ferry runs on locally-sourced bio-fuels and even takes paperless e-tickets. That’s just one example of the great innovation that comes from bringing unexpected partners together to advance community-driven change. The program is a partnership between Western Union, the Western Union Foundation, Western Union Agents, and USAID. Other examples are available here.

 

 

Image via http://foundation.westernunion.com/who_we_help.html

By Allison McGuire

 

All companies want their employees to be engaged. (Well, maybe that’s not as universal of a statement as I’d thought!) However, not all companies know how to engage staff on a consistent basis.

 

Whether you like it or not, your company’s employees are your front-of-the-line brand ambassadors. Think about it. Whether via social media or in-person interactions, your employees are fielding questions about your brand. Do you want them to be spreading good news about your company? Of course you do!

 

If you’re looking for a refresh—or have resolved to start 2013 with an employee engagement program—to your HR policies this year, look no further. Here are a few ideas worth considering:

 

  • Fun work.jpgRich rewards: One of the main contributors to an engaged workforce is incentives. Incentives aren’t all about money. In fact, many employees would take a paycut to do work that is meaningful. Think about incorporating charity rewards as incentives for employees that are continually doing Grade-A work or perhaps to those referring solid candidates to join the company.
  • Get outta here! Let your employees get involved in their favorite causes by granting them volunteer days. At Network for Good, we’re given these days to connect with charities in which we believe. Added bonus? A renewed sense of purpose.
  • Have some fun: Is your office environment as monochromatic as your cube’s color scheme? Do people take a punch-in, punch-out approach to their work? Are bursts of laughter uncommon? Take a page out of Hitachi’s playbook and host a donation challenge. Whether you encourage employees to donate cash or products, the sense of doing good has a ripple effect of the best kind—smiles are contagious.
  • Disaster strikes, you respond. There are myriad ways your company can help those affected by disaster. In-kind donations and grants to on-the-ground nonprofits are common responses. Don’t forget to involve your employees; set up a giving portal for your staff. For example, in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, Adobe employees donated nearly $60K to help those in need.  

 

 

Need help setting up your employee rewards program? Contact us for more details.

 

 

 

Image via http://pinterest.com/pin/165929567490574200/

Employee Engagement Is Not A Fad

by Network for Good Specialist ‎01-08-2013 3:00 AM, EST

By Kate Olsen

 

In a recent Inc. article, columnist Steve Tobak asserts that employee engagement is not really important because employees should be last in the line of priorities (behind external customers, your boss, and other internal stakeholders) for any organization concerned with revenue and shareholder return.  I don’t argue with Tobak’s assessment of priorities – yes, the customer is #1 – but I find fault with his premise that just because employees are last in line, employee engagement doesn’t matter.

 

happy_employee.pngEmployee engagement is a means to an end, not the end in and of itself.  If more customers, higher revenue and bigger returns are the goals, employee engagement is a big part of the strategy to meet those goals.  How do you find, keep, and motivate employees to anticipate customer needs and go above and beyond for customers and colleagues alike?  Employees are any company’s primary brand ambassadors to external and internal stakeholders.  Zappos and Southwest Airlines continue to delight loyal customers because they have invested in an employee culture that empowers, rewards, and educates employees - and makes it fun for them to go to work.  The return on that investment cannot be understated.

 

Employee engagement has different connotations for each company, and the strategies used to cultivate one workforce may not work in another context.  That said, every company must have a plan that fits its unique culture, and reinforces the behaviors and attitudes essential to success.  For some companies, that equates to having a robust social impact agenda that allows people to feel that their work life has meaning in the community.  For other companies it’s all team building or being empowered to reward peers with spot bonuses.  For most companies it’s a portfolio of initiatives that speaks to a diverse workforce.

 

Employee engagement is not a fad.  It’s not something you need to pay lip service to appease millennials.  On the contrary, it’s shorthand for the set of unique strategies your company employs to build the most productive, most empowered, most fulfilled workforce possible to keep those customers satisfied.  

 

 

 

 

 

Need a way to keep your employees engaged? Why not try charity rewards?

 

Image via http://onlinesurvey.surveyshack.com/Portals/16480/images/happy_employee.png 

Rules of Cause Marketing Engagement

by Network for Good Specialist on ‎01-07-2013 3:00 AM, EST

It seems everyone is talking about how cause marketing has come of age and may be soon over the hill.  Colleagues keep asking whether consumers are tired of all the cause talk and if we have reached a saturation of giving, voting, and sharing for charity.  To me, the answer is no, but…

 

Because cause marketing has come of age, it’s no longer the new flashy marketing tactic that will grab attention because it’s different.  Now the onus is on marketers to execute cause programs flawlessly in ways that are relevant to their target consumer audiences.

 

How do marketers achieve flawless execution?  Keep these 5 rules of engagement top of mind:

 

  1. Remember the essentials – suitability, authenticity, transparency and selling point ensure your campaign has meaning
  2. Be human – have real interactions (across digital, mobile, offline, in store etc…) with your customers and fans; relationships drive loyalty
  3. Get personal – find out what matters to your audience; invite them to co-create your cause platform and they’ll be more invested to give, share and recruit
  4. Set ‘solvable’ goals – beyond just supporting causes, become their partner in solving problems (you and your audience have more to give than just $$)
  5. Tell the story – collectively with your audience and cause partners, generate consistent, bite-size and sharable content that shows the results of the campaign and thanks your collaborators

 

Image Credit: CafePress.com

By Kate Olsen

 

As 2013 begins, I am eager to join social media conversations about cause marketing, employee engagement, digital branding and social impact.  Below is a sampling of the conversation curators I’ll be following.  Who would you add to the list?  We at Companies for Good would love to know!

 

The Trend Spotters

  • Katya Andresen, COO/CSO of Network for Good @katyaN4G
  • David Armano – Managing Director at Edelman Digital @armano
  • Raphael Bemporad, Co-Founder of BBMG @rbemporad
  • Patrick Hanlon, CEO of THINKTOPIA® @hanlonpatrick
  • Anneliza Humlen, Co-Founder/President of the Emotional Branding Alliance‏ @ADHumlen

 

The Conveners

 

The Walkers of the Talk

  • Tod Arbogast, Vice President, Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility at Avon @Tod_Arbogast   
  • Ann Cramer, Director of Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs at IBM @annwcramer
  • Meg Garlinghouse, Head of Social Impact at LinkedIn @megarling
  • Beth Shiroishi, VP for Sustainability & Philanthropy at AT&T @bethshiroishi
  • Dave Stangis, VP Public Affairs/Corporate Responsibility at Campbell Soup Company @DaveStangis


 

Image Credit: Cone Communications

3 Predictions: Employee Engagement in 2013

by Network for Good Specialist on ‎01-03-2013 4:00 AM, EST - last edited on ‎01-03-2013 9:29 AM, EST by Community Manager

By Kate Olsen

 

Employment branding via social impact is here to stay.  More and more, companies are realizing the power of community investment and cause programs to enhance employee loyalty and attract quality new hires.  Here are 3 trends shaping employee engagement programs in 2013:

 

Charity Rewards

Showing your employees your company cares about social impact is just the first step.  The bigger benefit for your employment brand is showing your employees you care about what they care about.  It’s all about enabling the ‘Helper’s High’ – a verified chemical reaction in the brain causing a feeling of euphoria after doing good.  When your company enables that feeling in your employees, they associate their passion for a cause or doing good with your company. 

 

(Charity rewards include pre-paid donations in the form of charity gift cards, ‘dollars for doers’ volunteer incentives and matching grants to charities selected by employees.) 

 

Example:

Liquidnet DoubleDown matches the personal contributions by employees of money, volunteer time and fundraising efforts to worthy causes.

 

Social Ambassadors

It’s easy to recruit employees who are already active in the community to join your company’s cause programs.  But how do you get the next wave of employees to sign up?  And the next?  That’s when social proof and storytelling come in to play.   The best ambassadors for your cause portfolio are the employees actively engaged in your programs.  Equip those employees to tell their personal story about why they care, how they help and what it means to be able to do it alongside other employees.  When others hear the passion and see the powerful impact results, they will be clamoring to be a part of your company’s do-gooding efforts.

 

Example:

CSR@Intel blog features a wide variety of Intel employees writing about their experience of corporate responsibility

 

Micro Actions

When it comes to social actions, bigger isn’t always better.  While small actions for good are often brushed aside as ‘slacktivist’ slough, there is much to admire about micro do-gooding.   Research from the Georgetown University Center for Social Impact Communication and Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide proves that people who engage in micro actions for good are more likely to invest their time and efforts in social impact projects.  Micro social actions can be 1) gateway opportunities to engage employees in cause without overwhelming them by a big upfront commitment or 2) activities to complement other offline community commitments or habitual charitable giving. 

 

Example:

AT&T's Do One Thing (DOT) program encourages employees to pick one change they can make that will have a positive impact on themselves, their community and/or the company.  DOT is a perfect complement to the company’s consumer facing micro action campaign on Causes.com – Connect for Good – which encourages consumers to take pledges, watch videos and perform other discreet actions to unlock donations to causes important to AT&T.

By Kate Olsen

 

In 2013, I see 3 distinct trends emerging in cause marketing that reinforce deeper partnerships among brands, charities, and consumers to create lasting value for all partners. 

 

Marquee Programs

One-off cause marketing programs have their place, but companies are realizing the benefits of investing in a cause marketing platform that evolves year after year.  These marquee programs not only generate more lasting social impact though deeper partnerships with charity partners, but can also create more brand equity through thoughtful and authentic integrated marketing communications. 

 

Example:

The Warner Bros. & DC Entertainment ‘We Can Be Heroes’ campaign (benefitting International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps and Save the Children) is entering its second year and is integrated across digital, mobile, retail, event and other marketing channels.

 

Peer Pressure for Good

When it comes to participating in digital cause marketing campaigns, social proof is a vital component to spark action.  Consumers are more likely to join a campaignif they see others have already endorsed the program via their participation and social sharing.  How do you get all those consumers to join in?  You have to 1) make the campaign personally relevant, 2) show your company’s authentic connection to the cause, and 3) ensure it is extremely easy to act and then share that action.

 

Example:

The AT&T ‘Connect for Good’ campaign on Causes.com makes it clear many people are taking action and provides easy ways for participants to spread the word.

 

Loyalty Link

Cause is more than an add-on marketing approach and has become an integral driver of consumer loyalty.  Companies are finding that including a cause element within loyalty and rewards initiatives, both digital and traditional, can amp up the stickiness factor of their brand.

 

Example:

The Coca-Cola Arctic Home project (benefiting the World Wildlife Fund) is linked to My Coke Rewards so consumers can earn rewards points by participating in the campaign or donate rewards points to the cause.


   

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About This Blog


Companies for Good shares insights on cause marketing and corporate social responsibility topics to inform your charitable engagement with consumers and employees. Network for Good empowers corporate partners to unleash generosity and advance good causes. The blog celebrates that work and provides expertise and resources to help you do well and do good. Learn more

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