Employee Giving: Using a Billionaire's Framework
For reality tv buffs you may know about the 3P's unpacked weekly by billionaire investor and serial entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis as he helps save falling businesses on his hit CNBC show The Profit. Each week he uses his focus on the 3P’s (People, Product & Process) to identify the aspect(s) of the businesses that are either helping or holding them back from growth and profit.
What I love about this show is how he teaches core, underlying business principles that can be applied to nearly any venture. As you watch how just 1 or 2 of these P's going wrong can tank their entire business. In the same way, we use a variation on this model to assess employee giving campaigns. Like businesses, campaigns can rise and fall based on our own 3P’s: People, Projects and Process. Let me unpack these:
Without a doubt, the people you have involved in your campaign will either lead you to success or sink it before you even pass out the first pledge card. As you analyze the people aspect of your campaign - consider these questions:
Do you have the right people serving your campaign in volunteer and leadership capacities?
Are they... Philanthropic? …Passionate and want to make a difference? …Willing to share their own story? …Willing to Serve Others? …Have good Energy/Enthusiasm? …Have the Respect of their Peers?
Does your volunteer footprint match the size/scope of your organization? Do you have enough volunteers to effectively reach every department across your organization? (Pro Tip: Not having enough engaged volunteers is the number one problem we find in employee giving campaigns that aren’t reaching their full potential. There is serious power in mobilizing the village of engaged volunteers!)
Do you have the right training, coaching and mobilization strategies in place to leverage this bench of volunteers before, during and after the campaign?
While Marcus focuses on the "Product" in his second P, we adapt this to focus on the philanthropic project (or even more importantly) the potential impact your donor can make with their gift. As you assess how your campaign ranks here, consider the following questions:
Does your fundraising project provide for tangible impacts/outcomes that can be shared following the campaign?
Does your project have philanthropic appeal?
Ask the right questions when selecting a project: why is this crucial? How does it help people? How many people will be impacted? In what way will they be impacted/changed? Are people excited about this project - and why? Is the need urgent?
Can you activate/spend the dollars to fund the project within a fast enough timeframe to show the impact of this project before the next campaign rolls around?
Imagine an hourglass tips the second your campaign is over - this is your motivation to get the monies moving and spent appropriately so you have something to show for it before you ask again.
Is your campaign positioned to scale while ensuring your donor experience doesn't falter as it does? The processes behind a best-in-class campaign can either be the glue that holds it all together or the stumbling block that make it all crumble. There are many internal processes you want to refine, here's the most important:
Gift Processing - developing the method and processes to accept recurring payroll giving, paid-time off (yes, go fight for this!), cash, checks, gifts-in-kind, etc. You don’t want to mess this one up!
Online/Offline Giving options - making giving available and accessible (especially for larger or fragmented organizations) means fighting to make giving as easy as possible for everyone.
Data - ensuring your employee data is clean, accurate and donor records are kept accurately. (Pro Tip: when your donors are employees, it’s easy to setup systems to ensure you have their most up-to-date contact info by syncing efforts with Human Resources.)
Stewardship - assess what aspects of your stewardship plan can be operationalized to ensure the actions happen at the most opportune and meaningful times for your donors. (ie. what triggers happen immediately after giving, at the close of the campaign, in six months and next year, etc.)
So how does your campaign rank when looking at your 3P’s? We’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below as you assess your own campaign efforts!