Is Your Employee Giving Campaign Built to Scale Big? If not, start here.


Automations to Rock Your Employee Giving

Over the last few posts, I’ve broken down the core elements that comprise the 3P’s of a successful employee giving campaign - The People, Projects and Processes. See how these big three all fit together here: The Billionaire’s Framework to Employee Giving. This week we're diving in head first into the Processes that will help you build a campaign framework that will help you scale - you in? 

Processes are’t the most glamorous aspect of an employee giving campaign - but what they offer you is the ability to create consistent donor experiences and the scalability required to grow. Since you should always be playing the long game (after all, this is the relationship biz!) finding ways to automate, systemize and ensure scalability aren’t just buzzy buzzwords - they are survival tactics for the long haul.

Let me preface. Anytime i use the word automate... I’ve got to put out a disclaimer. Just because the goal is automation - it doesn’t give you a license to revert into becoming a robot. Automation should be the goal… it just shouldn’t feel automatic to the donor. With everything - the tone and voice in your communication will endear and advance the relationship with your donor so why would you want to be anything but personal?

Here’s a glimpse at 3 high impact automations and processes that make a marked difference for our organization as we’ve scaled our employee giving campaign 10x over the last few years.

1. Automate Functions of Gift Processing

Clean and accurate data is the cornerstone of your ability to scale your campaign, so spend the time to get this function right and you’ll thank yourself for years to come.

Here’s some keys to keep in mind:

  1. Don't reinvent the Employee ID. Adopt employee IDs as the donor IDs for employees in your database. (Or at least capture employee IDs in a custom field on the donor record so that you can query upon it.) Doing this step alone will help ensure you don’t end up with duplicate donor records and give you the huge advantage to easily update employee donor bio info based on HR’s ever changing contact information, employment status, etc. We’ve found that by using employee IDs as the primary ID, we can also easily segment out employee donors from general donors since the numbering is so different between the two standards.

  2. HR should become your best friend. Get very tight on the processes needed to interface and reconcile with HR around collecting and accounting for payroll deducted gifts, gifts of paid time off and one-time gift deductions. Pre-season work would include defining a timeline, a process, identifying points of contact and reporting standards.

  3. Build dynamic reports to keep the campaign pulse. Setup the framework in your donor database to make sure you can easily track the incoming donations, create quick live reports on the production, funds raised by area, performance by entity, etc. These reports will give you as campaign director the insights and reporting intelligence required to focus your efforts and mobilize your volunteer base.

2. Leverage Online Giving

While I’m not naive enough to think healthcare is ready to for 100% online employee giving campaigns, there is power in having an intuitive, simple to use online giving platform as the backbone of your efforts. It’s an investment we made from year one - a custom online giving portal connected to our donor database. Doing so gives us so many advantages for controlling the message and making sure the donor experience is personalized. When your giving portal is connected to your database you have the ability in future campaign’s to greet your donors upon login and present them customized giving options (even personally asking them for an upgrade!) because you know who they are - what and how much they gave to last year. It’s automation meeting a meaningful donor experience. 

The importance of including an easy offline way to participate in the campaign proves itself to be true for us year after year. With the variety of employees and job types within a healthcare system - you have to be nimble and meet people where they are at. And, if you follow our philosophy for building a campaign with a robust ground game - having a paper pledge form option makes sense and allows us to break down one more barrier to growing engagement. By having paper forms, you'll need a solid process for making sure these are collected centrally and entered quickly so that the magic of #3 (below) can happen.

3. Behold the Power of the Automatic E-Receipt

All gifts made via the online giving portal and those processed manually should create an immediate e-mail acknowledgement to your donor through the beauty of automation. This is 21st century donor relations 101, right? But don’t just stop at the acknowledgment being a regurgitation of their gifting decision - maximize this communication to further connect with your employee donors.

Pro Tips:

1) Make it personal. If the the subject line of your e-receipt says anything remotely like “online form confirmation #45597a907” you are playing the robot card very strongly. Instead speak directly your donor (they are a person!) so keep it personal. “Thanks Jon for your gift to X.” Right away the tone sets your campaign apart and supports the ethos of humanizing your campaign.

2) Tell them what happens next. Does your e-receipt let your donors know what to expect from you next? Payroll giving by nature is a little confusing - so this communication is a good place to explain when their deduction will start and stop or when their paid time off will be deducted. Bonus points for you if you share a timeline of when they’ll hear back from you on their impact. 

3) Ask your new donor to share their own story. We’ve found most of our donors give to an area of care because of a personal connection to the cause - with many choosing to make gifts in honor or memory of someone special. Don’t you want to know these stories? Simply add a button within your e-receipt “Share your story” that hyperlinks to a form where you can capture their story in a paragraph of text. Super simple to setup and the benefits are huge. This button alone has literally led to our team identifying probably 75% of all of the future employee giving stories we turn into articles, videos or recruit as ambassadors. It’s incredible how many donors will self identify and be vulnerable enough to share the why behind their gift by simply asking in their e-receipt. So add this button today - and start collecting the good stuff! 

Processes can make or break your campaign - so let’s use them to make it more meaningful for our donors! The examples I’ve shared above are just a few of those that have set our campaign on a course for scalability and success. I’d love to hear the processes that work well for you at your organization. How do you scale and automate your efforts? 


Jonathan McCoy, CFRE is Director of Annual Giving at INTEGRIS Foundation and Founder and Chief Visionary of We are for Good. {Read more] [Email Jon]