Setting Up Your CSR Platform in Time for Giving Season

DTD Giving Season

Picture this: it’s the holiday giving season. The end of the year is quickly approaching. Businesses aim to make a positive impact, and employees are eager to strengthen their support for the causes they care about.

And did you know that an estimated 30% of total charitable contributions occur in December each year?

In other words, it’s the perfect time to expand your company’s workplace giving efforts! Yet it’s essential that you have the right tools to power and streamline your programs. Luckily, a CSR platform can revolutionize the experience.

This guide will explore key phases in preparing your corporate philanthropy tool ahead of the giving season⁠⁠ for maximum results. These include the following:

  1. Make your CSR technology purchase.
  2. Begin tackling the onboarding process.
  3. Establish your company’s employee-facing program criteria.
  4. Outline the process for nonprofit beneficiaries to receive funds.
  5. Launch your giving season CSR initiatives.

Let’s get started! Read on to examine actionable steps your team can take to dive in today.

How to Set Up a Giving Tuesday Giving Madness Bracket:

1. Make your CSR technology purchase.

A CSR platform (also known as a corporate giving vendor, social impact platform, workplace giving tool, or corporate matching gift solution) is a type of software designed to aid participating companies in facilitating and automating various corporate giving initiatives. And this type of tech is being increasingly adopted by businesses of all shapes and sizes.

In order to be up and running with your company’s new CSR platform by the start of the giving season this year, it’s essential to first research, select, and purchase the software of your choosing as soon as possible. After all, the quicker you designate your technology pick, the quicker you can implement the tool in your overall engagement and philanthropic efforts.

As you navigate the software buying process, keep in mind…

  • The types of giving programs you plan to establish (e.g., matching gifts, volunteer grants);
  • Key functionality to consider;
  • Available budget and constraints;
  • Other needs and objectives to prioritize.

Once you’ve shortlisted your top contenders, make your final choice by requesting proposals, participating in software demonstrations, and considering reviews and testimonials.

2. Begin tackling the onboarding process.

The end of the calendar year is one of the top recommendations for “best times to launch a charitable giving campaign.” Yet, if you’re not fully set up with your newly purchased CSR solution, it’s time to get started today.

As you begin the onboarding process, establishing a clear timeline with your software vendor is essential. This will allow you to stay on track and ensure the platform is ready for employee use at the start of the giving season. We recommend assembling a dedicated team to facilitate a holistic onboarding experience⁠—including members from various departments such as marketing, philanthropy, and HR.

Keep in mind that the resources available during onboarding can vary by provider, too. For example, Millie’s giving platform offers a robust support team equipped with an online Knowledge Base and community discussion forum, in addition to phone, chat, and email help desk assistance. Plus, the company offers live and on-demand videos, webinars, and other online training resources to get your whole team up to speed.

3. Establish your company’s employee-facing program criteria.

If you’re launching a new employee giving initiative at your company, determining the eligibility criteria for involvement is an essential prerequisite. And the first step is to finalize the types of programs you plan to offer this giving season (remember: you can always add more at a later date!).

From there, you’ll need to determine specific criteria for each program. For example, a matching gift policy might include elements like these:

  • Minimum and maximum donation amounts
  • Match ratios
  • Qualifying employees (full-time, part-time, retired)
  • Qualifying nonprofit missions (i.e., all nonprofits; excluding certain verticals, etc.)
  • Program window and submission deadlines (Will your program run year-round or be limited to the holiday giving season? By what date must requests be submitted to qualify for company matching?)

Meanwhile, a volunteer grant program might encompass guidelines such as:

  • Required volunteer hour thresholds
  • Grant payment per hour volunteered
  • Qualifying employees (full-time, part-time, retired)
  • Qualifying nonprofit missions (i.e., all nonprofits; excluding certain verticals, etc.)
  • Stipulations for team versus individual grants
  • Submission deadlines

Once established, be sure to configure the criteria in your CSR platform. This allows you to simplify engagement for your staff, ensuring employees can easily locate accurate and up-to-date program information. Not to mention, ensure requests are able to be automatically screened and approved⁠ by your online solution—significantly reducing the administrative workload for your team.

You should also be sure that your guidelines are easily accessible by adding your company to Double the Donation’s comprehensive database. This compilation of matching gift, volunteer grant, and other workplace giving information is utilized by the majority of leading nonprofits, making program details available for employees at the time of their initial donations.

Note: if you select a CSR platform that integrates with Double the Donation (like Millie!), your program will automatically populate in the database widget. Plus, it allows you to further streamline the process by enabling exclusive auto-submission functionality!

4. Outline the process for nonprofit beneficiaries to receive funds.

The next step involves facilitating the application and submission processes for potential beneficiaries within your CSR platform. After all, you want to guarantee that your company spends its philanthropy budget supporting legitimate and verified causes. One of the greatest benefits of a tool like Millie is that the software handles such a review behind the scenes⁠—again, saving your team time and resources that can reallocated elsewhere.

Thus, be sure your company’s giving platform allows for a detailed screening process, empowering nonprofit applicants to provide the necessary information, such as their mission statement, objectives, use of funds, and other supporting documentation, with ease.

For example, Double the Donation encourages its nonprofit users to complete a detailed organizational profile⁠—including their address, website, EIN, W9, and 501(c)(3) affirmation letter⁠—as part of its streamlined auto-submission experience. The information is automatically shared with companies that utilize Double the Donation’s CSR software partners, and the end result is a simpler process for employers such as yourself to approve funding requests accordingly!

At this time, you’ll also need to establish a payment schedule by which company funds will be processed. In other words, how long after an employee gift (or volunteer hour log) has been verified will the corresponding match payment be initiated? Generally, most companies follow a monthly or quarterly disbursement timeline, though others may opt for an annual payout following the year’s submission deadline.

5. Launch your giving season CSR initiatives.

Once your program is fully configured within your corporate giving platform, it’s time to launch and promote the opportunity to your workforce. If employees are unaware of the giving initiatives you organize, they won’t be able to get involved⁠—and your efforts are not likely to produce the greatest return on your investment.

Instead, simply informing your staff that a matching gift or volunteer grant program is live⁠—and encouraging them to get involved⁠—can go a long way in boosting CSR participation.

After all, internal promotion is essential to generate enthusiasm and engagement with your programming. For the best results, clear communication regarding the program’s purpose, benefits, and usage (including tips and best practices for utilizing the workplace giving platform) is key to its successful adoption. You can even offer additional incentives for staff to get involved!

To achieve a successful workplace giving strategy, a company must first rally its employees in the spirit of philanthropy. Ensuring your staff are well-equipped with an accessible and user-friendly CSR platform allows you to make a larger, more meaningful impact on the world around you. And launching your new or improved giving initiatives at the year’s end allows you to make the most of the holiday season around you.

Remember: getting up and running with a robust CSR tool in time for year-end employee giving sets the stage for a seamless program launch. Not to mention a particularly impactful corporate giving experience for your company and its employees⁠ in the giving season and beyond.