Is Your Company Barking up the Right Fundraising Tree?

posted Oct 12, 2012, 1:46 PM by David Khorram   [ updated Oct 12, 2012, 1:47 PM ]

Crowdfunding is a term generally reserved for raising money to support the next new startup, but it can also be used to define a new kind of workplace giving. This growing trend combines gamification and social media to boost employee engagement and increase community impact. Mix these elements together and you get corporate competitive crowdfunding.

Corporate competitive crowdfunding is the hot new buzzword helping to define one aspect of corporate giving, a charitable category that has been on the rise. In fact, according to a 2011 report by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy, 65% of corporations increased their corporate giving from 2009 to 2010, and 53% gave more in 2010 than they did before the economic downturn in 2007. With so many companies jumping on the corporate philanthropy bandwagon, it’s important to not be left behind. Crowdfunding is an excellent tool to lead the way.

One type of crowdfunding is crowdsourcing, where ideas rather than dollars are collected. For example, the Toyota 100 Cars for Good program uses crowdsourcing to engage its consumers. Every day for 100 consecutive days, five nonprofit organizations are featured on the Toyota Facebook page and fans are encouraged to vote for their favorite charity; the winner receives a new Toyota vehicle and each of the four runners-up receive a $1,000 grant.

Or take the example of Fido, a mobile company based in Canada that partnered with environmental nonprofit Evergreen in 2011 to create the “Share Your Care” challenge. Members of the public shared ideas on different sustainability projects, and the idea with the most votes won $27,000 (which was directed to a reforestation nonprofit).
Bringing Fun to the Workplace with Crowdfunding

Although these ideas engage members of the community, this same concept of crowdfunding and competition can be used to engage employees in your company.

So what’s the benefit of getting your employees involved in your corporate fundraising efforts? Well, for starters it helps workers feel connected to the best part of your organization’s ethos – its corporate social responsibility values. All of which helps to improve employee engagement, a bottom-line benefit that can’t be underestimated. These days, employee disengagement is rampant, and when workers don’t feel that their company is inspiring them to do their best, productivity losses follow. In fact, the Corporate Leadership Council reports that companies which enjoy high engagement rates have 87 percent lower staff turnover rates and 20 percent better performance.

With so much at stake, could adding corporate competitive crowdfunding to your workplace help nudge employee engagement in the right direction?

For pro-social technology leader Causecast, the answer was yes. In fact, employee engagement was top of mind when they organized their own competitive crowdfunder. Using its Community Impact Platform to create a fundraising challenge for two local animal rescues, Causecast leveraged social media, real-time reporting, peer recognition, instant donation processing, automatic tracking, micro and macro funding abilities, and good old competition with incentives to fire up the team and get them engaged in giving back. Causecast discovered an electric effect when they put the fun in fundraising, yielding company-wide engagement and plenty of friendly inter-office smack talk about who would win, which egged everyone to crowdraise more intensely. In the end, the biggest winners were the dogs at the rescues that Causecast raised a heap of cash to help.

In 2011, corporate giving totaled $14.55 billion and accounted for five percent of all charitable giving. With some added games and incentives, a mix of social media and the right online tool to make it all easy and fun, competitive crowdfunding raises the stakes and creates company-wide engagement around corporate giving. And if the employees at a small company like Causecast could make a big difference for their community while strengthening engagement at their own organization, think of how effective competitive crowdfunding could be on a larger scale.

Want to try out your own corporate competitive crowdfunder? Download Causecast’s Corporate Crowdfunding case study and find out how.

David Khorram,
Oct 12, 2012, 1:46 PM