The Executive Guide to Digital CSR Fundraising
TEN KEY STRATEGIES
“We make a living by what we get, but make a life by what we give”
Helping your community or favoured charity in some way is a cornerstone strategy of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) or Citizenship projects. Once the company has decided to embrace a project, questions then surround the methodology or how the project objectives will be met. In essence, there are four primary ways to move forward.
This is a great way to help charities or good causes because it means hands-on work with that organization; volunteers get really involved and receive a brick-to-the-head immersion of that charity’s work. There’s a strong bond built up which will probably be lifelong. Unfortunately, the downside in a time-poor and self-focusing society is that gaining volunteers is hard work. Not many want to do it.
Being part of a physical charity event is now common. To many it creates that serotonin bursting moment in the fundraisers mind after running the London Marathon, being part of a Midnight Walk event or going through a Toughmudder obstacle course. There’s a warm glow of contentment from the actual exercise and the fact that a favoured charity has benefited financially.
Shaking the tin in a busy office is now considered somewhat archaic and is rarely done. People believe there has to be a more sophisticated solution.
In the Internet age, digital fundraising is the ultimate solution.
It’s the only methodology that can embrace and bring together continents and far-flung office structures. Plus, by linking up everyone in the organization, all information is seen simultaneously and competition between offices is easy to construct and implement.
Rentaballoonrace.com, the world’s only 100% eco-friendly virtual balloon race platform offers corporates a seriously easy option for digital CSR and Citizenship projects. For example, you will see that in Key Strategy 4 to follow, internalising rivalry between office locations to increase sales is simple. Similarly, budgeting or setting sales targets mentioned in Key Strategy 7 is common practice too.
10 STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESSFUL CAMPAIGNS
ONE: Transparent Senior Management Buy-in
It might be a cliché, but employees are hardworking and pressurised like the rest of us, so getting their buy-in or engagement to a CSR / citizenship project can be difficult. If those at the lower organisational levels are going to make a determined effort to raise money for the company’s favoured charity or cause, it means that Senior management most certainly has to be on board with the project and be transparently seen to be vigorously championing the cause by effective top-down leadership. There should be an inverse funnel or top-down effect to campaign communications.
Senior manager | senior manager
Dept head | Dept head | Dept head | Dept head
employee | employee | employee | employee | employee | employee
The director should explain to their senior managers what is the purpose of the project and secondly why the help of the managers and employees is vital and goes beyond just giving money. The senior managers then trickle down the same information to department heads and so on and so on.
TWO: Recruit Local Champions
Having senior management transparently waving the CSR flag is vital for sure. But so too is the need for everyone in the organisation and beyond to be on board too.
Asking and seeking volunteers to be local champions is crucial. Head office cannot possibly drive sales to remote offices or manufacturing plants on its own. There has to be some connectivity, someone locally pushing and cajoling their colleagues into greater sales activity.
All staff and employees should be encouraged to distribute the e-brochure to all the people they know including friends, relatives and acquaintances for example.
THREE: Prizes do matter
Sadly, post-modernist society is shallow – there’s a prevailing selfish and I’m not doing anything for free culture. Only kids at pony shows are still interested in rosettes.
So great prizes do matter for sure, but they do not necessarily have to cost anything. Aspiration can come from the desire to own an iconic Apple iPad – that’s well recognized.
However, arranging dinner for two with the local Premiership football manager or star player for example or lunch with the A-list star of a Hollywood movie can be an even bigger motivation.
The general public buys into the Health Lottery not because they overly care about the health bit or even that only an outrageous low figure of 20.4% of the monies raised goes to good causes. No, they just want to win that one million pounds prize.
To maximise participation therefore, make sure everyone knows about the amazing prizes on offer
Whilst it’s wrong to generalise, there is no doubt that most people are competitive in some way. So internalising any campaign by creating an extra layer of incentivisation / rivalry is crucial to maximising participation and revenues.
If you’re running a virtual balloonrace for example, there should be a prize, plus name in company lights for the individual selling the most balloons to friends and family. Similarly, if the campaign has been split into locational teams, the winning sales team within the company should also be rewarded in some fashion.
FIVE: A Holistic Approach
Sometimes a CSR campaign can have smaller, oblique objectives attached to the main narrative of raising money for a good cause.
For instance, there is a paradox regarding hotel fundraising. Stressing that the monies raised are for the local community is great but the local community generally doesn’t stay in the hotel.
What the CSR project is really about underneath is employment and quality of work available to that hotel’s community. The higher the esteem of the hotel and better connectivity will ensure it is easier to recruit the best local staff.
Microsoft Philanthropies enthuse that “every day we donate nearly $2 million in products and services to non-profits”. Subtly this converts and locks in even more organisations to their ubiquitous product range.
SIX: Ease of Information distribution
If every employee needs a four-hour seminar to understand the proposition, the project will fail for sure. Similarly, if you have to go around every office or workplace with a tin to rattle, that’s probably not going to work either.
The very first marketing or campaign tactic should be to email everyone with an E-brochure which sets out the story. The BBC Pudsey Bear Race brochure is highlighted below www.rabr.co/pudsey/brochure. Being an email it’s so simple to distribute and no privacy issues either.
SEVEN: Set Sale Targets
Setting a suggested or soft sales target of say, 5 virtual balloons per individual or 200 per local office is always a great idea because everyone is used to the concept of budgets and sales figures.
And this tactic works even better still when overlaid with what the money raised can buy. For example, if your company CSR funds go towards building primary schools in Botswana, then telling staff that selling 5 balloons each builds one primary school, but selling 10 each builds three, that notion can be truly aspirational.
EIGHT: Emotion creates the very best buy-in
Parents of Downs Syndrome children are far more likely to be keen and working supporters of a Downs Syndrome charity than parents with unaffected children.
In a regional or global CSR project, maximum emotion and sales can be generated from choosing either. One global charity, say UNICEF, and one national charity per country, for example, Agir Pour L’Enfant in France – a high profile charity close to most French people’s hearts.
Staff must feel connected with the CSR project, whatever it is. The Rentaballoonrace platform, for example, allows tracking of every virtual balloon sale – that way, those countries / regions / zones that work the hardest and raise the most money, get that money back, pro rata, for their favoured causes.
NINE: Provide Ongoing Commentary through Social Media
Try and involve everyone from the start and keep them in the loop at every available occasion with sales figures, emails asking how things are going. You could set up a race Facebook page if there is not already a general use one and / or a Twitter account for publishing sales figures and motivational comments.
TEN: Don’t forget your suppliers
All suppliers have a vested interest in keeping you, a major client, happy. So don’t be shy in asking them for some sponsorship in return for promotion. Every Rentaballoonrace.com race package includes a stunning e-brochure, so have a look at www.rabr.co/pudsey/brochure for some ideas as to how to promote a supplier sponsor.
CASE STUDY: INCENTIVISATION FOR RETAIL CHAINS
All larger retailers have many operating locations, offering massive opportunities to expand the sales team and build in competition
- For the retail shop that sells the most balloons provide a nice box of chocolates, say for everyone in the shop, plus photographs and PR exposure in the company newsletter.
- The retail shop employee who sells the most balloons – dinner for two.
- The management staff member who sells the most balloons – dinner for two.
- The supplier who sells the most balloons receives an extra promotion on one product.
- The e-brochure has the ability to promote any brand.
So why not auction space in the brochure to maximise advertising revenue. The advert could plug a current supermarket promotion, say Cathedral Mature Cheddar 340g at £2.49
CASE STUDY: INCENTIVISATION FOR A GLOBAL MANUFACTURER
For a global manufacturer there are four main drivers of sales:
- Internal competition with global recognition for the plant that does the best in terms of per capita sales.
- Accept the parochial nature of humans by creating local prizes
- Creating a local choice of charity as well as a global one.
- Make it clear that all monies are spent geographically pro-rata. So if Mexico raises 45% of the total revenue, then Mexico gets 45% in return
WHY DIGITAL CSR IS GROWING IN POPULARITY
According to the British Banking Association, in March 2015 Britons checked their bank balance on their mobile phones over 10.5m per day, eclipsing the 9.6m daily log-ins to internet banking services and the paltry 1.17m bank branch transactions per day.
This major example of transparent and exponential growth in both digital innovation and usage, means that every company with a brand or image to protect or enhance should be reviewing these statistics and introducing digital processes into every facet of their sales and marketing.
Importantly too, every digital project creates an audit trail and legacy information. This comprehensive electronic data largely eliminates the previous laborious administration allied to CSR projects. So gone are the days of counting money from collecting tins, fiddling with ticket stubs or writing letters to staff begging for volunteers.
COMMUNICATIONS ARE EASY
The Internet makes communicating very easy. In fact, arguably too easy as we all get bombarded with SPAM and Junk on an hourly basis.
Junk aside, the Internet provides a great platform to let everyone know what’s happening. In milliseconds, Buenos Aires to Boston to Brisbane are informed that results from a CSR project are good, bad or indifferent. No effort required.
And it’s not just about email either, Social Media such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp are changing the whole communications landscape with their kaleidoscope of options.
Information is not the only communication currency either. The Internet allows anyone to link to anyone, which means that online volunteering is now viable too.
Plainly you cannot lay bricks for a new orphanage in Botswana online, say, but you can teach a local African to do that work by producing a training video and being available on Skype or WhatsApp for further help or advice.
Similarly, educating and mentoring others less fortunate is also an easy online CSR project to operationalise. With Harvard and other top universities producing Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) online mentoring opportunities are everywhere.
ONE-SIZE FITS ALL
Pre-digital era, CSR projects, especially those embracing multi-site and multi-continent, needed lots of careful and time-consuming planning to encompass all the staff and country variants. The Internet and digital-only projects reduce that at a stroke. Now you can have one website and one database that harmonises and aggregates all staff wherever on the globe they might be.
Plus, the huge advancements in payment technology of recent years means multi-currency options for any digital CSR fundraising project are simple and straightforward. For example, the Rentaballoonrace.comTM 100% eco-friendly virtual race system can take up to 180 different currencies.
Similarly, having homepage links to other language versions is easy too.
WITH CHARITIES, TRANSPARENCY IS KEY
With so many scandals surrounding the misuse of charity funds, knowing that donated company or public money is going to where it should is key information. All digital information is recorded in a database, so retrieval is not an issue for well coded and properly structured software.
For example, any Rentaballoonrace.comTM race website has the number of virtual balloon sold highlighted in the bottom left corner. The client therefore knows how much money to expect from their CSR fundraising project.
Similarly, with clients such as Scouts with many groups, drop down boxes allow virtual balloon purchasers to favour a particular cub or scout group of their choice. That way those groups that work the hardest on their sales pitch receive the most money on a strict electronically audited pro rata basis.
Finally, transparency can also benefit the company’s or not-for-profit organisation’s reputation. Being seen to have honesty and integrity is crucial to future donations and survival.
MAXIMISING EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT
Not everyone is fit enough to run the London Marathon, nor tackle a full ‘Tough Mudder’ obstacle course. There is no doubt a great sense of pride and achievement raising £500 of sponsorship from a marathon, say, but it’s not for everyone.
Conversely, a virtual balloon race is an event everyone can take part in, old or young, fit or infirmed, able or disabled. The digitally based CSR project comes straight into their PC, laptop or mobile. No effort is needed and everyone is included.
Importantly too, any project platform should be available 24/7, be easy to understand and use, and preferably be lots of fun. The Rentaballoonrace.comTM race virtual balloons can be decorated with stars and stripes, coloured vivid pink or a picture of your per dog inserted for example. Systems that fail any of these three desired attributes have less or little traction with the users.
- No physical event can seamlessly link all manufacturing sites or office locations, national or global, together. With digital, one-size truly fits all.
- Communications and transparency are simple and easy
- The cost of a project is extremely low.
- Multiple languages and currencies are no longer a problem
- If you chose the right system, for example the Rentaballoonrace.com 100% eco-friendly virtual balloon race, great fun can be had by all the staff, friends and family
- Unlike physical events and volunteering, digital projects include everyone – young or old, active or sedentary, able or disabled. It maximises employee engagement
The Rentaballoonrace.comTM100% eco-friendly virtual race platform can help your company raise serious money for your favoured cause
Plus staff, friends and family will have lots of fun, and you’ll be wowed by the small amount of administration time necessary. Your whole office / plant location structure is joined up with little or no effort. And importantly too, it’s not gambling either.
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