As humans, we are meaning-makers. We create stories, support causes, and work towards creating a better world. We instill moments with significance and return to them again and again in remembrance of their symbolic and historical importance.
From holidays to awareness months to days of action, Moments that Matter are times when we can come together and connect with our common humanity. They are also huge opportunities to create synergy around purpose within any company or organization.
“Employees are reevaluating the meaning their jobs give them, asking - How does what I do here matter, What is my purpose?” - Great Places to Work, Purpose at Work predicts if employees will stay
Learning to leverage the momentum of these collective moments is crucial to creating a motivated, engaged workforce – where employees are provided a sense of fulfillment that goes far beyond a paycheck.
This kind of engagement is not only good for the world, but also for the business – increasing productivity, team cohesion, and employee retention. Research from Great Places to Work and Harvard Business Review found that companies whose employees feel a sense of purpose at work and believe their leaders set a clear direction and expectation, outperform the stock market by 6.9%
Employee volunteering is an avenue that provides a sense of purpose and drives human-centric belonging, and we want organizations to be able to fully capitalize on the valuable employee energizer: Moments that Matter. Oftentimes, businesses will either let these awareness opportunities pass by without a real engagement strategy or routinely bombard employees with a buffet of options that dilute the power of a collective focus.
In service of taking your CSR initiatives to the next level, we put together a practical guide on how to make the most of Moments that Matter to maximize social impact and create authentic employee engagement.
Step 1: Get to know your people
First things first, it’s important to get to know what your employees *actually* care about. Too many of us assume we know what our team members want and never take the time to really understand what they are motivated by. So start with a survey allowing people to give you feedback on what they would most like to support. Maybe it’s climate action or cancer research or homelessness. Regardless of the results, a poll will give you valuable information about where to put your energy and which causes to prioritize.
Step 2: Do your homework
Start digging. Research all of the corresponding holidays or awareness months that align with your employees’ top choices. This will start to outline the year in advance – highlighting gaps and concentrations of different ‘Moments that Matter’ according to your unique focus.
Download Goodera's DEI calendar to track all the important campaigns in 2023 along with cultural days and events.
Step 2: Find partners
Now it’s time to look for nonprofits that resonate with your chosen causes. It could be a local or national organization but begin to build a relationship with them. See if there are any events or fundraisers you could collaborate on or coordinate your activations around. These kinds of relationships will provide a wealth of opportunities for volunteering and learning. Looking for inspiration? Check out some engaging campaign volunteering opportunities for different charities.
Step 3: Set goals
Start to paint the picture of what success looks like for you. How engaged would employees be in your ideal scenario? Do you want to offer multiple kinds of volunteer opportunities from virtual to in-person or skills-based? Assess your current engagement rates: how often do employees volunteer, when do they volunteer, and how many hours do they volunteer at a time? Whatever the delta is, map out SMART goals that will gradually get you to where you want to go. But remember to be realistic. You don't want to work with a nonprofit that needs 20 volunteers for an event and then only 2 people sign up. Being a reliable partner is just as important as scaling your programs.
Step 4: Plan ahead
It takes time to plan events for every month and work with your nonprofit partners to develop authentic volunteer experience that makes an impact. For example, for an event where you’d like to have 200+ employees participating, we recommend planning 6 months in advance. Otherwise, you will undoubtedly miss opportunities to build excitement and momentum. Ensuring that you have enough time to design, promote, and execute your CSR initiatives effectively will help you increase engagement, and achieve your goals.
Step 5: Keep communicating
Newsletters and email campaigns are great basic strategies to keep your audiences in the loop. Keep a regular cadence of updates so that your employees start to get familiar with when and where they can find all the information they need for the upcoming volunteer events. If you haven’t already start and then continue to collect feedback from your employees and nonprofit partners at regular intervals. Too often we rely on one-way communication tactics and never know how our audiences are really receiving us. By asking for honest opinions from the people you are working with, you can continually iterate and improve. So set yourself up for success by building two–way communication systems to benchmark your programs.
Galvanizing action around Moments that Matter is a powerful way for organizations to not only fulfill their CSR goals but create meaningful experiences for employees. By following these tips for getting started, you can build a program that creates a sense of purpose and belonging among your workforce – providing opportunities for people to learn and grow while making a difference in their community.
As the content marketing manager for YourCause for Blackbaud, Carmen Adamson works with industry leaders, partners, consultants and companies in the Global Good Network to create resources, research and reports that provide CSR professionals and social impact leaders with insights and data for managing and growing their employee engagement and CSR programs.