Does Size Really Matter to Make an Impact?

Dec 5, 2013 3:15 PM ET

Charisse Browner
Business Development Director,
America's Charities

You do not have to be a Fortune 500 company to create an impactful employee-giving program – however – you must think and engage like one.

For example, take a look at Wells Fargo.  Employees donated “more than sixty-three million dollars” to the charity of their choice through Wells Fargo's employee giving program in 2011. Additionally, Wells Fargo reports “an employee engagement vs. disengaged ratio of 5 to 1 compared to the national average of 1.5 to 1.”

Those are significant outcomes; outcomes which have stemmed from Wells Fargo’s decision to make employee engagement and giving such an important part of their culture.  However, Wells Fargo didn’t achieve these results overnight.  They had to work their way up to this level of success by making a commitment, planning, doing and believing.


No Company is Too Small or Too Large to Offer Employees a Workplace-giving Program

While your company may or may not garner results quite as sizeable as Wells Fargo’s, you most certainly can achieve results just as comparable. 

Keep in mind, Wells Fargo employs more than 270,000 people (less than 1% of employer firms have an employee base this size). When you consider how many employees Wells Fargo has along with the $63 million dollars they raised – that equates to an average donation of $233 per employee.  That puts into perspective how realistic it actually is for your company to produce comparable results.

According to statistics of U.S. businesses, about 67% of the employed U.S. workforce works for companies with less than 5,000 employees. That’s a lot of employees who may or may not currently have the opportunity to participate in workplace giving because the company thinks it’s too small to make an impact. According to the Center on Philanthropy, only 36% of full-time employees surveyed said they’ve worked at a company that offered a workplace giving campaign, and when asked to participate, more than half of employees (54%) did, donating an average gift of $170 each.

Imagine the social impact these companies could have by offering employees a workplace-giving program.  To start, set reasonable expectations based on your company’s size and employee interest.  Let’s say you have 500 employees and expect that each of them will donate an average of $170 each, based on the survey mentioned above.  Collectively, your company could raise as much as $85,000.  If your 500 employees each donate $233 (an amount comparable to what Wells Fargo’s employees donated), then your company could raise as much as $116,500.  That is a lot of money with the potential to make an incredible impact on the communities where your employees live and work, and that impact could almost double if your company offers to match employee contributions dollar-for-dollar or up to an established amount of money.

Alignment and Engagement

The key to achieving results comparable to Wells Fargo’s program is aligning your giving program with both your employees’ and company’s values.  This means doing a few things:

  1. Offer your employees the choice to support charities they care about,
  2. Examine and decide what causes or specific charities with which to align your brand, and
  3. Offer a variety of ways and incentives for employees to donate to the charity(ies) of their choice.

Let’s go back to our example of the company with 500 employees who each donate $233.  For the sake of this example, we’ll say company ”x” is located in Oklahoma, and after surveying employees and reflecting on its core values, the company decides to align its brand with helping children and families in need in Oklahoma. 

To successfully engage employees in giving and get them to support the company’s giving program, here are some tips and ideas I would suggest if that company were my client:


Interested in more information about how we can help your company, association or organization? Click here to contact us!  We would love the opportunity to discuss the best approach for your organization. 

Plus, click here to subscribe to America's Charities CSR Newsletter and download our complimentary report, Snapshot: Trends & Strategies to Engage Employees in Greater Giving.  Reflecting insights and practices from nearly 100 private sector employers who collectively raise more than $230 million through their annual employee giving campaigns, this original research identifies current trends, attitudes and perceptions in employee giving.  It points the way to a new model that is being shaped by our digital culture and reveals new ways that can help your company achieve its Corporate Social Responsibility goals.