Minimizing environmental impact

2018 Corporate Social Responsibility Trends and Challenges

As Corporate Social Responsibility teams kick off 2018, we had the opportunity to catch-up with some trend-setters at 3M, Land O’ Lakes, and CONE Communications. Perhaps you will see some common themes with your own efforts.

CSR Trends 20182018 CSR Trend Updates

2018 Planning Part Two: Selecting the Right Workplace Giving Technology

As you finalize your CSR business plans for 2018, it’s important to have a proactive plan to address some of the social trends that will continue next year. In our last post, we reminded you that Generation Z is entering the workforce and expects corporations to take a stand on tough social issues. We also addressed the importance of personalization in employee engagement opportunities such as workplace giving technology.

Whether workplace giving is new to your organization or you are reevaluating your current solution, here are some main features you will want to consider ensuring your technology is up to par:

  1. Volunteer Tracking

    Employees want to give in more ways than just money. Having a technology that can track the organizations employees volunteered with, how many hours, and date is imperative. Leading platforms encourage brands to match volunteer efforts by also giving back to these organizations and creating Dollars for Doers programs that reward volunteers for their time.

  1. Payroll Deduction

    Employees appreciate the ease of giving through automatic payroll deductions. Whether it is every paycheck, once a month, or even a couple times a year, payroll deductions can be set up to accommodate individual givers preferences.

  1. Matching

    Show your employees how much you care by supporting the organizations that matter most to them. If employees have the opportunity to give to any charity of their choosing, the company may offer to match approved organizations or all donations. The giving platform will automate the match around your brand’s matching ruleset.

  1. Goal Setting

    With anything you care deeply about in your life; your career, financial security, or life milestones, goal setting is a common practice. Giving can be treated the same way. User-centric platforms include a widget to set giving goals and track your progress throughout the year. Common tracked metrics include frequency of giving and total dollars given.

  1. Donation Tracking

    This feature seems obvious, but every giving platform has a different interface for donation tracking. You will want to consider a platform that is user-centric meaning the donor can find what they need to with little or no direction. With donation tracking, you should be able to easily access how many dollars are in your “giving account”, how many dollars given year to date and to who you have given. Similar details for your volunteering efforts will paint a complete picture of how the user has given back.

  1. Credit Card Processing

    The more payment options you give your employees, the more likely they are going to be to participate in your program. While some employees may prefer payroll deduction, others will want the option to donate with their preferred credit card. Credit card companies reward cardholders in various ways so why not earn points through philanthropy! Find a giving technology that offers payment choice – your donors will thank you.

  1. Charity Options

    According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, there are more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations registered in the U.S. While not all nonprofits are funded equally, it is important to include all types, sizes, and locations when considering the nonprofits listed in your workplace giving program. One option could be to provide the gift of complete choice and find a platform, like DoTopia, that includes over 1.6 million charities. That way, employees can give to the organization they want to support without any limitations. This is how workplace giving transforms into employee engagement.

  1. “Give a gift” option

    Some platforms will provide the option to give the gift of giving. Especially during holiday times, this is an excellent way for employees to thank one another or share a unique gift that keeps on giving. Giving is universal and it is one gift that is appreciated by all – especially if the receiver has complete choice in their donation.

  1. Flexible User Experience

    Flexibility in user experience can have many meanings – flexibility in who a donor can give to, flexibility in how the platform is set-up, what widgets are included on the user’s screen, and even the overall options for your employees. While most SaaS-based platforms are flexible, some workplace giving providers charge extra, or require additional resources to customize features. Make sure you are aware of any hidden fees associated with your preferred platform.

  1. Branding / Marketing

    Your workplace giving program provides a plethora of opportunities to showcase your brand and highlight the good your employees are doing. Select a technology provider who exposes this positivity and enables employees to socially share their giving, bring their friends and family into their experiences, and ensures nonprofits know who the money is coming from so they can follow-up with gratitude. Many leading technologies can also white-label their workplace giving technology to enable logo placements, colors, and other unique elements to showcase your brand.

 

  1. Support and Customer Experience 

    Last, but certainly not least is the support your administrators and participants receive from the workplace giving provider. Regardless of the ease in usability, participants will need care from the platform provider. When analyzing different solutions, make sure you are asking about onboarding/support, setup/enablement, and ongoing resources for your program. The provider should have a well-documented plan to share with you in advance of any final decisions you make. If not, consider it a red flag.

As you consider your 2018 goals for workplace giving, we hope this post was either reassuring that you have the right solution, or an impetus to start looking for something new for the new year! Consider For Momentum to assist with a new cause strategy and DoTopia for your workplace giving technology. We promise to check all the boxes. ?

Ready to learn more? Schedule a demo with DoTopia.

Selecting the Right Workplace Giving Technology

As you finalize your CSR business plans for 2018, it’s important to have a proactive plan to address some of the social trends that will continue next year. In our last post, we reminded you that Generation Z is entering the workforce and expects corporations to take a stand on tough social issues. We also addressed the importance of personalization in employee engagement opportunities such as workplace giving technology.

Whether workplace giving is new to your organization or you are reevaluating your current solution, here are some main features you will want to consider ensuring your technology is up to par:

  1. Volunteer Tracking

    Employees want to give in more ways than just money. Having a technology that can track the organizations employees volunteered with, how many hours, and date is imperative. Leading platforms encourage brands to match volunteer efforts by also giving back to these organizations and creating Dollars for Doers programs that reward volunteers for their time.

  1. Payroll Deduction

    Employees appreciate the ease of giving through automatic payroll deductions. Whether it is every paycheck, once a month, or even a couple times a year, payroll deductions can be set up to accommodate individual givers preferences.

  1. Matching

    Show your employees how much you care by supporting the organizations that matter most to them. If employees have the opportunity to give to any charity of their choosing, the company may offer to match approved organizations or all donations. The giving platform will automate the match around your brand’s matching ruleset.

  1. Goal Setting

    With anything you care deeply about in your life; your career, financial security, or life milestones, goal setting is a common practice. Giving can be treated the same way. User-centric platforms include a widget to set giving goals and track your progress throughout the year. Common tracked metrics include frequency of giving and total dollars given.

  1. Donation Tracking

    This feature seems obvious, but every giving platform has a different interface for donation tracking. You will want to consider a platform that is user-centric meaning the donor can find what they need to with little or no direction. With donation tracking, you should be able to easily access how many dollars are in your “giving account”, how many dollars given year to date and to who you have given. Similar details for your volunteering efforts will paint a complete picture of how the user has given back.

  1. Credit Card Processing

    The more payment options you give your employees, the more likely they are going to be to participate in your program. While some employees may prefer payroll deduction, others will want the option to donate with their preferred credit card. Credit card companies reward cardholders in various ways so why not earn points through philanthropy! Find a giving technology that offers payment choice – your donors will thank you.

  1. Charity Options

    According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, there are more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations registered in the U.S. While not all nonprofits are funded equally, it is important to include all types, sizes, and locations when considering the nonprofits listed in your workplace giving program. One option could be to provide the gift of complete choice and find a platform, like DoTopia, that includes over 1.6 million charities. That way, employees can give to the organization they want to support without any limitations. This is how workplace giving transforms into employee engagement.

  1. “Give a gift” option

    Some platforms will provide the option to give the gift of giving. Especially during holiday times, this is an excellent way for employees to thank one another or share a unique gift that keeps on giving. Giving is universal and it is one gift that is appreciated by all – especially if the receiver has complete choice in their donation.

  1. Flexible User Experience

    Flexibility in user experience can have many meanings – flexibility in who a donor can give to, flexibility in how the platform is set-up, what widgets are included on the user’s screen, and even the overall options for your employees. While most SaaS-based platforms are flexible, some workplace giving providers charge extra, or require additional resources to customize features. Make sure you are aware of any hidden fees associated with your preferred platform.

  1. Branding / Marketing

    Your workplace giving program provides a plethora of opportunities to showcase your brand and highlight the good your employees are doing. Select a technology provider who exposes this positivity and enables employees to socially share their giving, bring their friends and family into their experiences, and ensures nonprofits know who the money is coming from so they can follow-up with gratitude. Many leading technologies can also white-label their workplace giving technology to enable logo placements, colors, and other unique elements to showcase your brand.

 

  1. Support and Customer Experience 

    Last, but certainly not least is the support your administrators and participants receive from the workplace giving provider. Regardless of the ease in usability, participants will need care from the platform provider. When analyzing different solutions, make sure you are asking about onboarding/support, setup/enablement, and ongoing resources for your program. The provider should have a well-documented plan to share with you in advance of any final decisions you make. If not, consider it a red flag.

As you consider your 2018 goals for workplace giving, we hope this post was either reassuring that you have the right solution, or an impetus to start looking for something new for the new year! Consider For Momentum to assist with a new cause strategy and DoTopia for your workplace giving technology. We promise to check all the boxes. ?

Ready to learn more? Schedule a demo with DoTopia.

6 Trends Impacting Workplace Giving in 2018

2018. Ok, we said it. We hate to break it to you, but the new year is only two months away. It is time to start thinking about your CSR business goals and opportunities for 2018.

Being in the social good line of work, DoTopia and our friends at For Momentum stay tuned in to trends and ideas relative to this space. We thought it would be helpful to not only share some of these themes, but also provide you with features to consider if you are looking into a workplace giving solution for 2018.

  1. Workplace Giving Increases Employee Engagement – Employee engagement is a phrase that has been tossed around and often inappropriately used in the human capital space. At the core, employee engagement is a holistic approach taking into account various elements of the employee’s relationship to the company including; achievement, well-being, connection, and appreciation. In order for the employee to feel positively connected to their employer, they must feel their employer is taking actions to engage them in each of these areas. By incorporating workplace giving, especially personalizing the giving experience for the employee, the link between connection and appreciation from the employee will likely increase.
  1. The Current Social and Political Climate is Leading to Louder Voices – In the wake of recent events and polarizing conversations, many corporations feel the pressure to take a stand on certain social issues. Corporations need to carefully choose the organizations that they support or oppose. Speaking out has the capacity to alienate those who do not relate or feel similarly. Rather than listening to the majority and alienating those who do not have as loud of a voice in an organization, personalized cause marketing and giving solutions allow corporations to support their employees who all wish to stand for something different. Even the quiet ones.
  1. Generation Z is Joining the Workforce – We have heard everything there is to know about millennials. In fact, given all the research collected about this group, it is hard to believe that there is even life after them. Well, there is. Generation Z, those born after the year 2000, is even larger than the millennial generation. In a National Study done by Gen Z Guru, “93% of Gen Z participants said that a company’s impact on society affects their decision to work there.” They also choose to purchase products and services that align with their beliefs. Social impact agencies such as For Momentum help brands create positive change in their communities. Even more so than their older millennial counterparts, Gen Z workers are making it a mandate that corporations put their money where their social good mouth is. We already love them.
  1. Give the People What They Ask For: Personalization – Whether it is a targeted Ad, a Marriott hotel room, or your daily Starbucks drink, every industry has moved toward greater personalization. We like to be treated as individuals who have our own wants and needs. Why would we feel any differently about our charitable giving preferences? In the past, many corporations did not provide choice in yearly giving campaigns. Employees were expected to give to one or two organizations only. Today, giving technologies like DoTopia (shameless plug) allow employees to support any cause or organization. The employer is the hero and personalization is brought to an entirely new level in the workplace. If the company’s goal is to increase giving, personalization is the way to go. The more a person feels connected to the charity, the more likely they are to give.
  1. Sustainable Development Goals are Leading the Way – As part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, more than 150 world leaders came together to adopt a set of 17 goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. Though these goals were communicated back in September 2015, corporations are just starting to incorporate these goals into their overall business plans. In fact, 38% of Fortune 50 Companies now publicly support the Sustainable Development Goals with over a third of companies looking at SDGs not as philanthropy, but as business strategy. These stats were recently shared at the 2017 Commit!Forum. We can expect more Fortune 1000 companies to follow their suit(s).  
  1. Corporate Social Responsibility Leaders are Not Alone – For so long, CSR was a part of the organization that employees heard about, but didn’t really understand what it all meant. This is all changing. And fast. CSR is now becoming one of the most vital and well-known entities in the organization as purpose and profits continue to blur into one line-item. Marketing wants in too. Cause Marketing programs are extremely popular among marketers with the ability to not only create a positive buzz about your product, but bring awareness to a nonprofit organization or a social good initiative. For example, check out Zappos “Friends on Us Fridays”. Every Friday Zappos is sponsoring free pet adoptions around the U.S. Consumers love the ability to shop with a brand that is not just selling them something they want, but making the world a better place. We foresee more dotted org. chart lines among CSR, Marketing, and Human Resource functions in 2018 and beyond.

Understanding these trends and developing a solid CSR strategy up front will lead you to find the right partner and the right workplace giving technology for your employees. In the follow-up to this post, we’ll talk about the issues to consider as you evaluate your corporate giving programs.

About For Momentum

For fifteen years, For Momentum has helped corporations and nonprofits think outside their circles. A fearless social impact agency, For Momentum is solely focused on strategic cause alliances that make a positive impact in their communities. For awareness. For engagement. For Momentum. www.formomentum.com

CONE Communications

From Corporate Social Responsibility to Cause Marketing Extraordinaires

Partner Spotlight: Cone Communications

An interview with Lindsey Snow and Devika Narayan of CONE Communications

We are thrilled to be partnering with Cone Communications this week to highlight the company and how they Do Good in the world.  First, let us introduce you to Lindsey Snow (LS) and Devika Narayan (DN). Lindsey is a Senior Account Executive and works on an array of corporate social responsibility projects which help build impactful and meaningful results for corporate and nonprofit clients.  Devika is an Account Supervisor over CSR Strategy. She has supported the strategic planning and development of award winning programs for Fortune 500 companies including UPS, Xylem, Mars, Johnson & Johnson and Visa. Two very impressive ladies who do amazing work!

Let’s start from the beginning, why did you choose to pursue a career in CSR?

LS: I think it started when I interned at Dunkin’ Brands on the corporate social responsibility team. During my time at Elon University, I had a whole host of internships ranging from marketing and special events with the New England Patriots, to brand planning and strategy on the agency side, to health care PR, and nonprofit communications at Special Olympics Massachusetts. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do post-grad or even how all of these fields and interests fit together until I had my first experience working in CSR.

I always had a strong desire to work in communications and help companies articulate what they stand for and I found that CSR was the perfect avenue to do so. Every company, no matter how big or small, needs a CSR strategy. It’s not just good business, it’s imperative to business. I love getting the opportunity to work with all kinds of different organizations varying from transportation and logistics, retail, pharmacy and health care, nonprofits, financial services and more, to help them realize their purpose and make an enduring impact in the world.

DN: I have always been passionate about volunteering and giving back to my community. Growing up, my family moved to a new country every five years or so because of my dad’s job. One way I got to know the neighborhood and meet new people was to find a cause to donate my time to (e.g., volunteering at a local animal shelter).

After graduating from Boston University in 2013 with a dual degree in psychology and public relations, I knew I wanted the career path I went down to align with my core values. Helping companies give back to the communities they operate in seemed like a perfect way to marry my interest in communications and my desire to make a difference in the world.

How do you see the Corporate Social Responsibility landscape changing and what advice would you give to CSR leaders after working on a number of large client programs?

LS: At Cone, we’re constantly tracking the latest trends and best practices in CSR across multiple issue areas and exploring the best ways to connect them with consumers, employees, investors, communities and other key stakeholders. It’s no surprise that in today’s climate, there’s been a shift in the way people are perceiving CSR and what it means to be a responsible organization. Our 2017 CSR study revealed that although CSR will always be grounded in business operations, the stakes have gotten a lot higher. Companies must now share not only what they stand for, but what they stand up for.

Yes, consumers expect companies to continue their CSR commitments, but they now want them to go a step further and are actually looking to companies to drive change, with 63% saying they are hopeful businesses will take the lead to drive social and environmental change moving forward. This is something that companies and CSR leaders should definitely not take lightly, as our research showed that consumers are also willing to reward (87%) or boycott (76%) companies based on their corporate values and CSR commitments.

My advice to CSR leaders today would be to continue to ensure CSR remains an inherent priority of your organization enterprise-wide, that’s embedded in your corporate strategy, synonymous with your mission and embedded within your employee engagement;  94% prioritize being a good employer as part of what it means to be a responsible company. Once CSR becomes fully-integrated in your company, the next step is to turn your commitments into action through implementing a comprehensive strategy and approach that will vary based your company’s unique mission and desire to make an impact—whether that’s  through goal-setting, strategic programs, initiatives, partnerships or other defined objectives. The key is to align your core values and corporate mission from the start enterprise-wide and then take that values-led approach to find ways to make measurable, bold and lasting impacts via authentic ways your company can walk the talk.    

DN: In the last few years, we have definitely seen an evolution in how businesses are approaching CSR in a response to growing customer, consumer and employee expectations. Stakeholders now want companies to not only improve business practices, but also be a force for change in broader society.

In 2016, 64% of CEOs planned to increase their investments in CSR, with more companies embedding CSR into their core business operations. More recently, we have seen purpose-driven companies expand CSR efforts beyond company walls and use their influence to advocate for societal issues such as racial justice, immigration, LGBTQ rights and gender equality. This expansion of CSR commitments can be attributed to ever-increasing evidence that CSR is simply good for business. Research from Harvard Business School  demonstrates companies with strong CSR commitments “significantly outperform counterparts.” And companies like Unilever are seeing first-hand the financial benefits that come along with a strong commitment to CSR: chief executive Paul Polman recently revealed that the company’s Sustainable Living brands accounted for half of the company’s growth in 2014 and grew at twice the rate of the rest of the business.

Despite wanting companies to do more, Cone’s research has shown nearly three-quarters (74%) of consumers do not believe companies are striving to be as responsible as possible until they hear information about positive efforts. Additionally, Cone’s latest Gen Z research found this young generation as looking to engage in company CSR efforts. Now is the time for brands to gain insights on these digital natives to better understand how to engage with a generation that wants to make an impact on social and environmental issue, both online and in day-to-day life.

My advice to leaders who are looking to gain credibility in the eyes of consumers is to take on a multifaceted approach to communicating CSR initiatives. For companies to break through the clutter and reap the bottom-line benefits, they need to authentically build CSR into the brand experience.  This means going beyond an annual report, a marketing initiative or a single page on their website.

Why has there been a shift to Cause Marketing Programs vs. a more traditional approach to Corporate Philanthropy?

LS: Today’s consumer is continuously changing and so are their wants and needs. I think we’re seeing this shift to more cause marketing type programs and initiatives versus just traditional corporate philanthropy efforts as we see today’s consumer and their needs and desires continue to evolve. We’re finding that more and more consumers and employees want to get engaged in company’s CSR efforts and would rather support an organization that’s making a tangible, genuine impact, not just through philanthropic dollars or funding, but through breakthrough campaigns that truly inspire.

Google’s Building a Better Bay Area campaign is a great example of this. Rather than take a traditional approach to corporate philanthropy and donate funds to preselected or partnered nonprofits, Google allowed people to cast their votes online for how they would give away $5.5 million in funding to Bay Area nonprofits, and then installed cool interactive posters in bus stations, restaurants, food trucks, etc., so people could easily vote locally. The campaign ended up generating 400,000 votes over the course of about three and a half weeks thanks to online votes and branded hashtag #GoogleImpactChallenge.

REI has also seen similar success in engaging consumers in cause marketing. Building on the success of its #OptOutside campaign, REI spearheaded Force of Nature, a campaign aiming to close gaps in the quality of men’s and women’s outdoor gear design by putting women front and center to make the outdoors the world’s largest level playing field. Through this bold campaign, REI combined traditional funding with interactive consumer activations to drive greater impact, bringing over 1,000 classes and experiences across the U.S. and raising $1 million to support community organizations creating opportunities for women outdoors. We especially love this campaign because it’s a great example of cause marketing that’s inherent and authentic to who the brand is.

DN: I believe the shift toward more cause marketing programs vs. traditional corporate philanthropy can be attributed to more consumers and employees wanting to get engaged in companies’ CSR efforts.

Now more than ever, consumers want to use their purchasing power for good: according to Cone’s 2017 CSR Study, 87% stated they purchased a product because a company advocated for an issue they cared about.  In response, more companies are realizing the benefits of giving their customers and employees the opportunity to contribute to their CSR efforts, instead of simply writing a check to a nonprofit partner. By involving key stakeholders in its CSR journey, a company can do good while raising awareness for its commitments and reaping the associated reputational benefits.

Do you see a value in personalized cause marketing solutions? If so, why do you think this is a good solution for employee engagement/retention?  

LS + DN: There is absolutely value in creating personalized cause marketing solutions. By tailoring cause marketing campaigns to individual’s needs, companies can create personal connections with customers and make the giving process seamless and easy.

Additionally, personalized giving solutions can be a great way to get employees engaged with a company’s CSR efforts. Employees are a company’s front-line ambassadors and arguably the most important asset a company has. And, as the workplace evolves, so do employees’ expectations for what they want to get out of their jobs. It is now going to take even more to keep them inspired and dedicated, and companies that respond with dynamic, flexible and customized employee engagement programs will be rewarded with a loyal workforce that is ready to do all they can to advance a company’s CSR efforts and make a difference at work, at home and in their communities.

We have used a lot of CONE Communications stats in our whitepapers and blog posts. Your annual CSR study is great! What do you think is the one stat/takeaway that all CSR leaders should know from the 2017 report?

LS: Yes, consumers expect companies to continue their CSR commitments, but they now want them to go a step further and are actually looking to companies to drive change, with 63% saying they are hopeful businesses will take the lead to drive social and environmental change moving forward. This is something that companies and CSR leaders should definitely not take lightly, as our research showed that consumers are also willing to reward (87%) or boycott (76%) companies based on their corporate values and CSR commitments.

DN: I think one of the most telling statistics from Cone’s 2017 CSR study is that 63% of Americans are hopeful businesses will take the lead to drive social and environmental change moving forward, in the absence of government regulation.

In the midst of dramatically changing global political climates, the private sector has an even greater responsibility and opportunity to take the lead in advancing critical social and environmental agenda. This is a time, unlike any other in history, when companies need to show the courage to adopt strategies that create long-term value for their business, brands and for the communities they serve.   

What are the main value adds CONE Communications brings to your clients?

LS + DN: Cone’s corporate responsibility work and our best-in-class research have attracted some of the best minds in global sustainability issues, cause marketing and nonprofit communications.  On any day, you can find us helping clients deliver emotional storytelling to highlight their organization’s CSR journey. We pride ourselves on creating brand value and return for philanthropic, social and environmental commitments and organizations of all sizes, and tracking trends that help us understand corporate behaviors expected in today’s transparent world. No matter what we are doing, we strive to deliver on our purpose of Always Making A Difference℠ for business, brand and society.

Can you share a Case Study where your client involved their customers or employees in their cause marketing program? We would love to hear about the results!

LS + DN: One of Cone’s highlights in cause marketing has to be creating the American Heart Association’s flagship signature cause program, Go Red for Women. Built to launch a movement to fight heart disease in women, the campaign put a new face on an issue often mistaken for a concern of older men. For this, our team designed a variety of events and experiences to invite consumers into a deeper, more meaningful relationship with the American Heart Association.

And the results were outstanding:  50% of consumers named Go Red for Women as the #1 cause movement important to them. And 45 countries around the world adopted the campaign and conducted awareness activities around it.

Today, the campaign has become ingrained into popular culture as evidenced by the appearance of Go Red Barbie, a Go Red Girl Scouts Patch, and Go Red presence on TV shows such as What Not To Wear and Deal or No Deal. To this day, Go Red for Women continues to be recognized as a marquis cause marketing program – and one which we are extremely proud of!

Thank you Lindsey and Devika for your time and contribution to making the world a better place!

While we love this entire interview, our top two takeaways are:

Takeaway 1: Companies must now share not only what they stand for, but what they stand up for. According to Cone’s 2017 CSR Study, 87% stated they purchased a product because a company advocated for an issue they cared about. (Check out our Guide to Giving white paper)

Takeaway 2: There is absolutely value in creating personalized cause marketing solutions. By tailoring cause marketing campaigns to individual’s needs, companies can create personal connections with customers and make the giving process seamless and easy.

p.s. You can give DoDollars to Go Red for Women on our platform!

We love spending time with other CSR, Marketing, and nonprofit leaders. If you know someone we should feature, please reach out and refer them! Here are some of the latest interviews we conducted:

Alongside recruitment technology

HR Leader Corner: How to Streamline Your Recruitment Process with Alongside

We love learning about new technology advancements and how they continue to help us solve traditional business problems – especially for our clients. We recently met up with Alongside, a recruitment technology company, to learn more about how they are changing the way HR Leaders engage with new hires. Nora Cottrill, Community Manager for Alongside, sat down and gave us the facts about their platform.

Hey Nora, Give us the facts. What is Alongside?

Alongside is a recruitment platform that bridges the communication gaps to create a better experience for both employers and job seekers. It allows companies to embed their brand identity and showcase what makes them a great employer by guiding job seekers to present the best possible version of themselves and increase the odds of finding employment. As well, employers will soon be able to leverage big data insights to optimize their recruitment efforts and ultimately make better hires.

Alongside platform.

How does Alongside solve common recruitment hurdles?

Companies are realizing that they need to approach recruitment with the employer brand in mind. To attract top talent, they should have more than just a stuffy list of job responsibilities. Alongside’s job posting creation tool injects some ‘life’ into job postings and helps employers stand out in the job market. Employers have the chance to share their company culture, values, and work setting in their Alongside job postings and careers page. It’s also a chance to promote the corporate giving and community efforts the company does, something that might be of interest to you, given the mission of DoTopia. We encourage employers to see recruitment – at least the promotion aspect- as a form of marketing. In fact, we offer custom recruitment marketing services to our clients where we take on the role of the marketer through positioning and distribution.

Another thing I’d say Alongside helps solve is more basic recruitment headaches: organization and collaboration. Instead of having accounts on multiple job boards, our users can do one-click distribution right from Alongside. Our platform also allows employers to efficiently store and score candidates with other members of their hiring team, thanks to our collaborative hiring tools. Not only are candidates neatly organized, but all notes are as well. Our Alongside Assistant, ‘Sam’, also gives employers the ability to share applications with people outside their Alongside account AND send templated emails (in bulk) to candidates right on the platform. Essentially, the product is designed to be intuitive and streamline the entire recruitment process.

I also can’t forget to mention our analytics tool! As someone classically trained in Human Resources, I know how important it is to track and measure your recruitment efforts. Figuring out how to get useful data insights can be puzzling though, especially if you’re new to hiring. Our analytics tool allows employers to track the ROI on their job postings so they can make more strategic job board purchasing decisions and social campaigns.

Your mission is to “humanize the the online hiring experience by improving the way job seekers and employers communicate with each other”. Can you tell me a little more about that?

Sure! One of the things that sets us apart from competitors in our market is that while our project is for employers, we strive to create the best possible experience for job seekers as well. We’ve all applied for jobs at one point in our careers, and landing on a lengthy, boxy application process usually makes people groan. It can be time-consuming and seem like wasted efforts if the employer never reaches out, even to acknowledge your submission.

We’ve designed our application process with job seekers in mind. We encourage companies to create realistic but engaging job postings and provide tools for them to utilize best practices for respectful communication with candidates. We’ve created an efficient and empowering application process that guides job seekers and allows them to put their best foot forward. In fact, we polled users and found that 95% of job seekers stated that they prefer to use Alongside over other application processes!

How does your own company’s culture impact the products you build?

Like I mentioned before, we’re all about creating a more respectful way for employers and job seekers to communicate. Our platform is intended to instill confidence and build competence for both job seekers and employers. Our team values growth and autonomy to take on risks and learn from them. Like our own culture, we try to build software that empowers individuals and is also enjoyable to work with!

Alongside’s team values helping others. Many of us are involved in our community, whether it be through volunteering, mentorship, etc. We like to think that we’re also able to ‘help’ through our platform because we provide a bridge between job seekers and employers. Our goal is to help them find each other and meaningful employment.

Awesome! So in line with that, how does Alongside help the younger generation of workers find jobs in ‘purpose-led’ companies? As you know, DoTopia helps organizations develop a ‘Purpose-first’ approach.  

Great question! It’s true, job seekers are looking for meaningful work but research does suggest younger generations are especially looking to make career choices that allow them to make an impact on the world as well. I actually wrote an article recently for employers on this exact topic.

As I mentioned, the Alongside company profile and job posting process allows employers to promote their brand and culture through their recruitment efforts. Companies who are ‘purpose-first’ have a real chance to shine because we encourage them to include many details about their company culture and corporate giving efforts. They can also ask application questions which is a chance to also see what types of charity work and personal interests of applicants to get an early insight into their cultural fit (before a pre-screening call).

Interested in learning more about Alongside? For more information on their platform and how to get started, contact them today.

Giving Beyond The United Way: Do As You Choose – Not As You’re Told

United Way has been the corporate giving lifeline for almost 130 years. You read that right,130 years! The organization was founded on the mission that “United Way improves lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities around the world to advance the common good.”

At the onset of corporate giving, it was logical for this federation model to lead. People did not desire autonomy in giving while modern day technology was still one hundred years away. Unfortunately for the United Way, “The Times They Are A-Changin”. Regardless of industry, advanced technology has forever changed the way we do business and it continues to disrupt every traditional model that is still in existence. Why would corporate and individual giving be any different? And for what? An antiquated model and a recognized brand name?

Despite the reasons for maintaining United Way programs, the market is responding. For the first time ever, a sponsor of a donor advised fund, Fidelity, topped the Chronicle’s list of 400 U.S. Charities that raise the most money,   

Fidelity President, Pamela Norley comments: “A lot of what [donor-advised funds] have brought to charities and our donors is really technology,” she says. “It’s an intermediary between the donor and charity that allows the process of giving to be simpler and more transparent and easier for record-keeping.”

Clearly, people are demanding new ways to give. It is not only a technology-led change, individuals and corporations desire a new model as well. So, what is next on the docket?

The rise in Individual Donor Advised funds

We’ve already covered how DoTopia differs from other DAFs like Fidelity’s. Plus, the United Way has accomplished their mission with many shiny stats to prove it, but their reign is over. It is time to let employees, customers and individual givers decide where their money should go through the vehicle of personalized giving, powered by technology.

Here is why:

  1. People should give if they want to – “forced giving”, which can be positioned as pledging, is an oxymoron and feels more like taking.
  2. People are already giving money and time outside of corporate giving campaigns to organizations they care about. Why not help them do this better and easier?
  3. Corporations are already asking their employees to give their time, ideas and skills. Stop asking them to give their money to an organization they might not align with.
  4. All people have the capacity and knowledge to research and give to the organizations that will use their money most efficiently.
  5. Every gift matters. Not everyone can or wants to “compete” with other givers. Regardless of donation size, organizations appreciate every dollar.
  6. Individuals are demanding an easier and more accessible solution.
  7. Giving can be an extremely useful employee engagement tool. The federation model is a detractor from this powerful benefit.

As technology, personal preferences and generational nuances evolve, so do the ways in which people want to create impact. The current United Way approach is antiquated for this next generation and the market is responding.

DoTopia’s giving model is simple: we believe in every person’s foundation. Let the individual giver decide where their money should go. They can even give to the United Way if they so choose! Personalization, transparency and authenticity is key. With brand-funded giving campaigns, 100% of dollars donated go directly to any vetted charity of choice.

Gen Z @ Work

Meet David and Jonah Stillman, co-authors of Gen Z @ Work

For nearly 20 years, David has been enamored with generations, their impact on the workplace and sharing his expertise with world renowned companies.

For 17 years, Jonah has been living the Gen Z life, sharing his insights with various companies and is currently the youngest speaker on the national lecture circuit.

Together they are the first father-son Gen X / Gen Z speaking team.

Their book, Gen Z @ Work, releases today and the team at DoTopia is proud to be a featured company in the book.

We had the pleasure of interviewing David earlier this month:

First things first, here’s a quick refresher on Who is Gen Z :

  • They were born between 1995 and 2012
  • At 72.8 million strong, Gen Z is about to make its presence known in the workplace in a major way—and employers need to understand the differences that set them apart
  • They’re radically different than Millennials, and yet no one seems to be talking about them… until now
  • This generation has an entirely unique perspective on careers and how to succeed in the workforce

All the buzz over the years has been about millennials.  What sparked you to write about Gen Z?

There has been SO much buzz about Millennials that people haven’t imagined that there was life after Millennials. We saw too many people assuming everyone under 30 was a Millennial when in fact, Gen Z is already 22 years old. Even more so, this generation is radically different than Millennials. If Gen Z is treated like Millennials, it will surely backfire. This sparked us to write the book.

Throughout your research, what surprised you the most about Gen Z?

A bunch of surprises – all proving our theory on just how different Gen Z is from Millennials. To name a few:

  • More competitive and independent than Millennials who are very collaborative
  • Prefers face to face communication most – even more than texting! (82% prefer face to face)
  • Willing to pay dues and start at the bottom. They are willing to stay at a company for more than 10 years. (71% said they will start at bottom)
  • Wants their own private workspace and does not like open office concept. (Only 8% liked open office concept)

What qualities in a company or brand will be most important to Gen Z when they are deciding where to work?

  • 91% said technological sophistication would impact their desire to work at a company.
  • Having seen too many leaders called into question as well as companies suffer in the recent recession, this generation wants honest and transparent leadership.
  • Gen Z is looking for places where they can wear multiple hats. In fact, 75% of this generation would like to work somewhere where they can have multiple career paths at the same time.
  • Having grown up in the recession, as much as Gen Z wants to make a difference in the world like Millennials did, they want money first and foremost.

What drew you to include DoTopia in your new book?

One of the key traits of this generation is HYPER CUSTOM. This is a generation that has grown up with the ability to customize everything from their twitter handles to their Nike shoes. I love how DoTopia puts the power of giving back in their hands. In addition, the fact that it is so easy to use is perfect for these digital natives who have only known a world where everything can happen right on your phone.

What steps should companies be taking to appropriately prepare themselves to be successful with this important Generation, as both employees and consumers?

First and foremost – do not assume they are anything like Millennials.

Second – get to know what makes them different. The best way to do this is to understand the

events and conditions that shaped them.

Third – realize that the leading edge is just graduating college this spring. The time to act is NOW.

They can be proactive rather than reactive later. That does not mean they have to start all over. The goal is to anticipate where the gaps will be and what they can as well as cannot change.

How will Corporate Social Responsibility change as Gen Z invades the workforce?  What impact will that have beyond the office?

  • This generation want to make a difference, but will want to make profits first. As they see it, the more money they make, the more money to give back.
  • Gen Z will be big supporters of social entrepreneurialism.

If we only remember one thing about this generation – what should that be?

Gen Z is their own generation and the time to get to know them is TODAY!

What’s next for the father and son, Stillman, duo?

We will continue to hit the speaking circuit shedding light on Gen Z with organizations. In addition, we are launching the first global study of Gen Z that will compare/contrast the generation across the globe.

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