Back

Yes& News , Digital , Marketing & PR , Yes& General , Associations

Building a Buzz Around Workplace Giving

Robert W. Sprague

There should be a direct and overt connection between an organization’s “giving back” initiatives and its core values.

If there is no such connection? Maybe the values aren’t really values—or maybe the giving back is a thinly-disguised PR play.

If there is a connection? Giving back is a powerful way to build engagement with hard-to-recruit and hard-to-retain employees.

There should be a direct and overt connection between an organization’s “giving back” initiatives and its core values.

If there is no such connection? Maybe the values aren’t really values—or maybe the giving back is a thinly-disguised PR play.

If there is a connection? Giving back is a powerful way to build engagement with hard-to-recruit and hard-to-retain employees.

It has become very clear that Millennials and GenZers, particularly (but not exclusively), are looking for jobs with meaning and employers with purpose. They are quick to resign from positions that do not align with their personal values, and eager to join with organizations that they see serving a social good.

The missing link may be awareness. Like the proverbial tree falling in the forest, giving back initiatives may not evoke a connection to an organization’s values without specific engagement efforts. Consider these steps:

1. Revisit your core values.

Are they really core? Are they distinctive? Are they part of day-to-day discourse at your organization?

A great definition from Jim Collins, author of Built to Last, is that real core values are things organizations do all the time—even if it hurts them. Real core values should be on the tip of everyone’s tongue, frequently quoted, and consulted specifically when challenging decisions need to be made. Otherwise, no matter how good they look on the poster, they’re probably not core values.

2. Revisit your ESG program.

Are the causes and organizations you are giving to congruent with your value system?

For example, if your organization claims “diversity” as a core value, it certainly must actively support the advancement of diverse individuals and groups, even if such support risks alienating core stakeholders. Similarly, can you point to the ways that you are giving back to “integrity” and “teamwork”?

3. Crowdsource your giving decisions.

Donations are nice. Giving back in ways that are identified, suggested, and shared with employees are better. Consider all the ways you can involve your employee population in ESG decision-making, as well as actual social action. The dividends in pride and alignment will be much stronger and more sincere if your people have a role in determining where the giving goes.

4. It’s not just money.

One of the most powerful statements an organization makes is to pay its employees to serve. The resulting in-kind giving is often of equal or greater value, and it has the additional benefit of generating camaraderie, shared experiences, and rich corporate lore.

5. Tell the story.

Communicating about giving back is delicate. Bragging about giving back is unseemly and inauthentic. But the power of ESG initiatives to inspire, align, and build loyalty can’t be realized without making their existence known. In the best case, giving back becomes a part of an organization’s fabric, encoded in its DNA. Achieving this requires ongoing, consistent, and carefully crafted storytelling and storydoing.

Yes& has seen the value of its own giving boost alignment with our I’ll-Get-Your-Back-itude core value and “positivity + possibility” brand. If we can help you assess your own ESG program and build a buzz, internally or externally, please give…us a call.

Yes& is the Washington, DC-based marketing agency that brings commercial, association, and government clients the unlimited power of “&” – using a full suite of branding, digital, event, marketing, public relations, and creative capabilities to deliver meaningful and measurable results.

Let’s talk about what the power of "&" can do for you.

Robert W. Sprague
Robert W. Sprague
President & CEO

More Insights

You might also like these articles. Sign up for our monthly newsletter for updates, insights and general tomfoolery.

SUBSCRIBE

Yes& General

Lara Mandell

It’s simple, really. To ensure your company's success, you want to hire and retain the best people. The clients will quickly follow. Upcoming college graduations offer one of the best ways to build a solid talent pipeline from the bottom up. Companies have the opportunity to hire high potential college interns and recent graduates who provide new and fresh ideas that will help the company grow and improve. By partnering with colleges, companies can inspire the next generation of professionals while staying engaged and up to date on marketing trends. Bringing in college students allows companies to develop early talent that can become the next leaders of their organizations. At Yes&, we are constantly looking for new talent—and some of the most innovative ideas come from our Yes&terns. We continuously strive to deliver the best quality of work for our clients and look for team members who are both skilled and passionate about the work. Our internship program is selective, pulling from top area marketing programs. Our Yes&ternship program allows interns to get a glimpse of what working at a marketing agency is like—so that before they accept an entry level role, they know it is the right fit for them. The program is structured so that interns spend equal time learning and working. The program offers internship classes where students have the opportunity to learn from employees throughout the agency, participate in a course of study, and contribute their ideas to different projects. The ultimate goal of the program is to provide interns with an experience that encourages them to want to work for Yes& after they graduate. At the end of the program, interns have the opportunity to reflect on what they have learned at Yes& or talk about a significant project. By going back and reflecting on what they have done during their time at Yes&, interns have the chance to understand what they have learned during their time at the agency. Not only are these presentations one of our interns’ favorite parts of the program, but they are also exciting for their mentors and executive committee to witness.

Yes& General

Lara Mandell

A new generation has arrived, and it’s time to welcome them into the workplace. They’re socially conscious, creative, want their voices to be heard, and love a good bargain. If you haven’t guessed it by now, we’re talking about Gen Z. Associations are beginning to shift their focus to targeting members of Gen Z. Members of Gen Z are finishing up their time in higher education. Now they’re beginning to enter their careers and explore the different paths they can take. They are searching for the best learning opportunities, the best networking, and the strongest professional development path. As associations are scrambling to connect with the next generation of members, they should consider the unique perspectives Gen Z can bring to the workplace. Associations can accomplish this by partnering with colleges to activate the next generation of members while they are finishing their time in higher education. Offer career development and learning opportunities. It’s time to bring Gen Z into the fold. Associations can learn from this generation by inviting them to participate in the conversation while they are still in college and share their voices regarding what matters to them. By offering internship programs and partnering with students in higher education, you can provide mentorship for the next generation, while also working towards building a pipeline of potential members. Be authentic. Gen Z wants to be part of an organization, or a community rather, with shared values. They are loyal to their beliefs and can easily detect if you aren’t being true to your organization's mission. They value advocacy and activism, and aren’t afraid to hold organizations accountable if they aren’t upholding their beliefs. Take advantage of social media. Gen Z’s virtual content consumption and creation is unlike other generations. Associations can use social media as a resource for Gen Z to find information quickly about the company culture, recent news, and available internships and full-time positions. Start by exploring and getting involved in new channels and testing out different marketing tactics to reach and engage Gen Z. Gen Z can help fill in gaps of learning, networking, and connections that many have lost due to the pandemic. Gen Z is ready to have their voices be heard—and it is an opportunity your association does not want to miss.

Yes& General

Yes&

Yes& (formerly Beyond Definition) was recently named a Merit Winner by SPD for its 57th Annual Winners List. Yes& is proud to be recognized by the prestigious competition for its design of the “Chew on This” feature opener in the October 2021 issue of NACS Magazine.

Yes& General

Anna-Marie Montague

Be Appealing, Distinctive – and, Above All, Authentic