What is workplace giving software | How to choose the right CSR software partner for your company

Stéphanie Grawehr June 22, 2021

In this post:

What is workplace giving? 14 Questions you need to ask your potential workplace giving software provider How to make a case to invest in software?

Workplace giving software is often the solution you need to take your CSR efforts from grassroots to global. CSR software enables you to scale your CSR strategy and includes your entire workforce in positive initiatives—no matter where they are in the world. 

However, identifying that you need workplace giving software in the first place is a process in itself, and choosing a software partner is another. This article is here to guide you through workplace giving software and help you understand the right CSR software for your business and CSR growth plans. 

What is workplace giving?

Otherwise known as corporate giving, workplace giving is when a business enables its employees to give back to local and global societies. Workplace giving can be in the form of personal donations, fundraising events, and volunteering time or donating specific in-demand things to a nonprofit in need. 

Workplace giving is usually part of any business’s CSR strategy. It’s usually a strategy to help connect and engage employees in the workplace through a positive and mutually beneficial experience.

What is corporate giving software?

Corporate giving software is the digital tool to help you achieve better corporate giving results. Corporate giving software helps your business to streamline your CSR initiatives and administration, report on your CSR success, and operationally align your CSR program opportunities with employees. 

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When should I invest in corporate giving software?

A corporate giving platform is there to make your life easier. It’s there to connect your CSR or HR teams with employees and employees with causes. There comes the point with any corporate giving initiative where management via various spreadsheets, email chains and Slack conversations becomes too much. 

You may be overwhelmed by the size of your workforce or perhaps the number of nonprofits you’ve got on your books? If that’s the case, now’s a good time to consider a platform and help you easily scale your initiative. 

There also comes the point when leadership and other stakeholders need to start seeing the hard impact your program is making. What do employee engagement rates look like? How much has your business raised for various causes in the last quarter? Juggling this data can be tricky and a process of tying together a lot of loose ends. A corporate giving platform can present that data to you in a few clicks.

14 Questions you need to ask your potential workplace giving software provider

1. Do you go beyond your nonprofit network and offer project sourcing?

When we say network, we mean network. Every business has a different CSR initiative. You’ll need a software provider that gives you the most options possible to find that perfect nonprofit fit with your company and CSR mission.

However, does the potential supplier offer the service of contacting nonprofits to specify needs, create volunteering and giving concepts and keep them up to date within the platform? 

You want more than an address book of charities; you want tailored volunteer experiences depending on your employees’ preferences and geographical locations. 

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2. Can you manage volunteering events-both physical and online?

Managing volunteering events does not come easy: between logistics emails, phone calls, team communications, and more, it’s a lot to juggle. If you can shift your volunteer event management into a software provider, you’ll be thankful for it. 

3. Customer support: Where is the support team located, which languages do they cover, and which time zones do they operate in?

Customer support is critical to your success. No matter how intuitive your software is, there will be times when you need human help, and you need to know your provider is there for you. Find out if there are different levels of support depending on your needs. For example, developing a CSR strategy and program design.

Does the provider’s support team handle in-app bugs quickly, answer other questions, and provide tailored training? 

Plus, will they support beyond program launch? There are a few workplace giving software partners out there that provide support to help you launch. However, look for those partners that provide further support to ensure your software launches successfully and remains successful

4. How customisable is the product?

It’s all well and good having software. However, if you can’t make it your own, then you’ll start to lose the maximum employer branding impact you can achieve with customisable software. 

With fully customisable software, you’ll be able to add your branding for employees and on reports and in-app modules to give everything the personal touch your brand deserves.

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Source: Alaya

5. What social/community-building elements and features do they offer?

This is a big one for you to know. It’s often one of the core reasons businesses onboard a workplace giving software in the first place.

In a now hybrid world, building connections between employees is key to maintaining success—and it’s a bigger challenge than ever before. If your tool can help build community and a sense of togetherness, then you’re contributing toward a healthier, happier and more prosperous company culture. 

For example, does the tool allow employees to create volunteering teams? Are there gamification elements like a point system for engaged volunteers? Can people comment and react to their colleagues’ efforts? 
How does this platform bring people together? Are there newsfeeds that enable employees to share updates, comment and react to each other? Are there gamification elements to make it fun?

6. How engaging is the user experience? How are they ranked by users on software comparison websites, such as G2?

A software provider should be able to provide you with some quantitative and qualitative data around this question. For example, 9 out of 10 of our users would recommend the software to someone else. 

At the very least, a potential provider should be able to direct you to a third-party review page where you can get a clearer understanding of what others think about this. Sites like G2, Capterra, and TrustPilot are all great resources for this.

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7. What workplace apps does the software integrate with?

You want to know if the software you’re considering integrates with tools you’re already using to make this onboarding process as smooth as possible. 

Through Single-Sign-On or other options to make them part of your existing IT landscape. Consider tools like Microsoft Azure, OKTA and Google.

8. Does the software allow payroll giving?

Payroll giving will make your entire workplace giving program that much smoother for employees and that much more successful. 

Does the software allow easy opt-in payroll giving (and opt-out)? Do employees have a clear overview of how much they are donating and receive regular reminders about their donations? By setting up payroll giving, you remove the friction of having to make a one-off donation.

9. Does the software allow donation matching?

Your software should give a clear overview of donation matching—letting employees know their donation has been matched by your business and received by the nonprofit. 

Find out how the software notifies employees of this and how it encourages them to donate more next time.

10. Is there an option for single sign-on (SSO)?

For security measures and ease of use, single sign-on is a great option for your employees and their data.

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Source: Alaya

11. Is their software really global

Applying the term global to software doesn’t necessarily mean that it is. Just because the provider operates in different countries, it may not mean they’re as prepared as they should be to become a success there. 

For example, does the provider offer multiple language options? (both in-app and human support.) Does the provider deal with different currencies, and cultural specificities? 

Does the provider deal with different insurance policies that adapt to local markets, and are their tax deduction incentives correct for each country’s policies? On that topic, does the provider help you deduct donations and even volunteering hours from taxes?
It doesn’t end there; where is their support team located, what languages do they use, and what timezones do they work on?

12. What are the software costs?

Find out what costs your business can expect and how you’ll be charged. Plus, get a clear outline of what features or services are included and what you need to pay extra for. 

This is important to know as you’ll need to justify costs when building your business case and building your business objectives for your workplace giving software. 

Look beyond the software costs too. Find out if there are implementation costs, if the provider takes a percentage of donations, are the nonprofits being charged anything? Plus, if there are any costs as you begin to grow and require more users or features. 

Plan ahead and understand how much the software will cost your business now, in one year, two years, and five years down the line—and what you expect to grow beneficially for your business alongside that.

13. What are the communication features?

Different software providers have different communication tools and integrations. Does the software you’re considering make it easy to create buzz around your program and activities? Is there a newsfeed to make it easy for employees to share updates and activities, comment and react? You’ll need your software to be the go-to place for CSR initiatives.

14. What is the mobile experience like?

There’s a high chance your workforce will be using the platform on their mobile—especially if you have a non-desk workforce

Take a look at what the provider looks like on mobile. How are their UX and UI? Will it be a happy place for your employees to roam, or will they simply get frustrated with the product and abandon your initiative? 

How to make a case to invest in software?

Now you have your questions set and know-how to accurately assess if a workplace giving software fits your business and CSR strategy. Next, it’s time to build a business case and convince your boss. You can do this by following the next four steps.

Identify current workplace giving pain points

What’s holding your program back right now or causing process friction? A few recurring problems we see for businesses without software are: 

  • Finding trusted nonprofits to work with 
  • Taking volunteering and giving initiatives remote
  • Scaling the corporate giving program
  • Winning employee CSR adoption and engagement 
  • Tracking & measure the program’s progress

If you can identify with any of the above problems, then showcase real examples of where this has happened for your business that leadership can recognise.

Use case studies to further your proposal

One Alaya partner was previously managing their workplace giving program manually. They split tasks between two program managers and organised around 15 events per year for around 1,000 employees company-wide. 

By digitising their CSR initiatives with Alaya, this company could automate processes and cut down CSR admin hours by 20%, that’s 1880 working hours per year. 
Feel free to use other Alaya case studies that directly address your pain points and how onboarding a CSR partner can help to solve them.

List the benefits of a corporate giving software for your company

Beyond addressing your company’s direct pain points, there are many benefits to onboarding a workplace giving software partner. Here are a few more benefits for you to get into your business case. 

  1. Time-saving: your CSR partner and software handle the most time-consuming tasks, so you can focus on the areas of the program you love. 
  2. Higher chances of increased participation rates: Your CSR program partner is on hand to strategise how to maximise participation and adoption rates. 
  3. Easier to track & measure impact: with built-in reporting options, you’ll be able to generate detailed reports for stakeholders in a few clicks. 
  4. A global network of nonprofit partners: pick local or global, online or offline partners for your business and employees to back. 
  5. Digital experience: it’s never been easier for employees to virtually connect with a cause and build a community around their passions.
  6. Fully customisable: in-app messaging, reporting, and communication tools to give your software a look and feel your employees recognise. 
  7. Lower CSR costs: when you calculate employee time, operational costs, and administration fees, things can add up with CSR. However, minimise that by onboarding software to minimise spend elsewhere, and maximise impact.
  8. Improved communication: workplace giving software is the one-stop-shop for all your purpose initiatives; it brings the entire company together.  
  9. A mobile experience: makes it easy for you to reach and engage with frontline workers so they can still feel connected with the company. 

By this point, you should have a clear idea of the workplace giving software that’s the best fit for your business’s CSR needs.

Outline the implementation plan with an internal pitch

Last on your list? Make that all-important pitch to internal stakeholders. This is delivered best as a live presentation, but it can be hard to gather leadership in the same (digital) room at the same time. 

Consider other ways to ‘pitch’ your plan outside of a call. Tools like Screencastify or Loom are great for pre-recording pitches and avoiding calendar bottle-necks.  

It’s hyper-important to outline your plan of action in your pitch so that people can get a clear understanding of a roll-out plan and when they can expect to start seeing benefits from the program. 

Doing this also highlights the little lift it will require from them if you’re using software to do the heavy lifting. We’ve prepared an email template and presentation template you can use to get started.

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Ready to invest in corporate giving software?

If this article has highlighted that now’s the time to invest in workplace giving software and you’re in a good position to launch this search, let’s start right here. We’re just an email or phone call away and can answer any further questions you need. 

Onboard a corporate giving software today and start reaping the benefits that come with it.

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