Learning Series | Increasing Giving Dollars Through Volunteerism

October 14, 2022

Andy VandenBerg: Alright, Ben. Well, you you were just sharing a very interesting stat before we jumped on. Do you mind repeating that?

Ben Sampson: Fun fact of the day Americans that volunteer for a nonprofit organization on average donate 10 times as much money to that organization compared to those that don't volunteer, which I think is pretty crazy. And a prior stat that we've talked about in the past, and I don't fact check, well go fact check me on this, but I think we had a stat and a past impact report that we did that people that volunteer were 2.4 times more likely to donate. And the reason you and I were brain jamming on this is because we're talking about how to couple corporate giving with corporate volunteering and why that can be such a powerful mechanism.

Andy VandenBerg: Yeah. I mean, those stats logically make sense, right? If you're someone who's engaged, you're gonna wanna volunteer and give. But I think just the magnitude of the impact of volunteering and giving is just crazy. Like you expect Oh, of someone volunteers, they're gonna give a little bit more. But I think that just shows the power of volunteering for an individual.

Ben Sampson: Yeah. It's, it builds trust, right? I think like when we look at, we know that consumer giving, the percentage of consumers that are donating is going down every single year. And so, and that is due to trust around an organization and what's actually happening with those donor daughters. But you give people the opportunity to actually learn about the nonprofit and understand how the nonprofit works and why it's so important. I put myself in their shoes, I would do the exact same thing. Like, okay, like I feel really comfortable donating to those nonprofit now, like heard from the founder, know about the programs I volunteered, like, Okay. Makes sense.

Andy VandenBerg: Yeah. Yeah. And so the people listeningto this are obviously corporate, you know, social responsibility individuals, sustainability individuals, ESG individuals and, you know, knowing those stats,you know, how do, how do you think that, you know, impacts how we advise these individuals to optimize a volunteering program?

Ben Sampson: So I think it, we know that most companies have two big goals, right? They have a fundraising goal, meaning like how many, how much, how many philanthropic dollars are they gonna donate in the fiscal year? Right? That's a big one. And we also know that most of these folks will have an employee engagement goal. And I think just talking about the metrics and I just discussed, you can hit your donor dollar goal much easier, if you're doing employee activation and volunteerism at the same time. And so I know a lot of companies, they, you and I had a, a discussion around, they have a dedicated day for volunteering or a dedicated week of volunteering, call it like the month of service, you know, a week of service, whatever it is. They also have like dedicated giving campaigns. And I think so often we notice that those are siloed and separated, right? Like we have volunteer month, beginning of the year, giving campaign end of the year. And the reality is then what our data suggests is that you should almost couple those two things together. And so if you're trying to hit big, giving goals for specific nonprofit organizations or cause areas, conjunct those volunteer efforts with those giving efforts in one singular campaign, that'll make a huge difference in your donor dollars and hitting those goals across the board.

Andy VandenBerg: Yeah, I mean, we know so much about the dollars for doers programs and I think those have a ton of advantages, right? You know, you're supporting people who independently go out there and volunteer. But I think the connection that, you know, I'm curious how many companies you interact with have the connection between you know, group volunteer engagements, companywide engagements, which obviously are volunteering, team building events, and then the dollars for doers being partof that. Or is it mainly, you know, the individual volunteer goes out there and when they volunteer they get, you know, if they volunteer five hours, they get an extra $200 to, to donate?

Ben Sampson: Yeah, I would say it's a great question and me observing this, about 50% of the companies we're working with are doing a good job at that, right? Like we notice companies that, you know, they do the group volunteer experience regardless of how small the group is, there is a dedicated giving link to their CSR platform, like in the presentation or a call to action to do that in the email or the follow up comments, which is awesome. And then you have a bunch of companies that are just not doing that at all. And I think a lot of that it, I would also say that the companies that are doing that, most of the volunteer engagement efforts, they're stemming from the CSR, ESG team. So they're actively thinking about it versus we have, you know, teams that are volunteering and working with us that are outside the realm of CSR, ESG, right? You know, this could just be like a development team or a sales team that's wanting to give back or volunteer. They haven't really associated with the overall corporate CSR, ESG goals. Yeah. What have you noticed, like, I don't know if you've noticed any trends in that?

Andy VandenBerg: Yeah, I would say it's similar to you. A lot of the, I would almost say it's the midsize companies who have the dedicated CSR are really good about doing this. The large companies have so much going on that that it almost may fall beneath you know, their priority list, which is totally fair. I think what I'm really excited to start seeinga re some of these big companies who have giving Tuesday for example, that's a huge day for giving back in general. And you see a lot of companies try to plan their annual day of giving around that. And so I love to see when companies say, Hey, here are the five main important causes for our company. We're gonna give each employee $50 or a hundred dollars to donate to that nonprofit. Choose which one of the five you care about the most.

Andy VandenBerg: And whichever one you choose, you're gonna be automatically entered into a volunteering event focused on that nonprofit, and you're gonna be combined with other employees who care about the same thing. And, I think the magic of that is obviously you're having a, you know, just a great experience with your company, but it's also magnifying the amount of good you do. You're surrounded by people who all care about giving back to the exact same thing. You are all making a difference from a time and volunteering standpoint and a money standpoint. And I think that is, is a very cool evolution. I'm excited to see happen more and more.

Ben Sampson: Yeah. I like how you flip the model there,right? Like so often we think volunteering to giving big can flip that model i nthat messaging, right? Giving to volunteering being the big perk at the end of that. Yeah. Which is really cool. I think it's a called action programs just to, you know, do your best to understand your employees and what's valuable to them because I see both and I bet you see both two where it's like some employees you could just tell just love the volunteering aspect. Others are just like, Look, I just wanna donate some dollars and I wanna get those matched. And so Yeah. Call to action for companies to figure out what your employees really care about.

Andy VandenBerg: Yeah. Yeah. And I also think it's really beneficial to the nonprofits, right? That that's why everyone's in this, in this field is we're helping great nonprofits do deliver impact. And if you ge tpeople more ingrained in a nonprofit from giving and volunteering, they are more likely to want to bring their family, tell their friends about it, and ultimately just support that nonprofit more.

Ben Sampson: Yeah. Love to hear that. And to all thecompanies that are trying to volunteer and not have a financial contribution to the nonprofit, just again, work that in, like nonprofits need that kind of support. If you can work it in with, you know, these kinds of incentives to do these donations or just work it into the amount of budget you're gonna set aside to do these volunteer efforts, make sure to give that nonprofit financial contribution they need it.

Andy VandenBerg: Yeah, exactly. Any other thoughts on this topic then?

Ben Sampson: No. Data's amazing. I mean, again, just circling back to like, people that volunteer will on average donate 10 times as much money. That's like a wild statistic. And so data speaks. I think it's incredible to see that. And we're gonna just get more data around this. And again, just to call to action for folks to consider linking those volunteer programs with their giving efforts as well. I think it'll make a huge difference for a lot of companies.

Andy VandenBerg: Yeah. Excited to see the data keep improving too. We'll have more and more takeaways on, on how to, you know,improve giving and engagement. So excited about that.

Ben Sampson: Yeah. Final follow thoughts on your end?

Andy VandenBerg: Nope, you've covered it all, Ben. I'm just excited to be back. We're both wearing our WeHero shirts today, so it's a very exciting day.

Ben Sampson: Are you wearing the green one too?

Andy VandenBerg: I am wearing the green one underneath the, the professional shirt. So

Ben Sampson: You got the memo? We wear the red one tomorrow. Okay. Make sure you wear your red one tomorrow.

Andy VandenBerg: Okay. We'll text each other as right before we go to bed to plan our outfits.

Ben Sampson: Awesome. Thanks everybody.

Andy VandenBerg: Yep. Have a great rest of the day.

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Andy VandenBerg
Andy VandenBerg is the co-founder and COO of WeHero where he works closely with hundreds of companies to help them reach their social impact goals. Andy speaks actively about the importance of aligning strategy with social responsibility and how companies can pursue both purpose and profit. Andy’s past experience includes private equity and family office investing. If he’s not in front of his computer, you can find him in the Pacific Ocean or Lake Michigan.
Ben Sampson
Ben Sampson is the co-founder and CEO of WeHero where he works closely with hundreds of companies to help them reach their social impact goals. Ben speaks actively about corporate social responsibility, volunteerism, sustainability, and how companies united with activism drive powerful change. Ben’s past experience includes leading product teams, building startups, and studying sustainable business strategy at Harvard. In his free time, he’s an avid outdoor enthusiast focused on skiing, surfing, and mountain biking.

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