LBG Canada Increases Total Community Footprint by $115M, with Stakeholders

In 2016, stakeholder contributions enabled by LBG Canada companies totalled $115 Million.

$54 Million of that total was employee giving!

 

90% of LBG Canada companies have a matched giving program, typically this involves the company matching dollar-for-dollar a charitable donation made by an employee. Some companies choose to match at a rate of 2:1 for donations made by executives. Matched giving essentially doubles the contribution and conceivably incentivizes charitable behaviour by sending a positive message to employees about the company’s commitment to community.

Matched giving can be completed through payroll deductions and several systems exist to facilitate the process such as United Way, Benevity, Sponsorium and others.

An excellent tool for group fundraising is United Way and we encourage you to read the article posted last month on the SiMPACT website about ENMAX’s positive experience with the United Way. Fundraising activities can be a catalyst for socialization among employees and foster a sense of community at work.

As our friends at Realized Worth would say, it’s important to let employees choose to direct their donation to a charity/charities that matter to them. While the company may have a priority focus area for charitable investments, a matched giving program is equally about honouring employees and the causes that matter to them.

It’s well known that the Millennial generation represents an increasingly larger proportion of the workforce. When you consider that 81% of Millennials expect companies to make a public commitment to good corporate citizenship (IABC), tools such as a matched giving strategy can be used as part of an integrated employee engagement and recruitment strategy.

In summary, employee giving can be an effective way to not only maintain/increase total community investment, but also contribute to an employee engagement strategy. When you consider the average contribution per employee is $206.26, what could that mean for your company?

Community Investment in Tough Economic Times

As companies navigate the economic climate, community investment budgets are often impacted. OIl & Gas, Mining, Manufacturing, Forestry, Retail… the list of companies working through change is endless and ever-changing itself!

Among those that have experienced declines in community investment budgets, companies within LBG Canada demonstrate that a community footprint can be maintained, in partnership with stakeholders.

Between fiscals 2015-2016, 65% of LBG Canada companies demonstrated a decline in community investment expenditure, by an average of 17%. And yet, 30% of those companies increased expenditure in community regardless of a decline in the amount of company investment. Of the companies that managed to increase their stakeholder involvement, this increase represented a change from a decline of 7% to an increase in community impact of 9% on average.

This result has been particularly noticeable in Alberta, where companies have seen tangible participation increases in employee giving programs, in a time of staff layoff, reduced salaries and lower levels of corporate expenditure.

How was this increase achieved? Companies leveraged their stakeholders in two different ways: through increases in employee giving, and through leveraging the contributions of external stakeholders.

Companies that increased employee giving, did so with an average increase of 25% in the contributions made to community by their employees. Those that created an increase through their external stakeholders, whether through direct funds or the contribution of in-kind goods, had an average of 60%!

Though economic uncertainty might have an impact on program budgets, employees and other stakeholders might welcome the opportunity to participate.

Through good times and in bad, how well are you engaging stakeholders?

 

Impact Thinking Enables Strategy

Early in 2016, the LoyaltyOne Corporate Responsibility team was tasked with relaunching the community investment strategy.  Two priorities were clear. Finding opportunities to impact a community issue and engaging LoyaltyOne associates in the process.

As part of their LBG Canada involvement, the team enrolled in a webinar on impact measurement. In that first session, exposure to the LBG Impact Measurement framework launched a strategy path that enabled leadership engagement, increased associate involvement and created opportunities to deepen relationships with new and existing community partners. Gaby Polanco-Sorto, Associate Director, Corporate Responsibility, shares the LoyaltyOne journey and how the LBG impact measurement framework contributed to the new strategy.

 When did you decide that you were going to relaunch your community investment strategy and embark on this process?

Gaby: It happened about a year and a half ago when our CEO shared with us his vision for our community investment strategy. He asked us to identify a theme for our community investment program, a theme where we could have a real, tangible impact. to the goal was to  identify a theme where we could leverage our associates’ interest and passions,  while making a real impact in the community. He wanted to ensure our program had a tangible strategic purpose.

How did you get to the place where you had an idea that you wanted to present to your senior leaders for them to consider?

Gaby: We did interviews and hosted working sessions with our associates to really narrow down what they were passionate about, where they were spending most of their time volunteering, what causes they were giving to; and from that research we were able to identify that programs to impact marginalized children and youth were of real interest to our associates. This is how we came up with the Youth Empowerment Program.  

How did the LBG impact measurement framework help to shape your thinking?   

Desired Impact

Gaby: We had an ‘ah ha’ moment when presented with the concept that all investment in community is about people, organizational or environmental impact.  Identifying where we wanted to have an impact would help us narrow our focus enough to help us make strategic decisions, while not becoming too narrow that it stifled innovation and creativity. We knew we wanted to engage our associates in programs that impacted people.  We knew we would meet CEO expectations if we focused on impact that improved and transformed lives.  

Did the experience lead you to engage with community partners differently? 

Desired ImpactGaby: Absolutely.  We knew that we wanted to have measureable impact, but we let our community partners come to us with ideas on how to impact marginalised children and youth within our primary areas of interest.  

We shared with them the LBG impact measurement framework concept, which stimulated conversation about how their programing could achieve our impact goals.  The framework allowed for flexibility and actually gave the charities more power to let us know what kind of impact they could help us achieve.  After all, they are the experts working in the frontlines. 

Gaby and her team used the LBG impact measurement framework to the fullest. It framed communications between the team and executives, with community partners, and in training of the CEO appointed Youth Empowerment Council as well as LoyaltyOne associates who volunteered to participate on the Associate Donations Committee.

Gaby: When we set up our Youth Empowerment Council to review proposals over $25,000, we included this framework  as part of their training and said this is how we want you to think about impact. This framework helped to shape the type and depth of impact we hope to achieve.

The feedback from that training was extremely positive.

Gaby: It became so clear to everyone, the impact that we wanted to have, without having to create numbers or dashboards. It gave the Council a better sense of how we hope to work with our community partners. It gave us the tools to think strategically, on an on-going basis about the decisions we were making.  It also helped to create a genuine partnership with charities, and redefined the relationship we had with charities we had already been supporting for years.   Most importantly, charities told us they appreciated not having to spend their valuable resources on trying to meet unrealistic reporting requirements that would not reflect the impact they were truly making in the communities.  

We presented the framework in the exact same way to our Executive Team as we did the Youth Empowerment Council and our community partners. Every group appreciated that transparency, and understood that we really want to work as a collective unit to achieve our goals.

Do you think you’ll use the Model on an on-going basis as you roll out your strategy?

Gaby: I absolutely think that it will be on-going. At the end of this year, we will be asking our community partners for a progress report of qualitative and quantitative data using this framework – but the actual metrics will be theirs. 

We will then be able to go back and say this is the framework we used to identify impact, and this is the actual impact we’ve had this first year. We’ve used the LBG Model as a key concept of our strategy.

Two-to-three years from now we want to be able to engage with our clients, charities, government and other corporate organizations that are focusing their efforts on children and youth with the intention of using this framework to help find opportunities for us to collaborate.  

Our senior leaders really value the strengthening of existing partnerships that the Youth Empowerment Program provides, but also recognize the exciting possibility of presenting this across the larger LoyaltyOne community of stakeholders.  

One last thought to share with other interested in impact measurement?

Gaby: Simple is better!!!! Too much effort is often put on measuring impact than actually creating impact – so focus less on numbers and more on a framework that will guide your decision making process. 

For more information on LoyaltyOne’s Youth Empowerment Program visit https://www.loyalty.com/about-us/corporate-responsibility.html

For more information on the LBG Model and the Impact Measurement Framework, please visit lbg-canada.ca 

LBG Canada