Employee Giving Recognition Recommendations

January 12th, 2011

A client sent in a general inquiry about employee recognition. Excerpts are included  below  I thought the answers might be useful to many of you, especially healthcare fundraisers interested in promoting employee giving.  And do remember, theoretically, the same thinking applies to all staff, volunteer and auxiliary giving program recognition.

I would be interested to hear your thoughts on employee recognition in the new facility.  Should we have an employee donor recognition “wall?”  I’m having a hard time with the concept of recognizing some employees (at $500-above, for example) vs. all employee donors (probably impossible due to the #.)  Will this be positive or create tension/envy among employees?   I am also wondering if we should consider recognition of the employees as a united group within the major donor wall at their level of contribution?

We responded with the following general “rules of thumb” that may be useful to many of you:

• Facility-based recognition helps build employee giving programs specifically because the employees see the display often.  And as we all know, is important to demonstrate the support from our employees.  Doing so builds confidence with other constituent groups.

• Traditionally, employee giving is separated from and given less prominence than other listings, because the volume of names can be visually overpowering.  We usually recommend employee giving to be displayed using different materials than is used for major donor recognition, thereby giving those major givers a bit more prominence.

• Some organizations have an employee campaign for every major project and permanently recognize those employee givers at a location specific to the project.  Other organizations choose to centralize employee recognition in a display that is fully updated with each new campaign or project.  A very few organizations do both!  In that model, if an employee wishes to remain on the list, he or she would need be an active donor, giving again to each new project.

• Most organizations set a very low entry point for employees in order to be inclusive.  This can create enormously large lists.  Should the list be deemed unmanageable, a higher entry level should be considered with the next project.

• Focus on the percentage of growth in the program, not the percentage of your employees who give. “We doubled participation!” (Only you and your colleagues need know, for instance, that only 20% of the total pool give).  Public recognition is the best way to encourage incremental growth in an employee giving program.

• Employee recognition is almost always listed in alphabetical order, with no indication of gift amount.  Those employees who give enough to achieve the totals appropriate to “major” or “cumulative” gift level categories are listed in both the employee and community donor lists.

• Employees, as a group, should be recognized as a major donor, in line with the gift level categories for all major donors to the project or within the cumulative giving society. Again, this encourages repeat giving. After all, the objective is always to keep the listing “upwardly-mobile” within your gift level categories and this also applies to volunteers, auxiliaries and other such groups that give.

If your employee recognition has been especially successful, or if you are facing a particular challenge regarding recognition of your employees, share your comments here.  We can all benefit from these shared experiences!