"The event at Baby2Baby has changed the way I look at giving back. The impact of these donations makes or breaks families. I will definitely be going back and give a helping hand or give products as much as I can! Such an awesome team of people that work there and cause they work for!"
Storytelling is a hot marketing buzzword these days, and for good reason. It's a valuable tool for many aspects of business, and a particularly important practice when it comes to community impact.
Successful volunteer and giving program directors understand that storytelling makes a big difference in how their efforts impact their chosen causes -- as well as their employees and corporate community. They know that how you communicate information about your volunteer and giving program plays a critical role in whether your volunteer program soars or flops.
Want to know their secret?
Keep it real and keep it simple.
As the founder of a company that helps businesses manage their volunteer and giving programs, I know that it's tough to engage employees in volunteerism. Personalizing your program's activities creates stories that stick, and sticky stories keep the momentum of these programs going.
"I initially planned to stay only for the morning session, but had so much fun that I stayed until the very end. SUCH AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE WITH EVERYONE THAT WAS THERE!"
That's why we love to see when companies humanize their community outreach efforts by capturing first-person stories around these activities. Like Causecast client The Honest Company, an eco-friendly business that's as dedicated to giving back as it is to creating safe products for babies and families.
When The Honest Company created a series of ongoing volunteering opportunities for Baby2Baby, it encouraged its employees to express what one of its days of volunteering meant to them. Baby2Baby is an L.A. nonprofit that delivers essential baby gear and clothing to more than 50,000 children each year, a natural nonprofit fit for a company aligned around the well-being of children - which explains why Honest founder Jessica Alba serves on the board of Baby2Baby. Incidentally, Baby2Baby's mission is particularly relevant in light of a new study by the medical journal Pediatrics, which found that 30 percent of mothers have struggled to pay for diapers and more than 8 percent of low-income moms reuse soiled diapers on their children. The study's researchers concluded that diaper need (a key focus of Baby2Baby) seriously affects maternal stress, child health, and child development.
"I was just hired as the new West Coast Regional Sales Manager and my actual start date at Honest isn't until August 5, but once I heard about this volunteer opportunity I absolutely wanted to be involved. I brought along my husband and one of my girlfriends, and we all had a fantastic time volunteering for Baby2Baby and learning about its mission, while also meeting so many down-to-earth Honest employees. I'm so grateful to be involved with a company that champions such an important cause and look forward to many more volunteer opportunities in the future."
For the day of volunteering, Honest employees unloaded an entire semi-truck full of donations, packed 160 gift bags for specific children in need, sorted through incoming donation bins and stocked Baby2Baby's warehouse with Honest products (to the tune of $333k worth of products). An impressive effort that marshalled human and financial resources in a big way; good thing that Honest maximized the impact by empowering its best brand ambassadors - its employees - to memorialize the event.
"I had so much fun on Saturday with everyone! It was great to spend extra time bonding with our Honest Family and giving back at the same time. It was especially rewarding to be packing up gift bags for specific children. I felt like I was making a difference in a particular child's life and gave extra thought when picking out toys and clothes for the child. Knowing exactly whom the bag was going to made it more personal and I even got picky with the things I thought they would like better or wouldn't like. It was also great to experience firsthand how Honest is helping out our community with our donations. It provided insight for when we talk to our members. Another highlight was bringing friends/family to the event to meet and connect with my co-workers. It felt great bringing them into an area of my life where I spend so much time and sharing the experience of giving back, which is a main part of our company ethos."
One day delivered results, both to Honest's community and its employees. And Honest recognized the value in capturing this experience through authentic storytelling from the people who were actually involved. Their enthusiastic voices ring loudly and true about Honest's community impact in a way that a slickly packaged press release could never match. And that translates into greater excitement around their volunteer program, increased likelihood of high participation in future volunteer events and higher levels of employee engagement around the company in general.
"The very moment that I picked a name from the giving tree was the moment I felt a part of a child's potential joy. I could just imagine the little girl smiling as she reached for goodies out of the bag I filled...feeling pretty in her new clothes...warmth and comfort with her soft new blanket...connected to her mom as she reads her bed time stories from her new books...clean and rejuvenated with her Honest body wash. All of this came to me as I delicately folded her gifts into her gift bag - I was excited for her to feel like it was Christmas in July because it's the joy all children deserve to feel every day!"
Make sure you have a story that sticks. Take a page from Honest and let your employees tell your story for you.