Ideas and Examples to Make Your Next Employee Charitable Giving Campaign and Fundraising Events as Fun as LGA's
When you think of the word “fun” insurance isn’t likely the first thing that pops into your head, but in our two decades of facilitating Legal & General America’s (LGA) Charitable Giving Campaign, “fun” is exactly how we’d describe the employees at LGA and their approach to workplace giving.
As part of the London-based Legal & General Group Plc., which has been one of the world’s leading multinational financial services companies since 1836, Legal & General America’s insurance products are sold in all 50 U.S. states, including D.C., through its companies, Banner Life Insurance Company and William Penn Life Insurance Company of New York.
LGA’s charitable giving campaign is just one of several philanthropic and social responsibility initiatives the insurance company invests in as part of its commitment to creating a sustainable future for the community and its customers.
“We are absolutely thrilled to make life better for our local communities, by supporting them through our Charity Campaign,” said Mark Holweger, president and CEO of Legal & General America. “The passion and generosity our colleagues display each year throughout our campaigns is amazing.”
Each fall, LGA employees, with help from the community, participate in a two-week fundraising campaign packed with fun Spirit competitions, activities, and ticketed events. In addition to supporting the charity(ies) of their choice through payroll deduction salary pledges, employees are also invited to rally together in support of featured charities that are selected annually by a charity committee. Formed by a group of employees and leadership team members that change from year to year, the committee narrows the list of charity contenders down to one or two organizations (national and local) based on a set of criteria, with the committee chairperson ultimately getting the honor of selecting the final featured charities. Information about the featured charities’ impact is highlighted on LGA’s employee giving site and those organizations also receive money raised through the group’s Spirit week fundraising events. Past sponsored charities have included Boys & Girls Club of Stamford, Boys & Girls Club of Frederick County, Student Homelessness Initiative Partnership (SHIP) of Frederick County, America’s VetDogs, Second Chances Garage, ThanksUSA, and Heartly House.
While LGA has held their fun Spirit competitions and events for years, 2020 marked the first year their events became digital, due to restrictions put in place to ensure colleague safety during the Covid-19 pandemic. Determined to continue showing LGA’s charity spirit despite not being able to host their normal in-person events, they created several virtual games, presentations, interactive sessions, and other activities that people could take part in from all around the country. To capture the “Spirit Week” feel and keep staff engagement high, they offered daily challenges with prizes utilizing all the digital platforms at their disposal, including their intranet, Teams, Zoom, email, and social media. With the charity drive running in the fall, they had plenty of Halloween and Fall-themed daily activities people could get creative with and enjoy.
Shifting from a traditional in-person charity drive to a completely digital campaign has its challenges. Initially, engagement was a concern, but the best thing about running charity drive events – whether they take place in-person or virtually – is the chance to connect with colleagues and build camaraderie while supporting a good cause together. LGA’s team became much more familiar with collaboration tools such as Teams and Zoom and had a lot more fun using those platforms than they initially thought they would. Employees showed true charitable spirit and were determined to not let Covid-19 defeat them or their ability to raise money for some amazing and worthwhile causes. In fact, including the company’s generous match (each employee’s donation is matched dollar for dollar), LGA set a new fundraising record generating more than $900,000 with their newly-formatted digital campaign.
It is amazing how generous people are with their energy, thoughts, time, and money – even when challenging times force us to change how things are done. Thankfully, LGA was able to bring back some in-person events this past campaign, but they have continued incorporating the digital approach for their fundraising events due to the success and engagement they have experienced. The digital approach has also allowed them to streamline their ticketed activities, simplifying the collection of registrant information and offering convenient ways for employees to purchase event tickets.
LGA packs in a lot of activities and competitions into their two-week campaign, but a lot of their employee engagement and fundraising success stems from the diversity and multitude of events offered. Their team is also extremely organized about how they schedule events and have been creative about selling tickets as well. Employees can buy bundles of tickets if they want to participate in all of LGA’s Spirit competitions, raffles, and ticketed activities or they can choose to buy individual tickets for raffles and specific activities.
“As chair, I would highly recommend organizing a calendar of ticketed events that people can take part in but also be respectful of peoples’ work schedules, which is where the more passive daily challenges (i.e. submit a photo of your pet dressed for Halloween or your best Fall door wreath) come in,” says Steve Burton, LGA’s 2020 campaign chair.
For employers interested in replicating Legal & General America’s success, here are a few things to factor in:
- Inclusion and leadership buy-in: One of the things our team loves about working with LGA is their collaborative approach – not just with us, but with their internal team as well. They do a great job giving employees across all departments a chance to be involved not just in participating in the campaign, but also in planning it – and they do so alongside leadership. This campaign is not treated passively or as another box they check. A lot of creativity and careful consideration about current community needs goes into this event each year and by including so many different team members in the planning process there is a clear sense of ownership and pride in the results they accomplish together.
- Incentives and Choices: While there are a couple charities LGA features each year, they understand the importance of letting employees support causes that are important to them, so they include a huge variety of 501(c)3 nonprofits for employees to support. To further demonstrate its commitment to the community and employees’ charitable interests, LGA offers a generous dollar for dollar match effectively doubling their collective impact. This incentive is how they are able to raise so much money for charity each year.
- Fun: LGA’s team plans a lot of events. They include some fun activities specifically to engage employees with kids or pets, invite guest speakers who speak about specific charitable causes, encourage employees to show off their singing voices, exchange their favorite recipes, bring out their arts and craft skills, and have a little friendly competition through a host of sporting events – and that’s just to name a few! To give you a sense of what they do each year, here’s a copy of the calendar of competitions and ticketed activities they hosted this past year. If you already hold a kick-off event and a couple events and are looking to boost participation and morale, definitely take a look at the calendar we shared above for some inspiration from LGA. If you are just starting your program, you might want to keep it simple and start out with a kick-off event plus a few activities to get a sense of employee interest first. You can easily add more events and try new activities each year. In addition to the LGA-inspired examples above, you can also find more ideas here and here.