Wake up daily to our latest coverage of business done better, directly in your inbox.


Get your weekly dose of analysis on rising corporate activism.

Select Newsletter

By signing up you agree to our privacy policy. You can opt out anytime.

7 Ways Companies Can Engage Remote Employees in CSR Programs


By Wauker Matthews

Let's say you smile and wave at a passerby one morning. Chances are, that person will then go on to smile and wave at another stranger. And so on and so forth. You've effectively created a chain of positivity -- just with one small, simple action.

Everyone has a better day because of it. Your choice to smile has brightened the world a little.

In the modern business world, transparency, authenticity and CSR have that same kind of effect on a grander scale.

What is CSR?

Corporate social responsibility (CSR), also known as corporate conscience, aims to positively involve companies with their communities in a way that is mutually beneficial.

In a way, when companies act responsibly and give back to their communities, they're setting off a positive chain reaction much like smiling and waving at a neighbor.

Not every company invests in this kind of sustainable business practice, though. Having remote employees can make it difficult for a business to get everyone involved in their CSR programs.

How do you get people who aren't in the vicinity in on the positivity?

If your company has remote employees, we have seven successful ways to get them involved with your CSR initiatives.

1. Make it easy and on-the-go

One of the absolute best ways to get remote employees involved in your company's CSR programs is to offer a way for them to donate to causes on the go.

Instead of going desk-to-desk to try to garner support for a program, your company needs only to launch a mobile fundraising campaign. Although starting a mobile fundraising campaign may sound intimidating, once you get started, it's surprisingly easy.

There are several ways to implement a successful mobile fundraising campaign. Chief among those ways is creating a text-to-give option for your company or organization.

It's quick and user-friendly, and who doesn't have their cell phone on them 24/7?

Take advantage of the mobile world in which we live.

For employees who are just out of reach, sending out an email that simplifies donating to charity can be a great way to help them engage in CSR.

 In that email, you can also include information for how to give via text.

Take a cue from churches: They're at the forefront of using text-to-give technology for fundraisingAnd they know how to use social media to promote it.

If donating is made intuitive and easy (and as accessible as a text message), even employees who never set foot in the office can feel connected.

2. Proactively highlight matching gift programs

Another great way to spread the joy (and the wealth), matching gift programs bring companies together with individuals to double their donations.

Matching gifts allow employees to donate to their favorite charities with the knowledge that their donations will be met, within reason, by their employers.

There are, of course, minimums -- usually $25 -- and maximums -- up to $15,000 with some companies. Regardless of the limitations, it's a great way to incentivize charitable giving.

But how will your remote employees ever know about this revolutionary opportunity if you never let them know?

The key is to highlight your company's matching gift programs by any means available to you.

Some of the best places to feature information about matching gifts include:

  • In emails

  • Across social media

  • Through any communications platforms your company uses

  • In the latest company newsletter

Once they know about your company's willingness to match their donations, they will be far more likely to donate themselves.

3. Pick a cause of the month

Why not allow your employees -- remote and otherwise -- the opportunity to become advocates for their favorite causes?

It's extremely easy to get started. Just allow your employees to help pick a new cause to support each month or quarter.

The most important factor, and the one that will keep your remote employees engaged, is to choose causes and organizations that are national or international but also have localized counterparts.

Some great national and international charities that have local branches are:

  • Habitat for Humanity. It's an international nonprofit, but there are smaller branches everywhere.

  • United Way. Technically, a worldwide organization, but there are volunteer sites all over the U.S.

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters. A national mentoring nonprofit that has outposts in every city or state in the country.

The list goes on, but the point is to select a cause each month or quarter that has branches in every location that you have employees.

You can even have your employees vote for their favorite cause via email. The cause with the most responses will determine the following month's charity.

4. Encourage employees to stay involved with their alumni associations

Few things can compare to the swell of pride people experience when they're talking about their alma mater.

College is a magical time in most people's lives. A lot of people remind in touch with that time through alumni associations.

One of the top ways to engage your remote employees is by encouraging them to stay active with their colleges' alumni associations.

Many colleges and universities will launch capital campaigns in order to fund specific projects. Getting involved with a capital campaign is an easy and accessible way for your remote employees to feel like they're doing some tangible good.

Capital campaigns are sometimes called "brick-and-mortar" campaigns because they often fund large-scale projects like new buildings. Make sure your remote employees are aware of their schools' efforts by:

  • Including information in newsletters.

  • Sending out email reminders.

  • Subscribing your office to listservs.

However you keep them abreast, it's crucial that they stay in-the-know. If they feel that they're making concrete contributions to a cause they truly care about, they will be more than happy to donate.

To learn more about capital campaigns, check out this Ultimate Guide.

5. Host a "day of volunteering" (with a twist)

Hosting a "day of volunteering" is pretty self-explanatory. The twist comes with making it remote-friendly.

Just as you would with any other volunteering day, you would need to:

  • Decide on a project or cause. Make sure the cause is local as well as national.

  • Assign project leaders who can also coordinate with your remote employees.

  • Create checklists for the projects.

  • Email all pertinent information to every participant.

  • Establish a way to keep all participants accountable for the work they do.

  • Have fun with it! Make team T-shirts that can be mailed out to all participants.

The key to making a day of volunteering fun is to make it feel like a team sport, even if some of your team members are in other cities.

It should be about camaraderie and a shared sense of purpose. Philanthropy has an amazing way of tying people together.

6. Incentivize your employees by allowing them to lead

Studies have shown that employees who feel fully engaged are 2.5 times more likely to exceed their performance expectations than their disengaged counterparts.

How do you make remote employees feel more fully engaged with your CSR programs?

The answer is simple: You allow them to be more autonomous. You let them lead.

Whether that means they pick their own charities to support financially or they host their own fundraising events, as long as they feel like they're the responsible party, they're bound to feel more fully engaged.

There's nothing quite as rewarding as hosting a successful fundraiser or supporting a local charity, both monetarily and with volunteer efforts. Give your remote employees the opportunity to be the boss and make the decisions.

You might be surprised by what they come up with.

In fact, you may be tempted to adopt their social responsibility ideas for you next year's programs. Perhaps they'll inspire you to institute a matching gift program.

In any case, allowing your remote employees to establish their own programs is sure to have a positive impact -- not only on the world, but also on your employees.

7. Create a competitive advantage

Everyone loves a healthy dose of competition.

When you're planning your CSR programs, be sure to create some (friendly) competition.

You can have your in-office employees compete against your remote employees, or you can have your remote employees compete against one another.

Either way, making things more competitive will make things a little more interesting for everyone. 

Offer incentives for the winners--whether it's an extra paid day off or a gift card to a nice restaurant.

Make sure your incentives are worth working toward, and you're bound to have your employees both near and far competing to raise the most money for charity or volunteer the most hours.

Overall, keeping your remote employees engaged is fairly simple.

It's just a matter of creating opportunities that allow them to be just as hands-on as your in-office employees.

Everyone loves to feel like they're part of the team.

By making your whole company feel like members of the same team, you create a positive work environment that also just happens to be socially responsible!

Image credit: Pixabay

Wauker Matthews is Director of Sales at @Pay, an exciting new fundraising technology that makes it easy for people to give in just a few clicks from text, email, web, and social media. Wauker has been in brand & business development for over 8 years, helping organizations grow in both size and reach.

3p Contributor

TriplePundit has published articles from over 1000 contributors. If you'd like to be a guest author, please get in touch!

Read more stories by 3p Contributor

More stories from Leadership & Transparency