Getting People to Give: Being Inefficiently Effective

It’s the giving season here at Clorox. This week we kicked off our annual GIFT Campaign (Get Involved For Tomorrow). Employees can give to any nonprofit, and the company matches the donations up to a certain amount.

Last year, overall participation was a record-setting 57 percent. This is compared to participation rates in the 30-something percent range just a few years ago. We’ve refined and improved our communication efforts over the years, but I believe the real reason for this participation jump has been the introduction of employee “GIFT ambassadors.”

This year close to 250 employee ambassadors will walk the halls of our offices and manufacturing facilities in their red shirts answering questions, hosting celebrations and basically checking in with people about the campaign. I wouldn’t have predicted something like this would made such a difference, but in hindsight it makes sense.

It’s the human touch — individuals talking to one another, sharing their story and offering to help. It’s seeing another person live by good example and wanting to do your part too. It’s being reminded that we are part of a broader community and that all of our actions and efforts and frankly, our money, add up and make difference.

Last year, our employees, together, raised $4.6 million to help 2,600 nonprofit organizations make this a better world.

Smart phones and technology and online forums are great and efficient and fun, but sometimes the best results come from a simple, face-to-face, inefficient, hey-how’s-it-going check-in.