At Anthem, GivingTuesday Was a Way to Engage Everyone In Corporate Social Responsibility

According to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer survey, 67% of respondents expressed an expectation that prospective employers will “join them in taking action on societal issues.” Last year, the Benevity Engagement Study, which looked at the link between participation in corporate social impact programs and employee retention at Fortune 1000 companies, showed that turnover dropped by an average of 57% within employee groups that were actively participating in their company’s giving and volunteering efforts. What this tells us is that corporate goodness sparks an array of benefits, not just for recipients, but within the workplace culture as well.

With all of this in mind, several years ago the Anthem Foundation team started to look at ways it could boost participation in Anthem’s corporate giving and volunteering initiatives, with the end goal of increasing engagement and amplifying our collective impact. One opportunity to build on the Foundation’s year-round commitment is through GivingTuesday, the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving. GivingTuesday is all about ordinary people coming together in unison to do extraordinary things. As the day has grown in popularity, it offered an excellent opportunity to rally Anthem associates around a host of great causes and ignite a passion for action that fuels even more goodness year round.

Here’s what we at Anthem have learned about generating more excitement, participation and engagement on GivingTuesday, which has in turn generates more excitement, participation and engagement in a workplace culture that prioritizes community and purpose.

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  • Spread the word – If you want people to get excited about something, you need to tell them about it! For GivingTuesday, Anthem begins internal communications in advance to generate excitement leading up to and throughout the big day. From screensavers and TV monitors across campuses showing our progress throughout the day, to an intranet “takeover” complete with podcasts and testimonials from Anthem Foundation’s nonprofit partners, GivingTuesday creates a unique buzz that everyone is talking about during the holiday season!
  • Make participation simple and inclusive – Technology enables our CSR program to be successful. Our CSR platform makes it easy and seamless for people to learn about causes, donate money and track volunteer hours with just a few clicks, and they can participate from anywhere, which ensures that every associate – across any of the states in which we operate – is included. Since deploying the technology, Anthem has seen a big increase in giving, not just on Giving Tuesday, but throughout the year, and we continually hear from our associates about how the platform makes it incredibly simple for them to give.
  • Get personal – A heartfelt story or peer-to-peer, personal call to action really does make a difference. Anthem encourages associates and leaders to share personal stories about why they give to a particular cause. This helps personalize the Foundation’s efforts and motivates others to join in on the “why.”
  • Incentivize engagement through rewards – Associates love it when their employer joins them in supporting the issues and causes that they are most passionate about. On GivingTuesday, Anthem Foundation increases its donation match to $2 to $1 instead of $1 to $1 for its signature charities, giving associates an extra incentive to donate. The Foundation also doubles rewards for volunteer hours beginning over the Thanksgiving holiday through December 5 to give people the option of donating their time to help causes in their local communities.
  • Don’t forget to have fun – GivingTuesday shouldn’t be a chore. At Anthem, the entire day is a celebration of generosity and purpose. We make it fun and interactive by introducing a little friendly competition though a live minute-by-minute tracker of the day’s giving and a day-long takeover of the company’s intranet, featuring overviews of what various offices and departments are doing, as well as stories about the causes and organizations that people are boosting. When people can see the impact that others are making, they are inspired to join in.

While all of these steps may seem simple, they resulted in a big boost in engagement. Over the past four years, Anthem associates have raised more than $2 million on GivingTuesday, with more associates joining the movement each year. For example, in 2018, associate participation rates doubled from the previous year. This past year alone, associates raised nearly $600,000, making the holiday season brighter for 600 nonprofits and millions of individuals and families across the country. But the result that we can’t put a number to is the feeling of purpose and inspiration that permeates through Anthem’s entire organization on GivingTuesday, especially when associates see the impact of their actions in real-time. It is this feeling that sets the stage for a more passionate and engaged workforce throughout the year.

Emily Sochacki serves as Program Manager for the Anthem Foundation. In this role she leads Foundation and Social Responsibility efforts for two of Anthem’s markets and oversees Anthem’s associate matching program, Dollars for Dollars. Prior to joining the Foundation, Emily spent 3 ½ years in Anthem’s Procurement organization, where she was responsible for managing the enterprise’s temporary labor program. Emily holds a bachelor’s degree in Recreation and Park Administration from Indiana University.

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