A Bite-Sized Approach to Faculty and Staff Giving

Posted on 07/29/2018 - by Dan Allenby

One of the first rules of annual giving is to make it as easy as possible for your donors to make their gift. For some donors that can mean limiting the number of fields on an online giving form, and for others it might mean taking credit card information by phone. For faculty and staff donors, ease of giving could also mean meeting them where they are—or at least where they go every day.

Looking for a way to build a culture of philanthropy among their faculty and staff, the Punahou School in Honolulu launched the Hearts of Punahou Employees (HOPE) committee, which was made up of key staff members from various campus departments. As committee members were discussing how to boost employee giving, they realized that the ID cards they used daily to purchase lunch in the cafeteria could be a simple tool for facilitating donations.

For a one-month period, faculty and staff members were encouraged to make a donation to the school via their ID cards. When buying a meal, every employee had the opportunity to charge an additional $5 or $10 to their lunch account. Each person who participated received a card on which they could write their name and hang on the wall for colleagues to see. As the wall was gradually covered with cards, more faculty and staff members were encouraged to join the effort by rounding up their lunch purchases.  

According to Jill Higashi, Punahou’s Director of Annual Giving, launching the cafeteria giving program required extensive collaboration with multiple school departments. The Development Office organized the program, the Operations team entered the gifts, and Communications designed the signature cards to publicize each person’s gifts. Because all cafeteria charges run directly through the school’s Business Office, the accounting staff was also involved to allocate gift charges. And finally, the cafeteria staff helped manage the gifts and provided daily summaries of giving.

The program achieved its goal of increasing awareness and participation in giving among faculty and staff, resulting in 90 gifts in one month. Organizers also learned that faculty and staff members really appreciated the ease of giving via their campus ID cards. Punahou development leaders intend to make the cafeteria giving program an annual event to be held each May as a final push for giving before employees leave for the summer break. And next year, they plan to ask HOPE committee members and advancement staff to make their gifts in advance, so the cafeteria walls will already feature “I gave” cards on the first day of the initiative.

Faculty and staff see your mission in action every day and have a vested interest in your success. It’s a no-brainer to ask them for their support, but making it simple, interactive, and even fun can be a game changer. Their investment goes a long way in building a strong culture of philanthropy across your institution.

Want to learn more? CLICK HERE for AGN’s Webinar on Faculty & Staff Giving.