Annual Month of Giving: Is It a Good Idea or a Bad Idea?
Many companies hold an annual Month of Giving during which they enjoy a 60-80% boost in participation in volunteering, giving, and other corporate citizenship activities due to increased communication and awareness. We support annual events like this (within certain parameters) because they provide an opportunity for employees to see and discover corporate citizenship opportunities. Additionally, since everyone across the company is participating at the same time, annual events allow employees to “see and discover” as part of a group, which appeals to a universal desire to belong.
But there’s one, big problem. Following Month of Giving, participation drops back to an average of 7% for the rest of the year – and that’s among the highest-level givers and volunteers! If your company’s Month of Giving (or Day of Service or Volunteer Week) is not tied to a broader, year-long strategy, it is already failing to achieve meaningful impact.
These short-term, transactional events or activities have the potential to achieve meaningful results when they are framed for long-term impact within a broader strategy. Transformative Learning Theory, as well as recent findings in neuroscience, show how we grow new neural pathways when we have continuous exposure to new ideas and experiences – and when we’re guided to bring meaning to those experiences through critical reflection. Those new neural pathways change attitudes and behaviors, leading to social movements within companies. When it’s transformative, it sticks.