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How Via’s Social Impact Program Engages 70% of Employees [Case Study]

Cori Hammoor
Posted by  Cori Hammoor on Nov 11, 2021
Learn how Via built a social impact program that is customized to how employees want to give back, is flexible to what employees care about most, and saves the People team time.
 
8 minute read
The Challenge 
It is clear: companies that help employees donate and volunteer attract more talent and retain more talent; companies that do not attract less talent and retain less talent.

Social impact programs are a crucial source of employee recruitment, engagement, and loyalty.

Via - the world’s most powerful digital infrastructure for public transportation - and its People team realized this new reality before others.

“Employees were asking for opportunities to give back. Candidates interviewing to join Via would also ask during the hiring process.

And it’s only increased — candidates now regularly ask how Via gives back.

It makes sense; we tend to attract like-minded candidates that have some level of social impact on their mind.” - Sarah, People Ops at Via

Understanding that workplace philanthropy is now a critical source of competitive differentiation with Millennial and GenZ talent, Via wanted to proactively create a culture of giving.

The problem was, like many young, fast-growing companies, Via had to start from scratch.

“Culture is a top priority for Via to attract and retain talent, and we focus on being a company that wants to give back and be part of the community. But Via didn’t have anything in place, and social impact is a whole job in itself.” - Sarah, People Ops at Via

Faced with needing to formalize a giving program but lacking the tools or time to do so effectively, Via turned to Percent Pledge - the social impact experts for fast-growing technology companies.
 
Percent Pledge’s Solution + Results
Via purchased the entire suite of Percent Pledge offerings, which includes:
  • Employee Giving Assessment + Company-Wide Report
  • Nonprofit Vetting
  • Matching Donations
  • Volunteering
  • Impact Reporting
Their decision to implement Percent Pledge’s entire suite of offerings has returned incredible results: 70% of Via’s employees engage in its social impact program.
 
And to further explain what has led to this great success, Via’s People Team shared how they have benefited most from partnering with Percent Pledge. 
 
“Our program is customized to Via.”
To build a social impact program unique to Via’s values and community, Percent Pledge began by administering its proprietary Employee Passion Assessment. Starting here:
  • Makes programs employee-driven, which leads to far better engagement and inclusion 
  • Provides invaluable insights into how employees give back and what they care about most
And once Via employees took 5 minutes to complete the Passion Assessment, Percent Pledge created the Via Passion Report. 
 
“I really liked the Passion Report. It tailored our program to what employees are interested in. It showed that social impact is something all of our employees are behind, which was really helpful and cool to see. It was also encouraging to see my co-workers have the same values.” - Sarah, People Ops at Via
 
To Sarah’s point, the report shared that employees do have the same values:
  • 94% of employees felt having ways to give back would improve their employee experience
  • 70% of employees prefer to give back in multiple ways (donating and volunteering) 
Percent Pledge used the Passion Report as a blueprint to customize Via’s social impact program, especially when it came to volunteering. 
 
“Maureen [Director of Customer Success at Percent Pledge] researches different organizations very thoroughly. In all of our events, the organizations are aligned with our values and ideals, taking all of Via’s offices into consideration. The events show Percent Pledge’s flexibility with different ways we can involve different people at different levels. This is really helpful and unique.” - Sarah, People Ops at Via
 
Percent Pledge has curated 12 team volunteer events for Via over two years. 
 
“Percent Pledge’s technology and team are flexible.”
In addition to making its social impact program customized, Via noted the flexibility of Percent Pledge’s technology and team as a leading driver for the success of its program. 
 
First, Via employees are now empowered with choice in how they give back:
 
“I’m always amazed by the variety of options of organizations to support when something happens in the world. I really like that Percent Pledge makes it easy for employees and Via to get involved.” - Sarah, People Ops at Via
 
The variety of options Sarah refers to relates to the nonprofit vetting built into Percent Pledge’s model. In addition to the searchable database with 1.5M+ charities, Percent Pledge also offers vetted Cause Portfolios. 
 
Cause Portfolios are filled with vetted nonprofits that impact a cause wholistically. These range from Core Portfolios (Racial Equity, LGBTQ+, Disaster Relief, etc.) to customized Company Portfolios (Via Gives Cause Portfolio - filled with employee and brand-aligned nonprofits). 
 
Another example of this flexibility is highlighted by the evolution of Via’s matching donation program. 
 
Via’s first matching donation campaign initiated the week after George Floyd’s murder. Employees and the People team immediately contacted Percent Pledge to create a Racial Equity campaign. Within 24 hours, the campaign was live, matching all donations to the Percent Pledge Racial Equity Portfolio or any nonprofit associated with the cause in June 2020. 
 
In May 2021, Via launched a second matching donation campaign supporting Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. 
Via completed two matching donation campaigns, engaging 36% of employees as donors with an average donation size of $161. 
 
After seeing the results and hearing more calls from employees, in June 2021, Via implemented a formal annual matching donation program that provides every employee $300 in matching donations. And coming off the success of the first two matching campaigns, the People team was able to get this formal program approved in just a few days.
 
After implementing the matching donation program (vs. campaign), donations grew by 77%.
 
“Percent Pledge saves us time.” 
+ makes the Via People teams’ jobs a lot easier. 
 
“You all save us so much time. I know many companies hire a single person to do all of this work, which is a lot! So it’s just easier to go through Percent Pledge since you do more than just one person could. From the Portal to working with the organizations directly -- it’s a good investment.” - Gories, Employee Experience Associate Principal at Via
 
“I would recommend Percent Pledge because you’re so organized. You have a very quick turnaround and responses when we want to do something further. I love the aspect that every communication is customized to Via as well.” - Anna, Executive Assistant / People Ops at Via
 
In addition to the Passion Assessment, Via’s People team noted how Percent Pledge goes above and beyond with customization by sending monthly communications. This helps companies and employees support communities in need, whether a rapid response effort for a recent disaster or an upcoming cause holiday.
 
“Folks are lucky to work with Percent Pledge. You all are unbelievably organized, with several recommendations in your back pocket at all times. And the monthly communications sent are so helpful. It’s a really, really, really great aspect and makes our jobs a lot easier because you all do a lot of the work.” - Gories, Employee Experience Associate Principal at Via
 
The Results
1-Nov-10-2021-08-51-51-48-PM
Interested in learning how Percent Pledge can create an authentic and engaging social impact program for your fast-growing company? Schedule a demo with us.
 
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Cori Hammoor

Written by Cori Hammoor

Marketing Manager @ Percent Pledge.

Learn how Percent Pledge can create an engaging social impact program for your fast-growing company.