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Tailoring Your Citizenship Communications to Resonate with a Diverse Employee Base

Countless studies have shown that employees (especially millennials) feel more engaged, fulfilled and inclined to stay with their company when they believe their employer is a good corporate citizen and when they feel empowered to have a positive social impact at work.

A crucial step in fulfilling your citizenship program’s potential to drive engagement is to get the word out to your employees about what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and how they can get involved. This can be tricky, though, when your employees have diverse roles, schedules and ways in which they can be reached. As with most communications, a one-size approach does not fit all when it comes to corporate citizenship.

One of the many challenges our clients face is how to tailor their strategy to reach the right audience at the right time with the right message. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you’re developing an internal communications plan:

Understand Your Employee Base: No employee base is monolithic – it takes all kinds of people and jobs to make a company run. Particularly for citizenship communications, which appeal to employees’ personal sense of community, and may ask them to give of their time or money, it’s important to understand the various segments of your employee population and the different factors that may influence their perspectives and their ability to participate. Consider the following differentiators across your employee base:

  • Geography
  • Business unit
  • Role and level of seniority
  • Location type (office, store, plant, etc.)
  • Hourly vs. salaried
  • Unionized vs. non-unionized
  • Full-time vs. part-time
  • Frequent travel vs. fixed location

Uncover Their Unique Drivers: Once you identify your core audience segments, you may wish to implement a brief survey or informally poll your colleagues to understand more about each group, for example:

  • What are they passionate about?
  • What are their preferences and barriers for engagement?
  • How, where and when do they want to receive messages about citizenship?

Tailor Your Message: After you uncover employee preferences, consider what needs to be conveyed to each group. For example, if you want to encourage remote employees to volunteer, your message will be very different from one that is intended to inspire corporate leadership to promote your work.
A simple way to identify the right message for each audience is to ask, “What do I want the audience to know, feel and do?” Here are some examples:

Scenario 1: Informing regional employees about the availability of a new matching gifts program to support their community


Scenario 2: Sharing stories of programmatic success with your company’s leadership

Develop Your Plan: In order to stay on track, develop a simple plan which outlines what you will need to convey to each audience. In addition to tailoring your message to the audience, consider the messenger, the channel, and the frequency of outreach.

Below is a simple template that can be adapted for your company’s unique audiences and messaging objectives. Use this tool as a guide for organizing your communications and make it your own!

About Niriksha Kannan

Niriksha Kannan is a Director in Changing Our World’s Corporate Practice and brings experience in employee engagement, corporate-nonprofit partnership facilitation and nonprofit strategy development.