The Social Impact team at GitHub works to empower developers, nonprofits, and the greater social sector to drive positive and lasting contributions to the world with GitHub products, our brand, and our employees. Each year, we host GitHub Gives, a month-long campaign to inspire employees to give back to their communities to help drive this positive and lasting change. This year, we took GitHub Gives to new heights and wanted to share our learnings to provide best practices in programming a successful hybrid‐giving campaign for employees.
Designing a month of giving for employees
GitHub Gives traditionally has been an end-of-year campaign in December; this year, we moved the month of giving to October. Why? We typically have high engagement in the first two weeks of December; however, the last two weeks of the month are challenging as many employees are out of the office. So, looking to have four full weeks of programming and opportunities for employees to engage, we chose October (this year) to host the campaign.
In the spirit of friendly competition, we introduced thematic fundraising raffles and a participation award. Employees were encouraged to participate in a light touch activity such as recycling or hiking in the outdoors, snap a photo, and donate to their favorite charity to be entered to win a prize. Watching these photos light up Slack channels and issues ignited discussion and excitement for the respective themes.
The first Social Impact Giving Award was also up for grabs for the GitHub team with the highest participation rate. Weekly progress reports were distributed to leadership to encourage donating and/or volunteering to claim the prize. We also offered updated metrics to Employee Champions, advocates of Social Impact programming, to ignite a grassroots approach to enlist colleagues to take part. Congratulations to GitHub Finance, the winners of the award!
Our communications were streamlined, including cohesive campaign branding and messaging that began before our kickoff event on October 1. From in-office TV reminders to leadership shout-outs, branded Zoom backgrounds, and calendar reminders, we aimed to have several touch points for employees to remember to take part and activate their company match through our online giving tool. Instead of aligning to a numeric goal, we focused on impact-driven storytelling and precise directions on how to take part.
Overall, we grew our participation by 10% year over year! Moving the campaign from December to October allowed for an increase in programming and a longer period to spread messages on the importance of impact. In addition, a multi-faceted approach from leadership and Employee Champions guided employees to understand how we can make a collective difference.
Partnering with nonprofit organizations
To broaden the causes we support, we consulted employees, GitHub Communities of Belonging, and data from previous GitHub Gives to understand what types of nonprofits we should partner with. We found that educational causes and causes directly related to employees were among the top concerning support and general interest.
Hosting a virtual kickoff event has traditionally been successful each year—a fun tradition you would want to attend! This year we were joined by The Seeing Eye, a nonprofit whose mission is to enhance the independence, dignity, and self-confidence of people who are blind through the use of specially trained Seeing Eye® dogs. We heard from Miranda Meade, Senior Associate, Donor Relations, who spoke about training a puppy to match the dog with a blind person while fundraising to name three special dogs—hello, Mona, Octo, and Hubot!
We hosted Hack the Hood, a Bay Area organization that provides youth and communities of color with tech skill-building programs and career navigation support that are grounded in justice and ensure economic mobility, at our San Francisco office for an in-person event. We ‘took over’ the weekly happy hour by including a presentation from the organization on how they’re making an impact in the community. Themed beverages and snacks were provided, as well as donation and volunteer reminders for employees to connect with this local nonprofit. Here’s what Terrence Riley, Executive Director of Hack the Hood, had to say about partnering with us:
We’re looking forward to taking our learnings from GitHub Gives and applying them to our upcoming Volunteer Month in April 2023. We strive to make the most significant impact we can as a company, and with even more employees involved, the more reach we can have to make a difference to those who need it most.