Workplace giving serves as the fundraising backbone of many nonprofit organizations. Indeed, the solvency of many federated funds depend on it. Some companies choose run their own workplace giving campaigns while others partner with local nonprofits to help handle the logistics.
The concept of corporate philanthropy as a facet of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is gaining traction, particularly among employers whose workforce is increasingly populated by the so-called Millennial Generation.
That is why it is perhaps unsurprising that, from 2014 to 2015, large companies reported a nearly 60% increase in year-round giving opportunities through the workplace.
Not only do charitable endeavors benefit companies from a public relations standpoint, but it also fosters employee engagement with the community, a prospect which is beneficial to all parties. Plus, companies can see tax benefits as well, if they donate to eligible nonprofits, they may deduct up to 10% of their yearly taxable income.
If an employee is connected to the community via their workplace, they will remain engaged with the company as well, often reporting higher levels of professional loyalty than workers at companies that do not offer opportunities for workplace philanthropy and community service.
In addition, employees who volunteer or participate in workplace giving as a group are able to develop better teamwork skills and improve social skills and foster greater workplace satisfaction.
How Workplace Giving Has Grown
Even as the model of the benefit corporation is on the rise, workplace giving continues to drive the conversation, increasing by nearly 14% from 2013 to 2014,the last year for which figures are available.
However, while individual giving accounted for nearly ¾ of all charitable donations in 2014, corporate philanthropy accounted for less than 5% of total giving in the United States annually. ($17 billion of the $358 billion total in 2014. The remainder is made up of bequests and foundation gifts.)
Like many endeavors, the key to successful workplace giving is lowering the barrier to entry by making it easy for individuals to participate.
Whether this is an employer-led fundraising drive or an easy-to-enroll payroll deduction option, the fewer restrictions there are to participation, the higher the likelihood that employees will not only take part, but that they will enjoy the process and reap the benefits as well.
How Technology Helps Workplace Giving
Technology can play a large part in helping employees become more philanthropic in the workplace. By providing employees with software that's easy to use, companies can help encourage greater involvement.
In place of a daunting stack of paperwork, employees are now able to simply log on to their employer's workplace giving portal, enter or update their information, and contribute generously at the touch of a button.
According to a new survey by America's Charities, 40% of companies reported implementing a new technology-based employee engagement platform within the past 18 months and more than 70% of respondents plan to re-evaluate their employee engagement strategies in the next 18 months.
Here are the top 6 findings from that Snapshot 2015 report, "The New Corporate DNA: Where Employee Engagement and Social Impact Converge":
This seismic shift in the way employers are managing workplace giving is due in large part to the rise of Millennial employees.
"No other generation has entered the workforce with such high expectations of their employers. The barriers that separated life inside and outside the walls of the workplace have come tumbling down," stated the America's Charities report.
This finding is borne out by the report, which states that 77% of respondents indicated their belief that offering employee engagement opportunities is an important recruitment strategy to attract millennials.
Millennials are becoming an increasing influence in forcing change. Engaging employees can have transformative value on the employees themselves, their colleagues and in the communities where they live and work. It is no longer what they are doing but who they are.
No longer can employers ignore the opportunity to attract and engage top-notch talent. Millennials have spoken: employee benefits need to benefit more than just the employee.