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Employers Enticing Workers To Give More

By The NonProfit Times - February 25, 2013

For-profit companies are seeking new engagement strategies to increase workplace giving, according to a new survey of nearly 100 private sector employers that have combined to raise more than $230 million through their annual employee giving campaigns.

According to the study from America’s Charities, entititled Snapshot: Trends and Strategies to Engage Employees in Greater Giving, these firms not only remain committed to employee giving — 80 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that their company is committed to a giving program — they are creating new models to involve and engage employees in campaigns.

When asked to identify an appropriate role for employers in supporting individual donor activities, surveyed employers indicated that they are being expected to do more than ever to engage employees. This includes the following:

  • Match employee contribution with a company gift;
  • Support and encouragement from the employer to participate;
  • Promote and sponsor volunteer opportunities;
  • Expand opportunities to give throughout the year to any charity;
  • Provide released time to volunteer;
  • Conduct employer-sponsored volunteer projects; and,
  • Offer financial grants to their favorite charities in recognition of their volunteer service.

“We are experiencing a paradigm shift in the workplace giving with a new model emerging that empowers employees to participate in the giving experience inside and outside the walls of the workplace,” said Steve Delfin, president and CEO of America’s Charities.

Steve Greenhalgh, report researcher and senior advisor to America’s Charities, said that the report reveals “the most dramatic shift we’ve ever seen in employee giving,” referring to the move towards employee engagement.

In addition to what they think they are expected to do, employers also have ideas of their own to make workplace giving more appealing. Nearly 90 percent of employers indicated they are incorporating contests and events as a way to add fun and keep the program exciting. And, more employers are allowing workers to give throughout the year, rather than just the traditional fall period.

Technology is also playing a big role in workplace giving engagement. More than half of employers plan to implement more social media tools in the next two years so their employees can post content promoting their favorite charity. Of these, 30 percent now allow workers to post videos and/or testimonials in support of the organizations they support. Another 40 percent of employers have used other forms of technology to increase engagement:

  • Nearly half of these companies use technology to promote volunteer opportunities.
  • More than two-fifths use technology to connect employees with reputable organizations.
  • Approximately one-third of firms polled use technology to provide feedback on how contributions are used.
  • Nearly one-quarter of respondents use technology to connect employees with their peers.

Part of the reason these methods of engagement are being explored is because of waning participation from employees. While giving is up at a majority of the companies surveyed, participation declined at almost half of those employers. In America’s Charities last report in 2006, the average participation rate was 41 percent. That number dropped to 33 percent in 2012. However, this number increases when the workplace campaigns feature a group of charities or when employees are given the option to give to a nonprofit of their choosing. Approximately 93 percent of employers offer such charitable choice, a 43 percent increase since 2006 and a 210 percent increase since 2000.

Founded in 1980, America’s Charities organizes workplace giving campaigns administered through the federal, state, and local government, and private corporations. Proceeds from these campaigns go to its member organizations. During fiscal year 2011, America’s Charities raised and managed some $39 million in gifts to over 6,000 national and local charities.

Snapshot: Trends and Strategies to Engage Employees in Greater Giving is the third in a series of reports on workplace giving trends by the Chantilly, Va.-based organization. The first was released in 2000, the second in 2006. You can download the full version of the newest report at http://charities.org/news/trends

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