Hunger, Homelessness Getting Majority of Workplace Giving

Younger U.S. professionals were more likely to give via workplace giving programs and significantly more likely to support racial and social equity causes than older professionals, according to a new survey of more than 1,000 working professionals who donated in the last year from professional services firm Deloitte.

Nearly six in 10 (58%) young professionals aged 18-34 gave through a workplace program in 2020, compared to 37% of all professional donors. When asked how the COVID-19 pandemic and its recession impacted their workplace giving, 35% of young professionals said they increased their donations, compared to 28% of all professionals.

Gen Z and millennial professionals supported racial and social equity significantly more than older professionals — with 36% of those 18-34 donating to the cause, compared to 12% of professionals aged 55 and above. Additionally, 31% of young professionals gave specifically to COVID-19 relief efforts through workplace giving programs, compared to 19% of professionals overall.

Overall, the top social causes to which professionals donated through a workplace giving program in 2020 were:

  • Hunger and homelessness (47%);
  • Education (23%);
  • Social and racial equity (20%); and,
  • Specific COVID-19 relief efforts (19%).

The percentage of professionals giving to the first three causes was up double digits in comparison to donations these professionals made in 2019, while COVID-19 relief was a new category.

Among professionals who did not give through a workplace program, 45% said they were already regular donors to a cause or organization outside of their employer’s program and that was the top reason for not using workplace giving programs. Another 17% cited a lack of awareness that such a program existed at their company, demonstrating there may be a need for communication between employers and professionals about workplace giving options available to them. 

Professionals said having the opportunity to donate to specific causes and organizations they care about (36%) and donation matching by their employer (22%) would motivate them to donate through a workplace giving program. As for what drives professionals to donate overall, the top two reasons cited are to support a mission that is important to advancing their community and society (57%) and supporting a mission that they or someone they know is personally connected with (51%).

The workplace giving survey shows that for many professionals, the pandemic has not impacted their charitable giving. Almost three-quarters of respondents (74%) who donated through a workplace program donated the same amount or more in 2020 compared to 2019. This number rose to 80% for professionals donating independently.

“While most professionals choose to give through channels outside of work, providing giving opportunities through a workplace giving program can be an important part of the toolset for companies to show their support for workers who want to make an impact that matters,” Doug Marshall, managing director, corporate citizenship, Deloitte Services LP, said. “This is particularly true when workplace giving programs reflect the societal causes and commitments their people are looking to support,” he said.

The “2021 Deloitte Workplace Giving Survey” explores workplace donation behaviors of and the value of employer-sponsored giving programs. The sample for the survey was 1,010 employed U.S. professionals who have donated in the last year. Fieldwork was conducted between Dec. 18 and Dec. 28, 2020, using an online survey.