Study: Donors Want Workplace Giving Accountability

As workplace giving campaigns in the United States continue to grow more sophisticated, a new study by America’s Charities showed that many nonprofits are feeling pressure from their corporate partners to show more accountability when it comes to results measurement.

“Snapshot 2014: A Rising Tide of Expectations” surveyed people at 240 organizations across the country and asked questions about their partnerships and employee giving campaigns at major corporations. While the study found many alignments between the expectations of both employers and charities, there were also significant gaps.

“Corporations, employee donors and the public expect charities to demonstrate greater accountability, transparency, and evidence that their work is making a significant, measurable impact,” said America’s Charities President & CEO Steve Delfin. “Charities that can evolve in this age of the democratization of charitable information will be in the best position to thrive and succeed.”

Nearly 61 percent of respondents indicated they were feeling increased pressure from corporate partners and individual donors to be more accountable when it came to impact and measureable results. These expectations have roots in many areas, but according to 68 percent respondents, the biggest culprit is a digital culture that places more emphasis on analytics.

Another 68 percent of respondents indicated that operating in a digital culture requires them to be more transparent with donors and stakeholders. This change in culture has caused many of the survey respondents to change their practices to demonstrate their commitment to addressing the concerns of stakeholders. These changes have come in the following ways:

  • 92 percent use social media to communicate with key constituencies;
  • 89 percent increase delivery of stories and narratives with emphasis on results and outcomes; and,
  • 66 percent feature more data and statistics in their annual reports.

While organization managers appear to be on the same page with corporations and donors in this regard, “Snapshot 2014” outlined some areas where there appears to be some disconnect. The survey found that although half of the respondents say they have a strong relationship with their corporate and institutional partners, nearly 90 percent are facing significant challenges in maintaining those relationships. Additionally, nearly 50 percent of respondents have seen an increase in requests to engage with corporate employees and, while many meet these requests they are challenged to do so.

“The problems arise around how to meet the new donor and stakeholder expectations that result from easy access to more and varied information about charities from a wide range of sources, said Delfin. “The opportunities for charities are how to differentiate their organization as an effective and high performing charity by leveraging these new information outlets”

Other key findings from the “Snapshot 2014” report include:

  • More than 90 percent of the nonprofit respondents said their use of technology has changed in the last three years allowing them to deliver information quicker and feature more data and better communicate with donors.
  • Ninety percent are responding to these demands by expanding their communication strategies and placing more emphasis on story-telling focused on outcomes and results.
  • Nearly two-thirds of survey respondents believe that payroll contributions from corporate workplace giving campaigns add value to their organization.

You can download a free copy of the report by visiting www.charities.org/news/trends