Employee donations, a vital income stream for non-profits addressing many societal issues at the grass-roots level, are on the rise and agencies like America's Charities are simplifying workplace giving.
“It’s clear that employees of all kinds expect to be able to give at work, they want to be in the driver’s seat of their individual giving and they want technology to make it easy,” said Jim Starr, president and CEO America’s Charities, which establishes and manages workplace donation programs in partnership with not-for-profit agencies. “Those expectations are only going to get more widespread, and more resilient, as the next generation joins the workforce.”
Since its founding nearly 40 years ago, America’s Charities has raised more than $700 million for more than 20,000 nonprofits involved with needs such as education, human rights, hunger, poverty, research, animal welfare, veteran assistance, disaster relief and health services, according to the agency. “America’s Charities works at the intersection of uniting the desire of employers and their employees wanting to do good, with the charitable organizations that are delivering good,” Starr said.
Despite economic ups and downs, job security fears and increasing demands on the average paycheck, workplace giving is growing at a rapid pace--employee engagement programs make up more than $4 billion annually in contributions to charitable organizations. “In some ways, workplace giving is the unsung hero of individual giving,” according to Starr.” It’s easy, safe, convenient, and it provides nonprofits with sustainable support. Businesses recognize the value it brings.”
America’s Charities’ employee donor research showed that 86 percent of employers understand that their employees expect them to provide opportunities to engage in the community, and 87 percent believe their employees expect them to support causes and issues that matter to those employees.
While millennials often have been cited as lobbying for more socially conscious giving, America’s Charities’ research showed the trend spans generations. When it surveyed employee donors, it asked them questions about why and how they give at work. “Nearly 6 in 10 employees told us it was imperative, or very important, to work where culture is supportive of giving and volunteering,” noted Starr. “When we looked at the survey results, we found something surprising. After scrutinizing the data, we found millennials weren’t the only group that wanted this experience. Baby Boomers, too, and every generation otherwise – Gen X, Gen Z – want to give at work as a means of giving back, connecting with their colleagues, and better understanding the impact of their giving.”
For about 20 years, America’s Charities has conducted research regarding trends in workplace donations. In 2013, it began its Snapshot series, surveys of specific segments of the stakeholder of social change, such as employers, employee donors and nonprofits. Starr said the series helps provide insight into what employees view as important for workplace donation programs and how that matches up with employers’ perceptions and ideas. “We know from our employee donor research that 71 percent of employees believe it's imperative or very important to work where the culture is supportive of giving and volunteering,” according to Starr.
Crucial to employee participation is being able to choose who receives their donations, research shows; not having a choice stops 30 percent of employees from donating through the workplace, Starr said. “The ability to donate how and when an employee wants is among the top five critical factors in making a positive giving experience.”
The bottom-line: employees—no matter their age, rank, or experience—want to work for a company where charitable giving and volunteering is supported, Starr added. “They want to improve the world around them, and now more than ever, they expect their employers to offer opportunities to support the community via time, money and skills.”
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We're proud to have America's Charities as an important sponsor for this event.
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Ellen R. Delisio is a freelance writer and paraeducator who lives in Middletown, CT. Over the past 30 years, her writing has focused on life science, sustainability and education issues. Ellen is an avid reader and beach-goer.