Workplace Giving Gains Momentum
20 February 2003 at 12:02 pm
Charities and Not for Profit groups stand to get a $200M funding boost following the recent changes by the Tax Office making it easier for Australians to donate, according to the Australian Charities Fund (ACF).
In conjunction with The Australian Tax Office, ACF says its innovative Workplace Giving program has proved highly successful since new tax deductions laws came into effect in July 2002.
The Australian Charities Fund Chairman John Phillips says thanks to the Tax Office, Australia now has the best and lowest cost Workplace Giving program in the world.
ACF says employees from ten client organisations are together donating over $1,500,000 to around 70 different community organisations that they have chosen to support. A further 5 organisations are committed to launching Workplace Giving in the first half of 2003.
ACF says these corporations employ around 10,000 workers of which 2500 are now regularly donating through the payroll scheme.
Under the legislative changes detailed in our e-Newsletter last year, people donating through their pay do not have to keep receipts and they get an immediate tax benefit.
John Phillips says Workplace Giving aims to streamline the giving process, making it simpler than ever to give to the charities of your choice. The programs also encourage employees to look at other ways that they can support charities, such as employer sponsored volunteer activities or pro bono work.
The Australian Charities Fund is a Not for Profit organisation and an income tax exempt charitable entity with deductible gift recipient status
ACF’s says its low cost giving program enables 100% of employees’ donations to be sent directly to the beneficiary charities. The Australian Charities Fund relies on donations from participating corporate organisations to fund its costs.
Colonel Robert Street of the Salvation Army says that the positive outcomes of Workplace Giving programs are enormous.
He says with donors seeking more and more involvement with their chosen charities, the benefits to The Salvation Army and other charities are great.
Smith Family Chief Executive Elaine Henry has also praised the success of the program.
She says more than just funding, this initiative is yet another example of how by working together, employers, employees, government and community organisations can make a lasting difference to the lives of disadvantaged Australians.
Business Council of Australia CEO Katie Lahey added her endorsement of the program saying that by forming relationships between Australian charities and businesses, Workplace Giving encourages social awareness, community involvement and teamwork.
ACF’s John Phillips says that if just 10 per cent of the Australian workforce forgo $2 a week from their pay, an extra $200 million will flow to charities.
The program relies on partnerships with Australian companies for its success, allowing employees to make regular payroll donations to charities of their choice.
Citibank Managing Director, Les Matheson commented that the program is easy to implement from an employers perspective and quickly adopted by employees.
Matheson says an unexpected benefit has been the enthusiasm of their employees to provide further support to the charities in our program through additional fundraising efforts and support initiatives.
The program already has the support of Australia’s largest professional service firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, which recently launched the PwC Foundation to its 4,200 employees.
Chief Executive Tony Harrington identified the Workplace Giving program as a key initiative within the PwC Foundation saying it enables their collective donations to make a greater difference than any one could do alone.
This system was jointly developed by the Tax Office and The Australian Charities Fund, with the pro bono assistance of leading tax and legal experts from Robert Richards and Associates, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Mallesons Stephen Jaques.
The original idea was conceived by a group of consultants at Bain International, who went on to establish The Australian Charities Fund.
Phillips says the Australian Charities Fund’s role in facilitating cooperative relationships between government; corporate and social spheres will give charities the support they need to continue serving the community.
The Australian Charities Fund is currently working with the following corporates:
ABN AMRO Mallesons Stephen Jaques
AGL Morgan Stanley
ASX Norwich Union
Bain International OneSteel
Caliburn Partnership Pacific Equity Partners
Corrs Chambers Westgarth Perpetual Trustees
ACF’S EASY STEPS TO WORKPLACE GIVING:
Employees and their company participate in selecting the charities they wish to support.
Peer champions are selected and trained to communicate the program to their colleagues.
Employees are asked to commit to making small, regular donations by way of payroll deduction – they can choose how to distribute their donation among their charities.
Employees get an immediate and guaranteed reduction in tax, eliminating the need to collect and keep receipts.
Employers are asked to cover their portion of The Australian Charities Fund’s operating costs (approximately 3% of funds raised).
In this way 100% of an employee’s donations are sent directly to their selected charities.
Employers may choose to provide a degree of matching donation.
The program facilitates volunteer and pro bono opportunities for employees.
Employees receive regular feedback about the impact of their support.
The Australian Tax Office has produced a Fact Sheet on workplace giving and payroll deductions. If you would like a copy just send us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.