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Workplace Giving Unlocking Community Funds

12 November 2009 at 2:11 pm
Staff Reporter
Over 75 percent of people who join workplace giving programs increase the total amount they donate to charity, and nearly 30% are thinking about further increasing the amount they give, according to a study of over 4,500 employees released by the Australian Charities Fund (ACF).

Staff Reporter | 12 November 2009 at 2:11 pm


Workplace Giving Unlocking Community Funds
12 November 2009 at 2:11 pm

 Workplace giving – sometimes called payroll giving – allows employees to make regular donations to charities through their pay pre-tax. Many of these employee donations are matched dollar for dollar by their employers.  It is estimated that $20 million is contributed to charity each year through workplace giving programs. More than $50 million has been donated to community organisations through programs facilitated by ACF since it was established in 2003. 


However, ACF says prior to this research the net benefits of workplace giving were unknown. There was some concern that the employee donations were ‘taking from Peter to pay Paul’, with those giving through payroll deductions reducing their donations outside the workplace.    


ACF says for the first time this study shows that is not the case – indeed the reverse is true.


Ted Kerr, CEO of ACF says he hopes this news will encourage employers who don’t currently offer workplace giving programs, to do so.


Kerr says that nearly two thirds of organisations without workplace giving programs have never heard of them. If just 10% of working Australians made a payroll charity donation of $5 a week, the Australian community would benefit by more than $260 million each year, before taking into account employer matching. 


ACF marketing and research project manager Mei-Ling Ho says prior to the research ACF had more questions than answers. 


Ho says the big question everyone kept asking was does workplace giving increase the size of the fundraising pie and until now there has not been the hard evidence to say yes it does.


Toby Hall, CEO of Mission Australia says the report offers exciting news.


Hall says from an efficiency perspective they have always known how important workplace giving is to Not for Profits.


He says workplace giving has created an annual income stream of several hundred thousand dollars for Mission Australia. As a low cost form of fundraising this has allowed the organisation to put nearly every cent into programs to help the most disadvantaged in Australia. 


He says this consistent donation stream also allows the organisation to plan for the long term, which is invaluable. 


Hall says the report suggests a need to increase their level of focus on workplace giving and really get behind this as a fundraising stream. 


Macquarie Group Foundation Professor Peter Shergold, head of the Centre for Social Impact, believes workplace giving’s potential will be realised only if all sectors collaborate to drastically build awareness and uptake. He believes that governments can play an active role in helping to incentivise employers to implement programs, and to encourage employees to participate.


He says internationally,  Government initiatives help increase the penetration of workplace giving programs and he would like to see some of these initiatives implemented in Australia, with governments actively promoting a giving culture.


The study also showed that for 60% of employees, employer matching of their donations is the primary motivation for giving through the workplace, making the program more compelling, and reinforcing the organisation’s commitment to supporting the community.


For Mallesons Chief Executive Partner, Robert Milliner says the results of this research give an invaluable insight by providing a deeper understanding of what motivates their employees to participate in workplace giving. 


Initiated and led by ACF and supported by ANZ, Bain & Company, the Centre for Social Impact, Goldman Sachs JBWere, Mallesons Stephen Jaques and Buyology Lab, the study is the first of its kind in Australia.


The report can be downloaded at:


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