Total Value the Key for Workplace Giving
Wednesday, 26th March 2014 at 9:21 am
Taking into account the value of all aspects of workplace giving including Institute matching, workplace fundraising, volunteering and in-kind support has reaped rewards, writes Pamela Lee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia.
Workplace giving is emerging as a key form of philanthropic contribution to the Not for Profit organisations operating in Australian society. Yet the scope of “workplace giving” actually extends far beyond simple payroll donations to a charity partner each pay cycle. Rather, it is a multi-layered system of staff engagement that truly reveals the generosity of an organisation’s employees and management when considered as a whole.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants established its workplace giving program, Everybody Counts, in the 2006-2007 financial year. Covering approximately 300 employees, it provided a means for staff to engage with the community and each other in a meaningful way.
As at December 2013 donations to charity partners officially measured $189,895 through pre-tax payroll contributions.
As Manager of Everybody Counts, I thought it important to take into account the value of other workplace giving components such as Institute matching, workplace fundraising, volunteering both skilled and unskilled and in-kind support.
Many organisations are provided with support to which no monetary value had been applied. For example, the Institute provides meeting room facilities and catering to our charity partners and The Australian Charities Fund at no cost to them.
Working with my colleagues, we calculated: Institute matching; the number of hours our staff had volunteered and applied an average hourly rate; contributions made through workplace fundraising events; and the value of donated meeting space and catering based on the standard charge rate.
The results were telling. Taking into account the full scope of our contributions, as at December 2013, the total value of our program was $325,538 – 70 per cent more than the figure we had been sharing with staff. Almost 60 per cent of contributions were comprised of pre-tax payroll donations, 16 per cent in workplace fundraising, 9 per cent in matching (matching commenced in FY2012), 9 per cent was in-kind support and 7 per cent was volunteering.
We were heartened to see staff continue to give generously on a regular basis through their pay – as this meets individual needs to give in a smart, high impact way and it meets the need of charities to access low-cost, sustainable funding.
We were also very pleased to see that in-kind support comprised almost 10 per cent of our total contributions – our charity partners tell us they greatly value this support as it keeps their expenses down and allows them to direct funds to delivering programs and services.
Our employees told us they want to know how much we are contributing together and how those donations are making a difference.
So we’re now able to use this good news story to showcase how staff and the Institute are giving through the workplace in a range of ways and the impact contributions are making. These messages build pride in our program, continue to engage existing workplace givers and encourages non workplace givers to get involved.
We are also proud to be part of a broader movement to grow workplace giving across the accounting profession and beyond.
We believe there is scope for professional associations to extend their programs to their membership, or in the case of corporations, partner organisations or subsidiaries where appropriate.
As a professional association, in 2010 we launched our program to the small to medium practice segment (firms with one to six partners) and three of our firms have adopted the Institute’s workplace giving program. We are continuing to pursue this strategy to help small to medium firms build staff engagement, drive a culture of giving and generate low-cost funding for the community.
Additionally, we became an Employer Leadership Initiative (ELI) member of The Australian Charities Fund a number of years ago. This group of employer leaders has a shared interest in the business outcomes and social impact that occurs when employees are engaged in giving and this is a priority in the workplace.
As a collective we use our networks to champion giving in the workplace and its value in terms of business reputation, staff engagement and measurable social impact, and provide thought leadership to other businesses in respect of their community investment.
I believe that the success of our program is due to three components:
The Leadership Team are strongly supportive and committed to the success of the program internally and workplace giving more broadly in the business community – they are keen to know the overall impact the Institute is having in the community and how that translates into positive work culture;
There is a high awareness of the program amongst our staff – we build our community program into employee engagement from ‘day one’, use our champion network as advocates, run simple campaigns, make it easy to get involved and regularly share the impact of our contributions;
This program and its success is my passion – I want to continue to see Institute staff engaged in giving together and feel proud they are making a difference at work. I’m also keen to see other Australian employers emulate these outcomes.