America’s Charities Snapshot 2014
6 May 2014 at 9:59 am
Charities are facing a rising tide of expectations from corporate and employee donors, while at the same time admitting that maintaining these corporate partnerships is a challenge, according to new research from the US.
As well the research shows that the digital era and democratisation of information is driving the demand for more accountability, transparency and engagement that is proving difficult for some charities to respond to.
These are some of the key findings of the Snapshot 2014 report from workplace giving and employee engagement Not for Profit America’s Charities of nearly 240 charitable organisations.
The report says it focuses on issues and trends at the intersection of corporate giving, employee engagement and Not for Profit impact. This is the fourth report produced by America’s Charities in the last 14 years investigating the $US4 billion employees donate on the job each year to US Not for Profits.
An Advisory Group with representatives from leading organisations provided insights and guidance for the study including BoardEffect, Catalogue for Philanthropy, Global Impact, GrantStation.com, GreatNonprofits, GuideStar, Independent Sector and Nonprofit Financial Specialists.
According to America’s Charities President and CEO Steve Delfin, the findings suggest there are alignments as well as gaps between employer and employee expectations and charities’ ability to deliver based on those expectations, many of which are being driven by the proliferation of data and information about charities.
America’s Charities’ Snapshot 2014 report suggests there are areas where there is alignment of employer and charity expectations.
Not for Profit survey respondents indicate there is a growing expectation held by companies and employees that they must demonstrate greater accountability, transparency, and impact with measurable results.
Sixty-one per cent of survey respondents believe their corporate partners and individual donors expect greater accountability around impact and measurable results.
Another 68 per cent of respondents say operating in a digital culture requires them to be more transparent with donors and stakeholders.
And 68 per cent of charities said operating in a digital culture requires them to be more transparent with donors and stakeholders.
Both charities and corporates are using digital means including social media to engage and communicate with key constituencies.
The Snapshot found that more than 90 per cent of the NFPs said their use of technology had changed in the last three years allowing them to deliver information quicker and feature more data and better communicate with donors.
Ninety per cent said they were responding to these demands by expanding their communication strategies and placing more emphasis on story-telling focused on outcomes and results.
Companies indicated that employees were asking for more opportunities to engage with charities through volunteer service, and charities report they were seeing a significant increase in volunteer requests, especially from younger professionals.
Nearly two-thirds of survey respondents believe that payroll contributions from corporate workplace giving campaigns add value to their organisation.
The report also outlines where employers and charities seem to be disconnected on some key expectations of mutual importance. Some of those issues include:
Half of all NFP respondents say they have a strong relationship with their corporate and institutional partners, yet nearly 90 per cent of respondents face significant challenges in sustaining these relationships;
Nearly 50 per cent of respondents have seen an increase in requests to engage with corporate employees. However, many meet these requests but are challenged to do so.
“The democratisation of information regarding charitable organisations resulting from the emergence, and now permanence, of organisations like GuideStar, GreatNonprofits, Charity Navigator and others, has created both problems and opportunities for charities,” Steve Delfin said.
“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.
“The opportunities for charities are how to differentiate their organisation as an effective and high performing charity by leveraging these new information outlets.”
Delfin said the positive impact of the explosion of charity information had been a deeper discussion about charity effectiveness.
“No longer is the primary metric of charity effectiveness the amount it spends on overhead. The discussion about ‘overhead’ as a proxy for a charity’s effectiveness and authenticity has only happened as a result of easy access to information and points of view,” he said.
However, Delfin said this then put new burdens on charities to demonstrate how they were meeting new expectations around the impact, sustainability and scalability of their programs and services particularly in a time of reduced government spending and increased competition for scarcer resources.
To obtain a copy of Snapshot 2014, visit www.charities.org/news/trends.