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Workplace Giving - More To a Name

1 September 2015 at 10:56 am
Ellie Cooper
As technology disrupts workplace giving, how important is it that its narrative evolves with it asks Lisa Grinham, Chief Executive Officer of Charities Aid Foundation.

Ellie Cooper | 1 September 2015 at 10:56 am


Workplace Giving - More To a Name
1 September 2015 at 10:56 am

As technology disrupts workplace giving, how important is it that its narrative evolves with it asks Lisa Grinham, Chief Executive Officer of Charities Aid Foundation.

Workplace giving is widely viewed as an effective way to boost giving in Australia, yet despite concerted efforts the 2015 Koda Capital Australian Giving Review reported last week that it has “failed to live up to its promise.”

This is not great news for the charity sector that faces heightened levels of funding uncertainty. Particularly as widespread giving levels are reported to have slowed to those from 30 years ago. The number of Australians now claiming tax-deductible donations is below those who made donations in 1985-1986. Taxpayers on average give under 0.35 per cent of their taxable income. This is a 0.57 per cent contribution to Australia’s GDP, compared to our US counterparts who donate 2 per cent of their GDP each year.  

With a view of being able to reinvigorate Australia’s giving, where then is workplace giving in all of this? As a fundraising model, it offers a mechanism for pre-tax donations that come direct from one’s salary. It provides charities with low-cost income that largely results in regular high-value donations.

Koda identifies that one of the critical challenges for workplace giving has been the lack of connection that’s been possible between the donor and their charity. This distance or lack of engagement has significantly limited a charity’s ability to acquire donors and demonstrate the impact they’re having in the community. So when you add the manual administration tasks that a company and their payroll have had to do to implement and then manage a workplace giving program, these collectively contribute to key barriers in growing its uptake among Australian businesses.

The recent development of Good2Give, an online workplace giving platform, now seamlessly brings donors and charities together; helps donors to actively control their salary deductions; and significantly reduces the administration burden for all those involved. These recent developments in technology are only now beginning to have an impact.

Since its launch nearly 12 months ago donations through Good2Give are up more than 30 per cent. Technology is proving critical to shifting workplace giving donations into a strong upward curve.

We are now at a point in technology developments where we have a dedicated online platform equipped with interfaces that place the donor back in control of their giving experience makes workplace giving a more attractive model for employers to get behind. Companies’ are increasingly excited by the opportunity to directly support the issues that matter to their staff, which studies increasingly show builds employee engagement and their organisation’s culture.

Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) Australia developed the Good2Give software, and more than 70 per cent of companies now using it match their employees’ donations – effectively doubling donations to charities. Companies including PwC, Bupa and Stockland are just a few who have embraced this tool to build staff engagement and deepen their corporate community investment programs.

There are very few industries that have not been disrupted by technology, and it’s now time that workplace giving made some noise. This fundamental development in this technology is having a real impact and could play an invaluable role in transforming how Australians perceive and approach regular giving.

As more companies and donors embrace this infrastructure, it’s no longer the tools or mechanisms that’s holding us back. It’s now a matter of raising awareness and making this donation experience an option for all tax payers. That is whether they’re public servants, finance managers, tradies or a local community project worker.

Perhaps it’s time that we leverage the technology developments, and start seeing workplace giving as ready to put the jump in Australia’s giving step.

Shifting the narrative around workplace giving is the critical next step if we’re going avoid a self-fulfilling prophecy.

About the author: Lisa Grinham is the Chief Executive Officer Charities Aid Foundation – a Not for Profit which works with companies to encourage corporate philanthropy via effective corporate community investment programs. CAF provides advice on all aspects of a corporate community investment program and ongoing management of workplace giving programs, matched giving programs, grants programs and corporate foundations.

Ellie Cooper  |  Journalist  |  @ProBonoNews

Ellie Cooper is a journalist covering the social sector.

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