Matched Giving with Charity Gift Vouchers is the Perfect Match
17 August 2017 at 11:07 am
GoodCompany marketing manager Naomi Barson investigates the secrets behind the success of giving workplace giving donors a charity gift card, as Optus sets a new record for giving with this method.
Research consistently proves that matched workplace giving programs enhance employee engagement.
However, traditional behind-the-scenes matching, whilst generous, remains out of sight and therefore out of mind. Furthermore, it requires faith that employers have upheld their side of the bargain.
Instead, employers who invest trust in employees to actively select the charity recipients of matched giving build a deeper connection with their staff.
Optus gives workplace giving donors a charity gift card so they can choose charities they love to receive the matched funds. This innovative tool has contributed to CSR being one of the top drivers for engagement in the business.
Charity gift vouchers give the gift of giving all over again. Instead of automated dollar-matching that’s processed behind the scenes, each voucher lets the employee allocate the specified amount to a charity or project of their choice. It may be to the original charity / charities they support through Workplace Giving, or they may opt to donate the matched amount to different causes. It’s entirely up to them.
Setting a new world record in July, 1,840 staff at Optus were given $280,704.18 to donate to charity via charity gift vouchers. Empowered to allocate the donation amount to charities and causes that make their hearts sing, Optus staff are active participants in matching their workplace giving donations.
When reflecting on the record charity gift voucher donation amount, Helen Maisano, associate director of group sustainability, revealed she was thrilled Optus had had another ground- breaking year.
“CSR is one of the top drivers for engagement in the business and this year’s matched donation shows employee engagement and participation in our community programs continues to increase,” she said.
One of their initiatives is yes4Good, a philanthropy platform delivered in partnership with GoodCompany. It facilitates workplace giving, skilled and general volunteering, fundraising as well as rewards and communications tools.
The charity gift vouchers herald a range of benefits, making giving:
Matching workplace giving donations generates powerful results. However, when matching is automated, it can be invisible. Therefore, the full potential of this generosity is not capitalised on and opportunities to further connect staff to the community and the business are squandered.
When staff are involved in matching via charity gift vouchers, the message it communicates is that you’re in this together. The business has skin in the game and trusts employees to choose charities that they connect with when donating both their money and yours. This level of transparency translates to deeper staff engagement, which benefits hearts and bottom lines.
CSR managers are always searching for creative ways to better engage staff in giving. Establishing a philanthropy platform is one step. Encouraging people to regularly visit to explore all types of giving, stories and opportunities is another challenge.
Automated matching does not require donors to visit the site other than when they first set up their workplace giving involvement. Charity gift vouchers direct donors to the site explicitly to search for charity projects to allocate their matched donation to. And to be inspired all over again by new charities, what else they discover as well as the feel-good endorphins of giving back.
When donors visit the platform to use their charity gift voucher, they can do this at work or at home and choose to involve their partner, family or friends in giving. Charity gift vouchers present a unique opportunity for employees to take their giving out of the office and into their homes, to inspire others to consider how they can positively impact the community.
Another positive flow on effect Optus has realised when they distribute charity gift vouchers is the unprompted discussions on internal community network Yammer. Commentary from donors reinforces both the rational and emotional benefits of program participation and further promotes yes4good amongst their staff.
Paul Godwin from Optus Centre Brisbane said: “Shared my vouchers worth over $300 between the folks at #OrangeSkyLaundry, Black Dog Institute and Animal Welfare League Queensland. So many worthwhile causes to donate to. It’s so easy to give through workplace giving and can really help to make a difference to others.”
Einat Piper from Optus Centre Sydney said: “ I shared my voucher of $400 between feeding Rhinos (#TheAustralianRhinoProject), protecting corals (#WWFAustralia) and protecting Leopards in India (#HCIAustralia). Feels so good be part of #yes4good.”
Through yes4Good, Optus empowers staff to be a force for good in the community. By democratising giving and trusting donors to choose the recipient of their matched giving, they use their philanthropic budget in a way that further engages givers with the community as well as their organisation.
Maisano explained the results speak for themselves.
“CSR is one of the top drivers for engagement in the business. It’s about creating shared value and using all our skills and resources to contribute to society and creating a positive impact in the community. Yes4Good enables our employees to not only see Optus’ commitment but also the role they can play in making a difference in the community.”
About the author: Naomi Barson is the marketing manager for GoodCompany and Karma Currency Foundation. She has a diverse marketing and communications background, having run the Ferrari Press Conference for Shell, set up the Corporate Communications function at SEEK and managed the largest ever crowdfunding campaign at STREAT.
GoodCompany delivers world-class integrated giving programs including workplace giving, donating, volunteering and fundraising.