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Giving circles prove a hit in the workplace

4 August 2020 at 5:30 pm
Luke Michael
A world-first pilot has helped raise more than $45,000 in workplace giving

Luke Michael | 4 August 2020 at 5:30 pm


Giving circles prove a hit in the workplace
4 August 2020 at 5:30 pm

A world-first pilot has helped raise more than $45,000 in workplace giving

Researchers believe there is a compelling case for giving circles in the workplace to be rolled out more broadly, following a successful pilot program. 

The Giving Circles at Work trial was conducted over the past six months by Good2Give in partnership with Westpac Group, hoping to determine how effective collective giving in the workplace was as a corporate philanthropy model. 

The world-first pilot involved Westpac employees raising funds through a giving circle – a form of collective giving where donors pool together their resources and jointly decide where to distribute funds.     

In total, 67 employees formed seven giving circles that were either “cause-led” and focused on a particular issue such as refugees, or “charity-led” whereby a specific charity proposed various programs that could be funded.

Analysis by the Centre for Social Impact Swinburne (CSI Swinburne) found that employees were overall satisfied with the program, and many indicated they were likely to increase their giving levels in the future. 

Lead author of the report Krystian Seibert, an industry fellow at CSI Swinburne, told Pro Bono News the findings were very promising.

“The Centre for Social Impact Swinburne undertook a very comprehensive analysis of the pilot, and found that there’s a compelling case for giving circles in the workplace to be rolled out more broadly,” Seibert said.

“There were clear benefits for employees, employers and charities, and the evaluation also identified ways that the model could be further enhanced as it’s rolled out.” 

The total amount raised by the giving circles was $45,328, which includes money from Westpac matching each donation. 

Employees benefited from the program by feeling able to make a positive contribution to the community, building enhanced relationships with work colleagues, and developing a better understanding of charities.

Employers also benefited by being able to advance their corporate social responsibility activities within the community.

Seibert said given that we spend so much of our lives at work, it was important to explore innovative new approaches to giving.

“The evaluation showed that the use of giving circles in the workplace provides a very promising opportunity in this regard,” he said.

“I hope that the research provides the evidence base needed to encourage more employers to explore this opportunity, especially given it’s the first research of its kind that I’m aware of.”

The report made several recommendations to enhance future giving circles in the workplace, including having more employees participate (compared to the pilot), and putting in place a senior executive level sponsor to act as an organisational-wide “champion” for the program.

Lisa Grinham, the CEO of Good2Give, said the results showed the benefits of fostering a better understanding of charities. 

She told Pro Bono News it was significant that a program which brings colleagues together with a common purpose has shown such promising results.

“As we look towards a sustainable financial future for charities, a product innovation which has the ability to create an engaged and successful donor community, no matter where they are located, sends a powerful message of solidarity for corporates, donors and charities alike,” Grinham said.

Luke Michael  |  Journalist  |  @luke_michael96

Luke Michael is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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