Workplace giving – when people agree to support a not for profit through a deduction from their payroll (usually regularly and ongoing) – or as the ATO says “allowing employees to make regular donations to eligible charities through a payroll system“.
Employers like it because it is fairly easy to administer and they can look like good corporate citizens, encouraging their staff to support causes of their choice. The Australian Tax Office likes it because people don’t need to claim back their donations at tax time as they have already gained the benefit through their salary.
and most importantly donors like it because it’s a really easy way to make an ongoing commitment to an organisation and not have to think about it. The donation continues to be withdrawn from salary until the donor instructs the payroll department to amend it or stop (or until they stop working for that employer).
Not for profit organisations love workplace giving because it is ongoing income which requires very little maintenance. The key requirement is to provide a receipt back to the employer on a regular basis.
Here are some FAQs prepared by the ATO and the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs also has a simple guide as does OurCommunity. The Victorian Office for the Community Sector this year launched a guide for not for profits on how to approach businesses to gain support through workplace giving.
Apparently very few employees use workplace giving at the moment. I heard a statistic from VECCI that 95% of employers don’t offer workplace giving – so this should be seen as a great opportunity for not for profit organisations to tap into.
From my limited recent experience with workplace giving I know that it is great to have regular donors coming through, but it is sometimes difficult to get host organisations to provide information to other employees, or encourage more staff to join in – and getting access to those other staff to show them how satisfying their peers find the process can be difficult. (Sometimes even getting access to the staff who are donating so that you can update them on activities and thank them for their support can be hard).
Some corporate employers have champion programs where the not for profit organisations they support are literally championed by a particular staff member who provides updates and news to their fellow employees, encouraging them to also donate through the program.
Charities Aid Foundation works to match businesses with not for profit organisations for workplace giving but this may be expensive for some smaller not for profits.
Do you have experience with workplace giving as a donor or an employer? Tell us what you think about this way of facilitating donations. We’d love to hear innovative ways to get employers and their employees more engaged.
Workplace giving programs are a three-way partnership between employer, employee and charity. I prefer to call the program “engaged employee giving”. Like any program, if it is well-resourced, managed, respected, marketed, and championed as part of the workplace culture by the employer and employee, the benefits to all partners are incredible. In particular the most successful programs are those where the charities are engaged in a dialogue with the partner company that clearly articulates where the donors money is being spent.
Current research from the Australian Charities Fund, PwC and Centre for Social Impact indicates that programs that don’t have this level of support are usually not very successful. See:
thanks for this comment Julianne, yes I agree that the best workplace giving programs are those where all parties are engaged and there can be a workplace “champion”, and where the employees, employer and the not for profit feel there is a synergy and alignment in their goals and objectives.