America’s Charities much-anticipated annual report on employee giving and volunteering was released this month, and as I discussed recently, it’s packed with interesting data about the increasing role of corporate philanthropy in the workplace.
The report, Snapshot 2015: The New Corporate DNA—Where Employee Engagement and Social Impact Converge, draws six key takeaways from the trends seen in employee-driven philanthropy in 2015. Each conclusion is worthy of close examination, but since now is the traditional season of employee giving, I’d first like to assess the trends seen in how employees are donating their hard-earned dollars towards corporate philanthropy.
“Many have said that workplace giving is dead,” the report notes.
“The Snapshot reports reveal quite the opposite is true. The traditional model of top down, corporate-directed giving is no longer acceptable. And, workplace giving and employee engagement is alive and evolving at a very rapid pace.”
Winter is a busy time for corporate giving, starting with #GivingTuesday and continuing into the final throes of corporate holiday campaigns. Traditionally, Q4 is where employee giving began and ended, with company leaders losing focus on this effort the rest of the year. In 2013, only 24% of companies indicated they offered year-round giving, with 71% of large corporations conducting their giving program during a finite period of time, usually the fall. But the latest Snapshot shows that year-round giving is becoming the standard, with more than 60% of companies saying their giving program is open year-round. “The time-honored tradition of Fall campaigns is evolving into new traditions,” the report notes.
More than 50% of the companies that responded indicate they see an increasing number of employees who give as well as an increase in the amount of money given. This rising interest in giving parallels the increased number of employees who volunteer, as well as the growing amount of time that employees dedicate to volunteering.
Snapshot 2015 shows how companies are diversifying the opportunities available to employees who want to donate, to support the increased interest in giving:
- Providing employees with the opportunity to make financial donations directly from their paycheck (also known as workplace giving) is the most common component of employee engagement.
- Matching gift programs are about equally split between companies matching any employee gift (open programs) and those that match a limited number of charities or specifically identified charities
- About 30% of companies provide employees with an opportunity to give to international charities.
- Nearly 27% of companies offer financial grants in recognition of individual volunteer service and an additional 30% of companies plan to offer these within the next two years.
Compare two of the latest trends of Snapshot 2015 with the findings of Snapshot 2013:
- In 2013, 63% of large companies matched employee contributions. In 2015, 65% of large companies match while 28% of small to mid-size companies now match.
- In 2013, 21% of large companies included global employees in their program. In 2015, 31% of all sized companies offer opportunities to give to international charities.
Workplace giving rates, while growing, still have a ways to go before they’re widespread within companies. Forty-two percent of the companies have less than 20% participation rates in their employee giving program (giving financial contributions), while 13% have participation rates above 61%. Twenty-nine percent have rates between 41-60%.
But the popularity of workplace giving is clearly on the upswing. And businesses are looking at employee giving as a direct component of overall employee engagement, with the key metrics of success continuing to be how many employees participate in their company’s programs and how much money they give. But employee surveys and benchmarking are also becoming important, and companies are increasingly looking to the best practices of other companies to grow engagement.
“For many years, workplace giving remained a basic program of payroll deduction with a slow but steady growth in the number of companies offering it with varying participation rates,” the report notes.
“In Snapshot 2013, a dramatic shift documented the transformation to fully integrated engagement strategies. Employers began to understand this changing environment as they began to integrate corporate goals, employee expectations and opportunities to grow giving.”
Snapshot 2015 demonstrates the continued acceleration of workplace giving as a priority for employees and companies, and the central role it plays in employee engagement.