Successful Workplace Giving = More Than Great Technology

Feb 28, 2019 2:55 PM ET
Blog

By Jim Starr, America's Charities President and CEO

Every year, American employees give to causes they care about through their employers, resulting in $5 billion for the nonprofits who are tackling tough issues and improving the world around us. American generosity has always been incredible, and when the economy does well, charitable giving only grows.

Giving USA 2018 found that charitable giving of all types exceeded $400 billion in 2017, for the first time. And workplace giving—an employer-hosted program which enables employees to donate to charities, often directly deducting donations from their paychecks—is growing as well. America’s Charities research found that 86 percent of employers understand that their employees expect them to provide opportunities to engage in the community, and 87 percent believe their employees expect them to support causes and issues that matter to those employees. 

Part and parcel to a great workplace giving campaign is great technology. In this information age, people expect technology to enhance what they do, and that goes for giving at work as well. Nearly half of the employee donors we talked to for our research said having an online platform is imperative or very important to have a positive donation experience. Further, “giving” doesn’t just mean giving money. It can mean giving your time and talent as well. More than 55 percent said it is imperative or very important to have an easy-to-find platform where you can register, participate, and track volunteer hours online.

It’s clear that employees of all kinds expect to be able to give at work, they want to be in the driver’s seat of their individual giving, and they want technology to make it easy. Those expectations are only going to get more widespread, and more resilient, as the next generation joins the workforce. The world is more connected, and employers recognize the power and profitability that comes with an engaged and socially minded workforce. Even now, with the rise of employee activism, we see expectations expand and evolve.

However, we all know that technology can be frustrating at times. Our suite of workplace giving solutions are powered by a few truly outstanding technology providers, each offering cutting-edge tools and tech, so I have seen my share of ups and downs with technology. The best technology in the world can still be frustrating at times. And that’s because, for technology to work its best, the guiding support from humans is required to ensure a piece of software or program works as intended. This is also true of workplace giving, where every organization has a different need, every culture is unique, and every program is different.

America’s Charities works tirelessly to meet our clients’ needs. To ensure success, each of our clients gets a dedicated account representative to guide him/her through the workplace giving process from start to finish. From setting up and personalizing the online platform, to helping create a program, to managing the funds, to reporting and more, each America’s Charities client is supported by a full-service Client Engagement team, with experts in workplace giving, employee engagement, technology, charity vetting, funds management, and marketing to provide assistance as needed. Even more, clients can offer their employees the use of our on-demand help desk support, which has 95 percent donor satisfaction. Our Donor Support Team answers employee questions by phone, email, and online chat, and has an average 10-hour response rate, with 70 percent of donors receiving help within 1 hour.

Great workplace giving can’t be one-sided. Just as it can’t just be about the technology, it can’t be just about the employee donor experience; the mix of both is vital. The charities that employees support have a role in a great workplace giving campaign – one that is often overlooked. In fact, I have found that supporting the charities that participate in workplace giving campaigns is a critical part of a successful strategy. Many technology providers require charities to register with them in order to receive funds, and some will not distribute funds if they are below a certain amount. That is not the case with our solutions: not America’s Charities powered by Causecast, not Simply Giving, not Modern Giving, and not Quick Start. As a nonprofit ourselves, we pride ourselves on lowering the barrier of entry for charities, and ensuring that causes in need of this critical funding don’t have to jump through hurdles to participate in giving campaigns or receive the funds from their supporters. Our very purpose is to inspire employees and organizations to support causes they care about – and putting these kind of restrictions in place just doesn’t align with our mission or values.

Ultimately, workplace giving isn’t just about the act of giving itself – it’s about emotion and connecting. At the end of the day, whether it’s through volunteering or making monetary donations, your company’s employee giving program has to fit your employees’ essence in creating something that is authentic and meaningful. And you don’t have to do it alone. You should have easy-to-use technology, great support from a team of experts, and the charities your employees support should feel as empowered as you. We would love the opportunity to partner with you to achieve your giving and social impact goals. Click here to connect with us and get started.