How Technology is Overcoming Hurdles to Workplace Giving

There is a solution for everything. New technology is providing an antidote to common challenges faced by company giving programs.

Everyone wins with workplace giving, don't they?

Workplace giving, or payroll giving, is a simple, tax-effective way for people to donate to charities directly from their salary. Workplace giving seems like the ideal solution to the time-poor state that so many of us find ourselves in. For charities, income from workplace giving is one of the most cost-effective ways to fundraise vital resources to allow them to do their important work. For corporate employers, workplace giving is an important tool to boost employee satisfaction and retention and is a powerful means to demonstrate their commitment to corporate social responsibility. Everyone wins with workplace giving. Yet uptake and growth has historically not reached its potential. Why is this? Employers are facing four common hurdles when it comes to getting the most from their workplace giving programs.

Where are the road blocks?

1. Employees aren’t aware that workplace giving is available to them

Between 2012-13 and 2013-14, over 3.1 million employees who work in companies offering workplace giving did not take it up. Often this is due to a legacy or flagging program that is infrequently promoted or internally communicated. Many employees report that they are only exposed to workplace giving as an option at the point of recruitment when it can easily be buried by the information overload of starting a new job. Workplaces are busy. There are a lot of competing interests fighting for space amongst the 'noise'. Workplace giving needs new innovative solutions to keep it relevant, and to give it cut through.

2. Employees find that too much choice can be overwhelming

It’s right and responsible that employees have a say over which charity their hard-earned money goes to. However, in an attempt to please everyone, some employers have opened their programs to allow donations to every registered charity - opening a flood gate which has inadvertantly left their employees with decision paralysis; Australia has close to 60,000 registered charities – where do you even start? New technology can help employers to curate and promote a strategic list of vetted charities that empower an employee to make informed choices, and yet support employees to not to have to sift through tens of thousands of organisations and causes.

3. Workplace giving is invisible

Workplace giving in its traditional form, is a silent, personal activity that happens through payroll and lacks visibility. However new technology is bringing new forms of giving, engaging content and collective action to make workplace giving more public as a shared activity which unites people and gives them common goals and successes.

4. The needs of a prime audience are not being catered for

Over the last 25 years of workplace giving, trends are evident – young people and those on lower incomes have significantly lower engagement with workplace giving . Less than 2% of those aged under 30 years participate in workplace giving schemes. This compares with the next age group (30-49 years) who participate at more than double that rate. A myth exists that young people, or people on lower incomes and hence lower tax bands aren’t inclined to donate to charity. In fact, by 2025, Millennials are estimated to make up 75% of the world’s workforce. This is an audience that charities can not afford to underestimate. Workplace giving schemes need to harness the interests and behaviours of this prime audience and make donating direct through salaries an attractive option. Emerging technology platforms are doing just this with design and user experience tailored for this prime audience.

New possibilities for workplace giving

Technology is providing new solutions to stubborn problems which have traditionally hindered the growth of workplace giving. This form of giving is being granted new life. There is exciting potential for millions of employees to be engaged and inspired to participate which could mean a game changing new funding stream for charities. Watch this space.