Workplace giving is becoming an increasingly important differentiator for businesses of all sizes (especially SMBs, as we’ll dive into later on). Often woven into corporate responsibility (CR) or corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, workplace giving is one of the top methods businesses use to give back to their community.
Workplace giving also has a strong influence on business success, including sales, employee engagement and retention, and brand awareness. For example, two-thirds of consumers will pay more for sustainable brands and products and those committed to making an influence1 and employee turnover halves when employees engage in CR initiatives.2
Those are major reasons why big businesses have been involved in workplace giving and CR initiatives for decades. But small and medium businesses have often been left out of the arena – despite being major economic contributors.
In this article, we’ll look into:
- The impact of SMBs on our economy and how they participate in philanthropy today
- The benefits of workplace giving software for SMBs
- The upfront costs and additional fees included in traditional workplace giving software
- Alternatives to traditional software options, including modern platforms built for SMBs and how their costs differ
How Small and Medium Businesses Drive Our Economy – And Where Workplace Giving Fits In
In 2018, there were over 30.2 million small- and medium-sized businesses in the United States, making up over 99.9 percent of the nation’s total business profile. Nearly 50 percent of all Americans work for (or own) a small business, and small businesses create 2 in 3 new jobs in the country every year3.
These SMBs clearly understand the benefits of corporate philanthropy. Of 1,400 SMB owners polled, more than half (52 percent) said they were donating to charity or had already done so4. In another poll, 90 percent of SMBs and SBOs planned to give to local organizations5.
But that still leaves 48 percent of small and medium businesses out of the mix. These are the businesses that aren’t actively donating to charities and may not know how to get started. What’s the best way to launch a workplace giving program? How do you track impact and business results?
The truth is that even established givers struggle with these questions. At first, creating an effective giving program can seem overwhelming, as can designing programs to get results Can you connect your donations to increased sales? Brand awareness? Employee engagement?
SMBs that are new to corporate giving and those that are looking to improve their program often turn to workplace giving software to help. A standard for large corporations, workplace giving software provides a number of features businesses can use to design an effective program and improve their giving impact and ROI.
But can SMBs afford workplace giving software? The answer is tricky, and goes far beyond the upfront costs you’ll immediately deal with when researching platforms. Scope, scalability, and the business benefits workplace giving software provides will all factor into whether or not making a purchase is a good investment for SMBs.
How Workplace Giving Software Helps SMBs
Small- and medium-sized businesses don’t have the same resources as large ones do, but they have similar administrative, legal, and programmatic obligations when it comes to workplace giving. No matter their resources, SMBs still need to:
- Design workplace giving strategies
- Set a workplace giving budget
- Research and vet charity recipients
- Engage employees in giving initiatives
- Project giving impact into the market to improve competitive advantage
- Scale giving programs as the business grows
Workplace giving software can help SMBs with all these tasks. It contains everything from corporate accounts and reporting to manage budget, to employee giving tools that empower individuals to get involved without additional help from your HR staff. They may have databases with legally vetted charities that your business can donate to, helping reduce the time and staff resources that go into workplace giving administration.
However, the most advantageous platforms are those that are custom-designed around your business strategy. A custom corporate philanthropy platform will not only wrap around your existing technology and program, it will help you create a program that directly aligns to your business objects so you drive results as well as impact.
By taking on these tasks and supplying additional tools, workplace giving software:
- Greatly reduces the time your staff spends creating and administering programs
- Allows you to make larger donations without increasing your budget by using amplification tools (think crowdfunding and payroll deduction)
- Increases employee engagement with individual, flexible giving accounts that empower employees to choose and benefit the causes they’re closest to
- Saves time and money for SMBs with limited resources by providing administrative tools including workflows and automation
Can Small and Medium Businesses Afford Workplace Giving Software?
Unfortunately, most workplace giving software is designed for large companies with significant resources. That does not, however, mean that there are no options for SMBs that are just starting their workplace giving programs and are looking for ways to compete with large corporations.
To give you the best context possible for your research process, we’ll dive into cost expectations below. We’ll look briefly at the upfront costs and additional fees you can expect to find with traditional software, then we’ll take a closer look at what is likely the best option for small and medium businesses: modern workplace giving software.
Costs vary widely between platforms. In general, don’t be surprised to see costs that are in the range of $5,000-$10,000 per year, which is equivalent to cost-effective marketing and sales software systems. Systems built for large enterprises can cost significantly more. Depending on the system you choose, you may also pay extra for customization, data migration, and training costs.
Other factors SMBs need to consider include fees and commissions. For example, Benevity charges a 2.9 percent charity support fee on funds donated6. Other companies also tack on fees, rising all the way up to 8 percent. Crowdfunding tools like GoFundMe, CrowdRise and other public platforms that can help giving efforts also take around 10 percent.
Modern Workplace Giving Software
Unlike the traditional software options and pricing models described above, modern platforms are more flexible. Upfront costs may be similar, but modern platforms were designed to help small and medium companies compete with big business players.
With that in mind, their cost models are flexible, ensuring that SMBs of any size can get started with corporate giving. They also typically include customization, training, and strategy consulting to help you implement your workplace giving software in the best way possible.
Additionally, the best new workplace giving software eliminates charity support fees and other the other additional fees you’ll find with traditional options.
At Givinga, for example, we don’t require any additional fees on the funds you’re giving to charity – your full donation goes to the cause of your choice. We also offer fully-customizable Flexible Individual Giving Accounts that can be tailored to fit your business requirements (including costs) while empowering individual employees to engage in ways that not even big businesses can replicate.
SMBs Can Use Workplace Giving Software to Compete with Large Companies
Many small and medium businesses haven’t gotten into the corporate giving space because they feel they don’t have the time, staff, or budget to compete with large corporations. While traditional corporate giving tools may not help overcome those barriers, modern workplace giving software does.
Modern platforms are committed to helping SMBs cost-effectively and efficiently control the costs and time needed to start and manage workplace giving programs. They also provide all the tools you need to compete with larger players in the marketplace.
To find a modern platform that empowers SMBs to get involved, make sure to ask about not only about cost, but also about customization, business strategy integration, and how the platform will scale with you as you grow. The best workplace giving platform will not only help you get started with workplace giving, it will drive business growth and adjust to fit your needs as you expand.