Workplace giving initiatives are becoming both more important and more sophisticated. Changing employee attitudes and an increased emphasis on corporate responsibility has made workplace giving essential to business.
A Glassdoor poll found that 75 percent of the workforce expects employers to support important initiatives in their communities.¹ Other corporate giving statistics on employee engagement, talent acquisition, and sales further illustrate the need for companies to engage in philanthropy or risk their position in the market.
But employees don’t just want businesses to donate; they want to see meaningful contributions to causes. That’s given rise to multiple corporate responsibility programs, including philanthropy initiatives like employee matching gift programs, grants from private foundations, and volunteering events.
Unfortunately, most corporate responsibility programs have traditionally involved a high degree of administration that taxes HR staff and internal resources. A few of the processes involved have included:
- Charity research and vetting. Corporations typically give to approved 501(c)(3) charities that result in tax benefits. Unfortunately, not all charities fit the bill, which can cause legal and tax challenges. This means administrative staff have to manually charities for 501c3 status, undertaking a tedious research process that involves collecting information, contacting charities, and adding them to approved lists.
- Administering matching gift programs. Many companies, including 65 percent of Fortune 500 firms, match employee donations.² Employee matching gift programs require more research to vet employees’ chosen charities, calculating exact matching amounts, contacting target organizations, and more. The process can become so complicated that it actually discourages employees from participating at all.
- Student loan assistance administration. Forty-four million borrowers are in student debt,³ which makes student loan assistance extremely popular. Unfortunately, processing this kind of workplace giving can be hard difficult, especially in terms of promoting the program and encouraging employees to participate despite administrative and application burdens.
- Tax and finances. All workplace giving needs detailed financial records and tax documentation for compliance purposes and tax benefits. This is an ongoing process that adds work for administrative and HR staff.
Traditional workplace giving processes are time intensive. They require regular dedication from HR staff, along with financial and office resources. To compound the problem, most modern workplaces deal with all or some of the above concurrently, resulting in even greater strain.
The good news is that there are ways to improve workplace giving while reducing the man-hours required to power it. Here are four ways to do just that.
Strategies for More Efficient Workplace Giving
Workplace giving didn’t become so complex spontaneously. The needs of businesses blended with increasing demands from employees, consumers, and regulatory or tax agencies to create complex processes that attempt to meet the needs of everyone involved.
That complexity has made it more difficult for employees to engage in workplace giving initiatives and created administrative burdens on HR staff. Businesses can alleviate the issue by using technology to better administer programs without spending more on human resources.
Leverage Automation Tools
Modern workplace giving software can automate monthly donations, reporting, matching gift program tasks, and more. These automated processes can result in major time savings. Up to 73 percent of employees report that automated processes save time that would otherwise be spent on repetitive tasks.⁴
Automation is the most direct and obvious way to make workplace giving administration easier. The more work gets delegated to software, the less clutter there is for staff to deal with – and the more they can focus on quality giving.
Adopt a Charity Database
Using a charity database to immediately check whether an organization is one of 1.5 million 501c3 charities in the US⁵ saves a lot of time and energy – especially in matching campaigns where employees pick the recipients.
One of the benefits of corporate philanthropy software is that charity databases are often built directly into the platform. That gives your HR and administrative teams instant access to approved charities, reducing your research burden as well as alleviating legal concerns.
Consolidate and Coordinate Campaigns
A single philantech platform can bring student loan assistance, employee matching gift programs, paycheck deductions, and more into one platform. This same platform can serve both participating employees and HR staff, greatly reducing the man-hours required to administer programs.
This is a gamechanger not only for efficiency, but also in terms of tracking and projecting results. Because all activities are tracked in the same place, a single platform makes it easy to measure the tangible results of workplace giving without placing more strain on administrative staff. It also saves time, since staff don’t need to worry about migrating data between platforms and switching tools when working on different workplace giving programs.
Businesses have typically controlled all workplace giving assets, charity approvals, and giving strategies – for good reason. To ensure compliance, businesses need to retain control. Unfortunately, it also increases the administrative burden.
Today’s corporate giving technology strikes a balance between the two by ensuring businesses retain control of all assets, while empowering employees to take more ownership over their giving. For example, with a charity database employees can be given free rein to choose to benefit the individual charities that are most important to them. Crowdfunding tools can also encourage them to run their own crowdfunding campaigns to amplify both their impact and that of your business.
By empowering employees to be more involved you not only decrease the administrative burden of choose charities and running campaigns on your staff, you also encourage employee engagement in your workplace giving program. Employees are more likely to participate when they can benefit a charity they identify with instead of a cause your corporation decides on.
Transitioning Workplace Giving from an Administrative Burden to an Investment
By default, workplace giving has been time and labor-intensive. This is especially true given the proliferation of new charitable campaign types such as crowdfunding, student loan assistance, and employee matching gift programs.
Fortunately, the same trends driving employees and consumers to demand better corporate giving can help your company adapt to the changing environment. Workplace giving software can automate and optimize operations, freeing up your administrative staff to improve ROI, employee engagement and consumer satisfaction for your giving efforts.