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Coming to Your Office Soon: A Makeover for Workplace Giving

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If you have ever been part of a rousing ceremony to encourage participation in a workplace giving program, stand by -- the traditional way of raising funds on the job for worthy non-profits is about to change if it hasn't already.

We've just compiled a trends report that shows workplace giving campaigns are being transformed by digital technology and younger workers with new ideas. Nearly 100 companies, many of them Fortune 500 companies, participated in the survey of attitudes, perceptions, and practices within the private sector.

In terms of technology, it has evolved beyond capturing pledge and contribution data. New platforms are emerging that makes the donor experience more meaningful and engaging.

We found:

  1. Thirty percent of employers who responded to the survey are incorporating social media tools into the giving program.
  2. About 54 percent of employers surveyed report their use of technology has changed in just the last three years. More than half report they are likely to incorporate more social media tools into the giving program within the next two years.
  3. Millennials (the 80 million employees born between 1982 and 2000) bring an added layer of digital and connective dynamics to both employee involvement and employee giving programs. These "net-natives" expect their digital lives to transcend the walls of the workplace.
  4. More than 92 percent of employers surveyed face challenges connecting younger employees to existing employee giving programs. Not surprisingly, about 80 percent agree that the current campaign model needs to be made more attractive for younger employees.

This is America's Charities third report in the last 13 years about the $3 billion dollars employees donate on the job each year to worthy non-profits. You can view it here.

Other trends identified in the report include the fact companies and organizations continue to recognize the benefits of a strong employee giving program with branded initiatives that offer choice and increase engagement.

We also see a paradigm shift taking place -- a new model is emerging that empowers employees to participate in the giving experience inside and outside the walls of the workplace.

Among the encouraging news is that more than two-thirds of companies surveyed offer matching payroll contributions -- a 58 percent increase since 2006. This is especially notable given the economic stress corporate America has been under since the financial collapse.

More than 80 percent of survey respondents agreed or strongly agreed that their company is committed to a strong program and that employee giving is still a priority.

The survey also found that giving has increased at a majority of companies but employee participation rates are down at nearly half of them. We think this is a sign that those who are already involved feel very comfortable but more needs to be done to get additional workers to that level.

Participating companies employ more than 1.4 million people, represent more than 20 industry groups, and are geographically diverse. Collectively, they raise more than $230 million through traditional employee giving campaigns.

Don't get me wrong: personal contact and kick-off events still have a place in raising funds. But how companies operate them and connect them to employees needs a Version 2.0 approach in our changing world.

Steve Delfin has 30 years of experience working in and with major national and international not-for-profit organizations and socially-responsible international corporations, including a long history of involvement with and leadership around workplace giving and employee engagement programs. He was a long-time volunteer member of the America's Charities board before becoming President and CEO.