Charity workers lead the way for workplace giving

Posted on 02 Nov 2023

By Greg Thom, journalist, Institute of Community directors Australia

(Left to Right): Doug Taylor CEO; Elizabeth Meyer, Workplace Giving Coordinator; Effe Sandas, Partnership Manager; Linnae Clarke, Senior Manager Corporate Projects.

The Smith Family has become the first charity to win the “Best Payroll Giving” category at the Australian Workplace Giving Awards, after a fivefold boost in the number of staff donating to other charities.

In an awards ceremony traditionally dominated by big corporations, the children’s education charity was recognised for its Brighter Future Fund (BFF) program.

The 2023 Australian Workplace Giving Awards celebrates outstanding workplace giving programs, with the winners supporting great causes and fostering greater purpose and unity in their organisations.

The Smith Family took the lead from staff who wanted to donate to causes outside their own purpose led organisation.

Australian Workplace Givings Awards logo

The program enabled staff to donate to a selection of 17 charities supporting causes from combatting domestic violence and supporting emergency services to health and international aid.

As a result, the number of staff giving through the program surged 500% in the 18 months to August 2023, while annual donations nearly doubled.

The judging panel, chaired by Associate Professor Wendy Scaife of the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies, said the BFF had a strong rationale along with a catchy title coined by The Smith Family’s staff.

The program was praised for overcoming the barriers to giving, involving many stakeholders and for producing high quality promotional materials.

“Our people want to make a difference like any other Australian employee so it’s great to give them the opportunity.”
Doug Taylor, CEO, The Smith Family.

The Smith Family CEO Doug Taylor said the win was “great recognition of the commitment and dedication of our team members to creating positive social change in their communities."

“Our people want to make a difference like any other Australian employee so it’s great to give them the opportunity,” said Mr Taylor.

Mr Taylor said consultation with employees before and after the launch on key decisions was a major contributor to the program’s success.

“We've worked hard to ensure that they are a part of a community and that their donation isn't just a stand-alone contribution, but rather part of a wider collective effort with their colleagues to create social change.”

The Smith Family

The Smith Family works to help young Australians overcome educational inequality caused by poverty by supporting children from early childhood to completion of their studies.

The charity has 622 employees in 91 communities across Australia, with activities focused on areas with the highest concentration of economically disadvantaged families.

Mr Taylor said workplace giving was a benefit to The Smith Family both as a charity and as an employer.

“It's one of the most cost-effective ways we as a charity can raise money, but it's also an easy way for our own team members to support causes which are close to their hearts and create a sense of community in the workplace,” he said.

The awards were sponsored by the federal Department of Social Services.

More information

2023 Australian Workplace Giving Award winners

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