Employees keen to make light work of workplace giving

Posted on 04 Jun 2024

By Greg Thom, journalist, Institute of Community Directors Australia

Workplace giving

Almost a third of Australian workers cite mechanisms that allow them to donate as simply as possible as a key reason to embrace workplace giving.

The finding was part of a major research project conducted by Workplace Giving Australia into the donation habits of the nation’s employees.

The study, which polled more than 2,000 workers across Australia, also revealed:

  • Just over half (51%) of those surveyed wanted to be involved in selecting the cause they donated to
  • The same proportion said “lack of communication and understanding around the program” was the most significant barrier to participating in workplace giving
  • While more than 60% of large workplaces have workplace giving programs in place, just 1.5% of all workers chose to donate at work

The research results came as Workplace Giving Month kicked off this week.

Workplace Giving Australia CEO David Mann said the research findings provided a better understanding of emerging workforce trends and community expectations and an enhanced appreciation of the role of philanthropy in corporate Australia.

“As this most recent data shows, workplace giving is an essential part of corporate DNA,” said Mr Mann.

“To just have a program in place is the bare minimum and we know that employees and the wider community expect so much more.”

“Harnessing the combined power of corporate philanthropy with the 13.8 million strong Australian workforce has the strength to change the landscape not only for charities but for the community more broadly while making better workplaces for the workforce.”
Workplace Giving Australia CEO, David Mann.

The report said Australian Taxation Office data revealed that 204,458 people donated an average $245 each towards a total of $50 million through their pay at work in 2022 (not including matched company giving).

Workplace Giving Australia CEO David Mann
Workplace Giving Australia CEO David Mann.

While the uptake of workplace giving remained low, there were 6,323 employers with a total of 4.7 million employees who could access programs enabling them to donate to charity at work.

The report made a number of recommendations designed to increase workplace giving, including:

  • ensuring companies have an engaging giving program is in place and that they tell employees about it 
  • that charities communicate with their general donor base about the opportunity to have their existing donation doubled through regular workplace giving 
  • making sure the process to sign-up to workplace giving programs is simple and straightforward   
  • ensuring references to workplace giving are part of the employee onboarding process
  • better alignment of the motivations for corporate volunteering and the needs of charities.

“Harnessing the combined power of corporate philanthropy with the 13.8-million-strong Australian workforce has the strength to change the landscape not only for charities but for the community more broadly while making better workplaces for the workforce,” said Mr Mann.

He said encouraging workers to donate at work would:

  • increase overall philanthropic giving
  • make giving part of everyday life
  • support communities within the workplace

Mr Mann said it was important for employers and employees to reflect on the findings identified in the research and adjust giving in the workplace to reflect the emerging trends.

“Giving in the workplace is the smartest way to give and we look forward to working with all Australian corporates to leverage their talent, communities and goodwill to make giving a part of everyday life.”

More information

Charity workers lead the way for workplace giving

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