September 22, 2019

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Inspired Giving: How a Digital Culture Is Changing the World of Philanthropy

A new model is emerging that empowers employees to participate in the giving experience inside and outside the walls of the workplace.

Lynne_filderman_america_s_charities

By Lynne Filderman, Vice President, America's Charities

This is the first post in the Inspired Giving series.

Every Fall, millions of people across America participate in an activity that has become an annual tradition for generations of employees working at many of the nation’s largest employers: the Employee Charitable Giving Campaign. The impact is immense: these campaigns funnel $3 billion annually, much of which are funds enabling nonprofit groups to deliver vital services throughout the nation.

America's Charities is privileged enough to work at the epicenter of all this activity. We specialize in helping employers strategize and create employee engagement and workplace giving programs that align with their social responsibility efforts. And, we represent a coalition of some of the nation’s most respected and well-known charities such as Make-a-Wish Foundation, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Feeding America, Children’s Miracle Network, The Humane Society of the United States, Dress for Success, Junior Achievement, Feed the Children and many more.

Over the next several months, we will use this space to address key issues around employee engagement, workplace giving and how our member charities work with companies and their employees to make a significant impact every day. We will share insights on how charities are seeking to engage companies and employees, how our digital culture is changing how these stakeholders connect and why giving remains an essential InspiredGivingingredient in delivering impact.

Transforming Traditional ‘Workplace Giving’

With the digital culture slowly invading every element of our personal and business lives we conducted a research studied titled Snapshot: Trends and Strategies to Engage Employees in Greater Giving earlier this year to examine exactly how the world of giving was being impacted. With insights and practices from nearly 100 private sector employers who collectively raise more than $230 million through their annual employee giving campaigns, the study identifies current trends, attitudes and perceptions in employee giving. And points the way to a new model being shaped by our digital culture as you read this.

Key findings include:

1. Companies Are Committed

They continue to recognize the benefits of a strong employee-giving program with branded initiatives that offer choice and increase engagement. Over 80 percent of participating companies and organizations in our research agreed or strongly agreed that their company is committed to a giving program. Further, they indicate that employee giving remains a priority that impacts their ability to attract and retain talent.

2. New Engagement Strategies

Employers are creating new giving models to involve and engage employees, particularly younger employees. Over 90 percent of surveyed employers face challenges connecting younger employees to existing employee giving programs. The research indicates employers are at least one-third more likely to strengthen aspects of their giving program in response to changing employee expectations that engage them in a broad range of charitable activities.

3. Technology and Digital Culture

Technology and digital culture are transforming the employee giving experience. About 54 percent of employers surveyed report their use of technology has changed in just the last three years with 30 percent of respondents now allowing employees to post videos and/or testimonials in support of their employee-engagementfavorite charities while more than half reporting they are likely to incorporate more social media tools into the giving program within the next two years.

4. Paradigm Shift At Hand

A paradigm shift is taking place—a new model is emerging that empowers employees to participate in the giving experience inside and outside the walls of the workplace. Employers indicate they are being expected to do more than ever before such as match contributions and expand opportunities to give throughout the year to any charity.

With the transformation made possible by this digital culture, the traditional Fall campaign today has the potential to become just one of many year-round events contributing to your company’s overall employee engagement and social responsibility goals. You could help connect your employees to volunteer opportunities aligned with the company’s strategic philanthropy partners. You can support your HR efforts with skills-based learning opportunities. You can leverage social media to help featured charities better showcase the impact of your employees’ support.

Whether it’s a signature cause or an issue awareness initiative, there are countless opportunities to engage your employees throughout the year while creating a more informed, committed employee.

What Do Employees Want?

The average American spends nine hours, 12 minutes and 36 seconds ‘working and commuting’ on an average workday (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics).

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that people want their work to mean something. They want to make an impact on the causes they care about and work for employers who are as committed. The question then: how can your company give employees what they want?

One important way is to foster an environment in which employees have the opportunity to be engaged and involved with the causes they care about. Think about ways to integrate employee engagement as a central component of CSR. Did you know that employees – specifically Millennials – are attracted to employer brands that they admire as consumers, and over half are attracted to employers because of the company’s CSR position? These expectations are causing employers to rethink their giving programs and find new ways to meaningfully engage Millennials in giving their time, talent and money.

In fact, 80 percent of the employers surveyed in our research are branding workplace-giving programs with their own names, InspiredGivingthemes and logos, aligning the company’s values, philanthropic and overall social responsibility goals to support employee giving and engagement.

Inspired Giving

This Fall America's Charities is inspiring giving and connecting you with the causes you care about! Tell us what inspires you to give by sharing your story with us on the America’s Charities website, tweeting to @AmerCharities or sending us a direct message on our Facebook page.

And join the conversation – and the campaign – by tweeting at #InspiredGiving.

The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by CSRwire contributors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of CSRwire.

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