America’s Charities - a leader for more than 35 years in employee giving - regularly issues data-driven reports that identify trends in corporate giving and volunteering. Over the years, this “Snapshot” series has become a critical bellwether in employee-led corporate philanthropy, spotlighting exactly how the field is evolving. Since the Snapshot reports began in 2000, America’s Charities - a partner of Causecast - has documented above all how corporate giving and volunteering have shifted from being an outpost of HR to a central feature of employee engagement.
For Snapshot 2017, titled “What U.S. Employees Think About Workplace Giving, Volunteering, and CSR,” America’s Charities surveyed 1,586 diverse employees to find out directly what they’re responding to with their company’s volunteer and giving programs - and, just as importantly, what isn’t working for them. (Causecast was pleased to offer assistance with this study.)
And part of what turns employees away from your volunteer and giving program is your lack of a technology platform to manage it all. A strong technology platform enables choice and ease in volunteering and donating, which matters a great deal to almost half of survey respondents. More than 55 percent say it is imperative or very important to have an easy-to-use platform where you can register, participate, and track hours online (such as the Causecast platform).
The report offered a couple of takeaways on this front:
Workers want choice
Sixty-three percent of respondents said it is extremely valuable or very valuable to have choice of the individual nonprofit or cause that they can give to. Nearly 3 in 10 employees who don’t give through their workplace giving program say they’re not giving because the causes they care about aren’t offered as a choice.
Workplace giving is a valuable tool for attracting and retaining talent. Seventy-one percent of employee donors want to work for companies whose values align with their own, and 6 in 10 workplace donors want to work at companies where the culture supports volunteering and giving.
But insufficient tools to participate in the volunteer experience is holding some employees back.
According to the report, here are the top 5 detractors from the volunteer experience:
Pressure from employer or colleagues
No availability to volunteer during work hours
Project isn’t clearly defined
Limited information about the nonprofit
No technology platform that makes it easy to register, participate and track volunteer hours
As for the top 5 detractors from the giving experience:
No trust in the nonprofit organization
Lack of choice in nonprofits eligible for support through the workplace
Limited information about the nonprofit/ cause
Pressure from employer/ colleagues
Limited ability to donate
“The Snapshot 2017 survey underscores what we’ve seen from hundreds of companies over the years,” said Jim Starr, president and CEO of America’s Charities. “Employers who build programs that connect workers to each other, expose them to corporate leaders, and give them meaningful ways to make a difference in their communities send a strong statement to those workers that they are valued. They also build stronger teams and deeper relationships.”
Employees care about giving and volunteering at work more than any other consideration besides pay and opportunity. Eighty-seven percent of companies understand there is an expectation to support causes and issues that are important to employees, and eighty-six percent say their employees expect them to provide opportunities to engage in the community.
In an age of endless distractions and disconnection from our communities and co-workers, volunteering and giving provides an opportunity to come together. That’s one of the primary reasons why employees value volunteer and giving programs: they create a chance to connect with their communities, senior leaders at their companies and peer. The right technology doubles down on this connection through an interactive, social and mobile experience.
So what about the top 5 motivations for workplace donors?
Paid time off to volunteer
Easy-to-use online technology platform
Volunteer service grants (Dollars for Doers)
Opportunity to work with colleagues
If you haven’t read the earlier Snapshots, the reports offer an invaluable roadmap to assess your company’s program with national trends in employee giving and volunteering. The most recent three reports are particularly noteworthy:
Profit and purpose are increasingly intertwined for many companies, and the Snapshot report shows that 9 out of 10 business leaders know that employee engagement is important to attract and retain employees. Just remember that investing in the right technology is an important piece of a successful volunteer and giving program, and by extension your overall employee engagement strategy.