The Renewed Importance of Workplace Giving as a Benefit during COVID-19
Americans are generous. Although the overhaul of the federal tax code in 2017 effectively eliminated charitable deductions for many taxpayers and resulted in a slight decrease in charitable donations, we still donated $292 billion as individuals in 2018.1
The COVID-19 pandemic might usher in even greater interest in charitable giving. A March 2020 survey found that 25% of donors’ plan to increase the amount of money they give to non-profit organizations.2 That commitment to helping others spans workforce generations, but is particularly strong among Millennials, 46% of whom say they plan to boost their charitable giving.3
Actually, Millennials were leaders in charitable giving even before the pandemic. Prior to this year, more than 80% of Millennials already contributed to charitable causes.4 While Boomers and Xers give more money individually—because, on average, they tend to earn more—Millennials outpace them for participation in charitable giving despite the heavy student debt they carry as a generation.5
Why are Millennials committed to charitable giving? It appears their idealism plays a role along with coming of age in a culture where music, video and information are routinely “shared.” It’s possible that “giving” is simply more natural for Millennials than for older generations. Whatever the reason, they bring a strong belief in bettering society to every aspect of their lives, including their jobs. Since Millennials make up a majority of the workforce today and will represent 45% of all workers by the end of 2024, it’s essential to grasp just how serious they are about charitable giving and how it factors into recruiting and retention.6
According to one study, 76% of Millennials evaluate a company’s social and environmental commitments in deciding whether to accept a position, and 75% would take a pay cut to work for a socially responsible company.7 One way to appeal to them is committing to a strong workplace giving initiative – a convenient way for socially conscious persons to do their part. It also pays dividends for charities, since with companies taking the lead, fundraising can be more efficient and effective. Simply put, the fewer resources charities need to spend getting money, the more money they have to put it where it can do the most good.
Today, about $5 billion comes from individuals who participate in giving programs sponsored and administered by employers.8 There’s no question the potential of workplace giving is largely untapped. Adding a “matching gifts” bonus to your company’s giving program can help set you apart from other employers and generate more funds for the causes you support. (Also, one in three employee donors say they would give more money if they knew their employer would match their contribution.9) The most important thing, however, is making giving part of your corporate brand. Millennials care—and they want to work for employers who share that value.
In appealing to Millennials, you’ll also be appealing to your other employees. Seventy-one percent of all employees believe it’s imperative or very important that their work culture is supportive of giving and volunteering.10 By branding your business as a “giver,” you’ll be helping to recruit and retain not only Millennials, but Xers and Boomers as well.
Consider a managed workplace giving account, which allows employees to give what they want, when they want, to a potentially wide array of charities. Employees fund their contributions through payroll deductions. The contributions are post-tax but can be claimed if the employee itemizes. You can add a managed workplace giving account to your current program or implement it as a single, versatile tool for all your organization’s charitable giving.
TASC offers several types of Giving Accounts to satisfy cross generational interest in charitable giving, and in doing so, elevate companies to an employer of choice status which aides in recruiting and retention.