How can all stakeholders collaborate to grow payroll giving? Our charity experts give their thoughts.
Peter O'Hara, managing director, Workplace Giving UK:
We launched and funded the 'Geared for Giving' campaign five years ago to help grow the mechanism of Payroll Giving. The campaign calls on employers to ensure they not only have a Payroll Giving scheme in place for their employees, but that they actually communicate it to their workforce regularly, and make joining as easy as possible.
The campaign also encourages employers to consider 'enhancing' the donations made by their employees. Historically, employers have imagined that the only way they can contribute is by matching their employees donations; however, there are many creative ways they can do so, with even a small budget. This can include a percentage match, a one off new starter gift of £5, £10 or even £50 to the employee's charity of choice or even paying the administration fee associated with the scheme, shows that an employer cares about the charities their employees wish to support.
Workplace Giving UK has also worked hard to ensure that there is more joined-up thinking with charities themselves. The scheme is often a moveable feast, sometimes owned by individual giving teams and sometimes by corporate teams. We have presented to numerous corporate teams and suggested ways they can incorporate the scheme with corporate supporters, and leave a lasting legacy after a partnership has ended.
Charities, Payroll Giving Agencies (PGAs) and government are already working together to ensure consistent, high-quality supporter information to enable better donor stewardship. Steps were taken earlier this year to ensure a faster 'flow' of donations from employees to charities. There is still work to be done to make employers understand the importance of their role in this chain.
At the same time, major charities have started a dialogue with key employers to consider how the sign-up process can be made easy, quick and most significantly, the same for any employee: like a universal, web-based front-end.
Currently, it is estimated that at least £10m in charity income from Payroll Giving is lost every year simply because donors change jobs. All parties need to join forces to persuade the government to develop a mechanism for people to take their Payroll Giving donations with them when they leave their employer.
Christine Jenkins, managing director, CC Works:
'Payroll giving has great potential’ is a mantra, recited for the past 30 years. Can future growth lie in better collaboration between the numerous stakeholders, government, employers, charities, Payroll Giving agencies and professional fundraising organisations (PFOs)?
Fifteen years ago, Payroll Giving came near to sustained growth when the government offered a three-year incentive to employers. Stakeholders came together with common purpose. With no government intervention on the horizon, perhaps the other stakeholders should fund another campaign between them? If personal interests cannot be put aside for the good of the market, Payroll Giving will continue to flounder.
The problem with any sort of approach from PFOs is that it is not scaleable for charities. Without the scaleability factor that face-to-face gives them, charities will not commit funds and resources to payroll giving. This is why I now believe the mechanism itself is flawed.
And if all else fails, perhaps it is time for charities to ditch the existing model and concentrate their efforts on post-tax giving, with fewer stakeholders?
Lily Heinemann, head of corporate responsibility and community investment, Royal Mail Group:
All stakeholders need to play their part in making Payroll Giving schemes effective and successful. This begins with the government. It is crucial that they continue to identify and provide incentives to encourage businesses to run workplace Payroll Giving schemes.
Meanwhile, businesses need to make Payroll Giving schemes accessible and easy to apply for. It's important to refresh the offering to employees so they are motivated to take part. Feedback from charities about how donations are being spent is also a key driver in employee engagement: charities need to help people and businesses understand the tangible difference that their donations are making.
Royal Mail Group has run a successful Payroll Giving scheme for 25 years. Earlier this year, we celebrated £50m in charitable donations, which has supported over 975 nationwide and community-based charities. The generosity of our employees has been recognised by two National Payroll Giving Excellence Awards, and a Platinum Payroll Giving Quality Mark Award.