Nearly every industry has undergone some type of transformation in recent years. Yet corporate philanthropy has remained remarkably unchanged. However, it’s finally getting a fresh, modern overhaul thanks to one innovative company.
Taking a Second Look at Traditional Corporate Philanthropy
For generations, corporate giving has operated under a very systematic process. Businesses interested in donating funds to non-profits would either write checks or, if they were large enough, start a company foundation. Unfortunately, both options present several challenges and obstacles.
In the first case, the business may not have a consistent approach to giving. Consequently, giving happens infrequently and isn’t made a priority.
Many companies wait until the end of the year to make their donations with the hope of getting a last-minute tax benefit. However, the benefits aren’t necessarily as significant as possible because the giving has undergone a stop-and-go pace throughout the year.
In the second case, companies that start foundations tend to take a more holistic, long-term view of giving. In that way, they’re more sophisticated when it comes to laying out a charitable giving roadmap.
Nevertheless, they can wind up spending a lot of time on the administrative and management aspects of their corporate philanthropy setups. This means they may have fewer dollars to contribute because so much goes into the expense of running the foundation.
Examining the Employee Role Within the Context of Traditional Corporate Giving
Where do employees fit into the picture?
Usually, they’re relegated to the role of sideline observers who have very little say or sway. Unless an employee has reached the C-suite, the employee is unlikely to be asked for opinions on non-profit suggestions. Having no voice means the employee is effectively shut out from all pertinent discussions involving giving.
Consequently, employees may or may not support the charities that receive donations from their employers. As a result, they’re effectively removed from what could be a morale-boosting, profoundly satisfying experience.
What’s the answer to streamlining corporate giving and empowering employees to participate in their employers’ philanthropic pursuits? According to Groundswell, the solution lies in reimagining Philanthropy-as-a-Service instead of as a product.
Revolutionizing the Corporate Philanthropic World Through Technology
The Groundswell response involves providing companies with a cloud-based platform that enables businesses to give money more efficiently to charities.
Groundswell’s philanthropy-as-a-service allows companies to set up “personal foundations” for all employees. These foundations can be funded from the company’s coffers or a mix of employee and company funds.
Employees can choose to manage their contributions from an intuitive Groundswell dashboard. In addition, employers can keep track of all funding through the same user-friendly portal. This creates a rare opportunity to attract and keep workers through a purpose-driven benefit.
In the words of one global chief human resource officer, “…the idea to simplify corporate giving to put it in employee’s hands, and potentially make it a benefits package offering for a company is extremely compelling.”
Groundswell founder and CEO Jake Wood agrees. He foresees Groundswell as an impetus for companies to turn philanthropic choices over to their workers.
Exploring the Advantages of Philanthropy-as-a-Service
Removing the cumbersome friction points related to traditional corporate philanthropy isn’t just efficient and practical. It’s also an avenue for businesses, teams, and the wider community to see both financial and social returns. Some of the key advantages of philanthropy-as-a-service include those listed below.
1. Employers can enhance their philanthropic initiatives.
Philanthropy matters to companies, their employees, their shareholders, and their customers. Brands can make more significant strides toward reaching their goals by putting corporate giving into their workers’ hands.
Plus, companies that opt to utilize Groundswell’s system have all their corporate philanthropy data in one location. The data can be retrieved at any time to construct reports showing how money is flowing toward social causes.
2. Employers can gain a better understanding of the charities employees love.
Companies may assume that they know the non-profits their employees prefer. But, unfortunately, many are in for a surprise. Often they’re only half correct — or perhaps they’re entirely off-track.
By democratizing the corporate giving process, employers can finally gain a more comprehensive understanding of their teams. These insights can prove invaluable, especially when trying to find and woo job candidates most likely to fit into the workplace culture.
3. Employees can get tax breaks they might have missed before.
Many people donate to non-profits throughout the year but don’t keep track of those donations. When tax time comes around, they may wind up missing the chance to get the tax breaks they’re entitled to because of a lack of documentation.
Groundswell presents employees with the ability to create end-of-year reports for tax purposes. With a complete track record of their charitable giving in one place, employees don’t have to look for lost receipts. Instead, they have everything they need to take applicable deductions.
4. Employers can establish a more purpose-driven culture.
Today, employees aren’t afraid to leave an employer if they feel disengaged. So one strategy to reduce churn is to build purpose in the workplace.
Permitting employees to make charitable contribution decisions shows them that they’re trusted. It essentially tells team members that “what matters to you matters to us as a company.” That’s a dynamic, positive message that could make an employee think twice before going anywhere else.
5. Employers can show the exact effect their teams are having on communities.
It’s one thing for a company to say that it’s given “x” dollars toward a few charities. It’s quite another to be able to show how broadly its contributions have gone to make the world a better place.
For instance, an employer might want to create year-long branding campaigns focused on each charity its employees earmarked. After all, the data would be instantly accessible through the Groundswell platform.
With the world watching corporations more closely than ever, this type of outreach could help a company illustrate its social or political commitments.
Never before have companies had the ability to change their philanthropic endeavors. However, with the philanthropy-as-a-service model, employers have the freedom to hand over more responsibility to their team members.
Groundswell isn’t just a way to equalize the practice of giving. It’s genuinely groundbreaking from every perspective.
Image Credit: GivingTuesday; Pexels; Thank you!
Managing Editor at ReadWrite
Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.