Monday 24th June 2019

June is workplace giving month – are you involved?

June is workplace giving month, and it’s the perfect opportunity to celebrate the significant positive contribution made to Australian communities by companies who have workplace giving programs in place. 

For many years now, Australian Investment Council members are some of the biggest supporters of workplace giving. Firms such as Pacific Equity Partners, NextCapital and KKR Private Equity – to name a few – have led the charge in not only implementing programs within their firms, but also in supporting the implementation of programs within the portfolio businesses that they invest into. 

One recent convert to workplace giving is consumer healthcare company, iNova. The business is a portfolio company that was acquired in 2017 by private equity firms Pacific Equity Partners (PEP) and The Carlyle Group (CG). In addition to the strategic support being provided to iNova by both PEP and CG, the firms helped to support iNova in successfully implementing it’s first-ever workplace giving program – known as iGive. 

PEP and CG recruited the assistance and experience of Workplace Giving Australia to help with implementation of the iGive program, guiding key milestones on the journey such as surveying staff to understand the causes they care about the most, and selecting charity partners. Workplace Giving Australia also helped iNova with the official launch of the program at iNova’s annual conference, which was attended by all 200 staff. The launch event involved charity partners presenting to iNova staff on the work they do within the community and the positive impact that comes from supporting the charity. iNova CEO, Dan Spira, also took the opportunity to share his commitment to the iGive program, and what it means for him at a personal level. Following the event, 98% of staff rated the iGive launch presentation as ‘informative and motivating’, and 80% of staff signed up to iGive on-the-spot at the launch – a fantastic result that was well beyond the expectations of management. 

In a recent survey, 99% of iNova staff rated the organisation a ‘better place to work’ because of the broader positive societal impact that comes from participating in the iGive program. 

Private capital investment firms are uniquely positioned to help management teams of their portfolio companies to foster and drive improvements in workforce culture. The experience that many firms have in seeing the positive workforce transformations that can happen through giving programs is invaluable – and in an environment where everyone is more focussed on the social responsibilities of business, this sort of initiative can play a key role in the journey of businesses looking to evolve and improve their financial and non-financial performance. 

The significant contribution made by Workplace Giving Australia to growing the adoption of programs across all businesses in Australia is precisely the reason why they are a philanthropic partner of the Australian Investment Council. It’s also the reason why our industry supports the organisation’s target of attracting One Million Donors to workplace giving programs by 2020. It’s a target that can be achieved, especially with the weight that our industry can bring to the challenge.

Benefits of workplace giving programs

Companies that offer the opportunity for workplace giving bolster their socially responsible reputation in the market, and can attract and retain the best talent who are increasingly being driven by ‘purpose’;
Charities that benefit from workplace giving partnerships are able to plan their periodic activities with greater certainty while reducing expensive fundraising costs; and
  Employees are empowered by making a positive social impact through their workplace while receiving an immediate tax benefit with all contributions deducted from pre-tax income.

Workplace Giving Australia (which was previously known as the Australian Charities Fund) found that “Organisations with high employee engagement experience 2.5 times greater revenue growth than those organisations with low employee engagement and have reported profitability up to 16% higher than average.”*  In addition to this, Pro Bono Australia found that “When employees were given a social incentive such as having a charitable donation linked to their job, performance increased by an average of 13 per cent, rising to 30 per cent among those who were initially the least productive.”** 

The Australian Investment Council is a big believer in workplace giving, and we constantly encourage our member firms – and the portfolio businesses they invest into – to consider implementing giving programs wherever possible. We want the private capital industry in Australia to continue to expand the contribution we make towards the One Million Donors by 2020 target. 

Together, we can make a really big difference to our community.

If you are not yet a part of this movement for change, you can find more information and toolkits to get you started at One Million Donors. Workplace Giving Australia is also happy to assist with the implementation of workplace giving programs within businesses, please contact us for an introduction to the WGA team.

*   Australian Charities Fund, Cutting to the Heart of Workplace Giving (November 2009), p.14
** Pro Bono Australia, Corporate Philanthropy Increases Workers’ Productivity – Study (14 January 2015).