There are new options for workplace giving tools almost every month. The United Way may have normalized the idea of ‘giving at the office’ but these new tools take the concept way beyond traditional giving campaigns.
With so many options available these days to manage workplace giving, we’ve created a list for our readers – and we’ve added our own perspective. The following list is not exhaustive by any means. In fact, we’d like to extend an invitation to our readers to create a more complete list by adding organizations we’ve missed in the comments section below.
What makes a workplace giving tool useful?
We’re taking a slightly different approach than our previous post ‘7 Reasons Why Online Giving Improves Workplace Giving’. This approach is also different than discussing what makes an online tool engaging such as:
- an attractive interface (what the site looks like)
- easy to understand
- an enjoyable and social experience (competitions, sharing achievements with friends, etc)
- the ability to add and manage my own personal interests alongside those of the company
- the ability to see my progress (how much have I given, how much has my team or company given?)
While related to the above list, the attributes that make an online tool useful to CSR and community investment managers are:
Real time reporting - it needs to be simple, accessible and organized. If you’re still using a spread sheet you’re probably wasting your time and the company’s money.
Integrated giving and volunteering – Nobody wants to purchase, learn and manage two separate systems: one for volunteering and the other for workplace giving. Especially since the two are becoming more and more intertwined in practice.
A ‘both/and’ approach – You need to be able to promote the company’s Corporate Citizenship priorities and signature nonprofit partners. But this shouldn’t be at the expense of your employees interests. A good giving tool will allow you to do both and give you plenty of options on how you go about it.
Recognition - Automating your recognition process can save you a lot of time and avoid creating feelings among your employees of being unnoticed for their efforts. For example, a great way to reward employees is with a donation gift card, bearing your brand, that can be used for the cause of their choice.
Mobility - IBM has declared this the ‘post-PC era’. Whether or not you agree, it’s difficult to ignore the staggering increase in mobility and smart phone usage. Whatever tool you choose needs to have a mobility aspect to it for recording hours, making donations and viewing dashboards.
12 workplace giving solutions
Be sure the check out the comparison table at the end of this article.
We’ve gotten to know Ryan Scott, the CEO of Causecast over the past few months and he’s a great guy. The big news is that Causecast recently announced the launch of its Employee Impact Platform. From what we’ve seen, it looks like it will be a great option for companies looking to drive engagement.
We’ve been a part of helping Benevity design their workplace giving and volunteering tool and we think it stands out as an industry leader. They’re newer to the field than some of the other organizations, so you can count on some fresh ideas. The leadership team of Bryan de Lottinville, Jana Taylor and David Scuik have tons of integrity.
We’ve known Andy Mercy for a couple of years now and we think he’s designed a great tool that’s attractive and very easy to use. There’s been a bit of change up at AngelPoints as they’ve been recently acquired by MicroEdge. We’re hoping for good things for Andy Mercy and his team.
YourCause clients seem to really love the tool. YourCause has been acquiring clients who used to be with some of the more traditional vendors in the field. The tool is versatile and includes a strong social element. Matt Combs, the CEO, is a fun guy as well!
Although VolunteerMatch is primarily a ‘volunteer engagement platform’, they’ve had corporate solutions for some time including workplace giving and volunteering management. They stand out as one of the largest players in the space with an impressive roster of clients. We’ve been happy to be featured in their webinars and look forward to hosting round table discussions at their upcoming client summit this May.
If you’re a large company with a decent budget (Eli Lilly for example), Global Giving seems like a great option. I don’t know the team over there very well, but from what I understand, their tool offers a plethora of great features. It may be important to note that Global Giving charges 15% fulfillment fee per donation. For example, Eli Lilly’s donations of $850,000 would have cost them $127,500 to process.
Unfortunately, I don’t know a whole lot about Give Back – simply because they aren’t a name we come across very often. It’s also a bit tough to figure out the cost of Give Back. It seems their revenue comes from the interest accumulated from the dollars they manage. This may cause some kind of delay in seeing the dollars move from donor to charity which means a more traditional model of giving as used by the United Way. But again , I’m not the best source for info on this particular tool.
Grant Stream is a Canadian standard. They’ve been in the market for quite some time and many Canadian companies use them. The only complaint we hear is that the data needs to be handled several times in order to be useful. Also, because they began as a grant management system, they lack many of the other attributes necessary for easy volunteer management.
Truist is used by a number of large companies. They’ve been in the field since 1999 and have managed to become fairly well known. They struggle with a friendly user experience and many managers complain of difficulty understanding the data the reporting system produces.
JK Group is arguably one of the first companies offering online giving tools for corporate philanthropy. In, in the Fall of 2010 they were acquired by Susquehanna Growth Equity, LLC (SGE) and Brad Galle (now CEO). The hope was that this acquisition would enable the JK Group to move forward and develop more versatile technological abilities as well as a more enjoyable user experience. With almost 300 clients, many of whom are well known brands, JK Group is the largest player in the field with the most experience. While this is a an advantage, it has also become a drawback as many companies are beginning to look to new options which have more advanced technological abilities.
Cyber Grants, as the name suggests, is primarily a grant management system. They do offer an array of employee solutions that include volunteering and giving. But if their website is any indication they are about a decade behind in the look and feel you’d expect from an online tool. In fact, you can only submit a rudimentary form to request a quote for grant management. They have no examples or detailed information about workplace giving or volunteer management.
Network for Good manages the backend of the giving process for a variety of vendors. They integrate their platform with the vendors such as AngelPoints and YourCause and power online credit card donations, payroll
donations, dollars-for-doers, charity gift cards and other giving
functionality. To provide this essential service, Network For Good collects 4.75% of all the donations that the vendors process.
But your company can use them directly if you like. They integrate their donation processing platform into your companies site. So they are not a stand alone solution like the other vendors listed here and there is a set up fee of $199, plus a monthly fee of $49.95. Additionally, the collect 5% of each donation the process.
Here’s an example of their work with DC Comics and Warner Brothers
A little secret
…which brings me to a little known secret. It is impossible for any vendor to pass along 100% of donations. There is always a cost associated with transferring these dollars. For example, many vendors pass the money along to another organization such as Network for Good (a nonprofit) that distributes it for them. Typically the cost of this process is 5-15% of each donation. The reason some vendors can claim that 100% of donations go to charity is because they themselves are a registered charity. For example, the United Way charges 10-35% to process corporate donations – but the United Way is a charity, so they are able to claim that 100% of donations go to charity. Make sense?
There are only two ways to ensure that 100% of each donation arrives at the charity of choice. First, the organization keeps the money for a period of time (up to a year) and makes interest off of it. Second, the company pays an additional fee to offset the costs of handling the funds. This fee is over and above the cost of the online solution and any additional support your company may require.
Help us complete the list! (who’d we miss?)
A comparison of each tools capabilities
If you’d like the Excel Spreadsheet file – just email me, Angela Parker, at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get that to you right away!
Realized Worth works with major corporations to launch high impact employee volunteer programs. We focus specifically on the challenge of employee engagement. Call us to chat: 317.371.4435.