Workplace Giving 101: What Business Owners Need To Know
Sep 20, 2022
With more and more charities and social enterprises working to address some of the globe’s most pressing concerns, there has never been a better time for business owners to strengthen the global positive impact of their business by giving back. Workplace giving has become a fixture in the global business landscape, so much so that many jobseekers look to a corporation’s community involvement and history of charitable giving when making final decisions regarding their employment.
But there’s more to workplace giving than simply knowing what donations are tax deductible. In the present day, charities, NGOs, and social enterprises have taken measures to make it as easy as possible for corporations and their employees to offer their support or even get involved. So it’s really up to business owners and their staff to decide which workplace giving schemes or opportunities align best with their company culture and collective capabilities.
Read on for a little deep dive into the different kinds of workplace giving schemes available for corporations in the present day.
Tax deductible lump sum donations
One of the simplest methods for modern business owners to give back is to make a one-off lump sum donation to a charitable organisation. These tax deductible lump sum donations can be made for a variety of reasons, including as a means of honouring a staff member, client, or any other figures connected to the business, or simply as a means of correcting a departmental or company-wide budget surplus.
Tax deductible lump sum donations are generally given nearing the end of the financial year, or even around the holiday season before your office or workplace closes in time for the Christmas and New Year break. For this reason, many business owners are likely to introduce this business donation as a ‘gift’ to the selected charity or non-profit organisation.
As these lump sum donations are designed to be a one-off, this particular method for workplace giving may not be as viable for business owners who are looking to introduce a longer term scheme for their company and staff.
Salary sacrifice arrangements
If you’d prefer to donate a small amount every week over a year rather than make a lump sum donation, then a salary sacrifice arrangement may be the ideal scheme for you. There are, however, some minor stipulations that must be considered when entering into a salary sacrifice arrangement
Unlike lump sum donations, donations made within a salary sacrifice arrangement are unfortunately not tax deductible, as your employer is technically making the donation on your behalf, and the value of your donation is generally made up elsewhere, like with the inclusion of a company car. If you’re an employee and you’d like your salary contribution to be made tax deductible, you can do so by communicating with your employer and specifying that you seek to deduct your salary contributions in your personal tax return. Your employer should take this into consideration and convert your traditional salary sacrifice agreement into a workplace giving programme.
How does a workplace giving program differ from a salary sacrifice arrangement? The former involves providing a letter or receipt outlining all the donations made within a financial year, whilst the latter simply displays the deducted amount from your payslips. Employees participating in a workplace giving scheme are generally provided with donation receipts or a running total of donations in your payslips. If you don’t receive either of these, then your donation may not be tax deductible, and you should contact your employer for more information.
Fundraising events and initiatives
Alongside making monetary donations independently, your business and employees may also opt to participate in local fundraising events or perhaps even host your own fundraiser. Hosting a fundraising event for your business is a fantastic way of encouraging your employees to become passionately involved in a cause, as well as ensuring that your business itself stays well-represented in your wider local community.
Potential ideas for corporate fundraising events include hosting fetes, picnics, auctions, a sporting event like a triathlon, or any other fun event ideas that could get your wider community involved.
It’s important to note too that fundraising events don’t necessarily need to involve community outreach in order to be effective either. In fact, many companies host internal fundraising events that are designed to engage employees and their families. Ideas for these internal events can include a company-wide trivia night, raffles, black tie awards nights or fundraising galas, or other events that employees can enjoy together.
Organising volunteer programmes
If your employees enjoy making their charitable contributions out in the world, then chances are high that introducing a volunteer programme into your workplace will be very well-received. Your volunteer programme can be developed in collaboration with a local charity like a soup kitchen or perhaps even an after school programme designed to offer enrichment opportunities for children.
Although many volunteer programmes may not require volunteer candidates to possess any prerequisite skills or qualifications, this is not to say that you and your employees should expect to be able to join an existing volunteer programme without completing any documentation or training sessions. Even though volunteer positions offer no financial compensation, they still involve labour contracts that may hold their own stipulations. For instance, any volunteer programmes that involve volunteers working with children will naturally require all volunteers to undergo police checks or at the very least, to possess an in-date volunteer Working With Children Check.
Be sure to factor preparation and onboarding for programmes to be included in the information you provide to your employees.
Why invest in workplace giving?
Whether you’re donating out of your own personal budget, as an employee, or collectively as a corporation, there’s no denying that giving back can feel incredibly rewarding. This is indefatigably the primary reason why many business owners and employees alike seek out opportunities for workplace giving.
On top of these personal benefits, workplace giving also continues to offer organisations and employees with a handful of additional tax benefits, as well as increased opportunities for community engagement and networking. With all this considered, it’s no wonder why workplace giving schemes are considered to be a quintessential component of modern business.