Australian Charities Fund is a not-for-profit entity that has been the architect, driver and thought leader of workplace giving as the most effective and efficient way to channel donations from both employees and employers to the charitable sector and increase their capacity to achieve social change.
They were inspired by a review into the culture of giving that exists in both the United States and the United Kingdom, and became aware that Australia’s system of taxation was not conducive to giving. Working in step with the Federal Government, legislation was passed to encourage every Australian in employment the chance to make pre-tax donations to charity.
A common pillar of many Corporate Social Responsibility programmes is ‘Workplace Giving’ – where employees make small, regular donations to charity through their pre-tax pay. Many businesses enhance the collective impact of their Workplace Giving program through donation matching, workplace fundraising, volunteering, skill sharing and in-kind support. Formal Workplace Giving programmes in Australia became more popular after 2003 when the Federal Government and Australian Tax Commissioner created the regulatory structure through which employers could deduct charitable donations from staff pre-tax pay, meaning that the worker would receive an instant tax deduction for the donation, instead of waiting until the end of the financial year. Since then, numerous Australian workplaces have rolled-out in-house programmes and non-profit bodies like the Australian Charities Fund (ACF), have worked to educate and promote this simple and effective mechanism for organisations and their staff to support social causes. According to ACF, workplace giving contributes around $90m a year to the charity sector.
However, statistics show that maintaining staff participation and organisational engagement with Workplace Giving Programmes has plateaued over time. To revitalise awareness and participation in Workplace Giving, ACF launched the “One Million Donors Campaign” in June 2014, with the aim of reaching the target of one million Australians donating through pre-tax payroll giving by 2020. This would mean that over $300m would be donated each year. Students conducted a review of the current status of workplace giving in Australia (including analysing trends, looking at case studies, consulting with stakeholders); and provided practical recommendations and actionable strategies for ACF to achieve their One Million Donors Campaign goal.