Giving back with reward & recognition21.01.21
General Manager, OneHub | Recognition
As employers, we have a certain amount of influence over our people – through workplace culture, communications, and much more. (It is no coincidence that some of the most philanthropic organisations employ the most compassionate individuals; not only does good attract good, but kindness breeds kindness.) We also have the responsibility to use this ‘power’ for good. One example of using this influence positively is by promoting initiatives which improve the wellbeing of our people and support our community. This includes the recent eruption of wellbeing messaging, the focus on greener business practices, and the ongoing emphasis on charitable giving.
One fantastic way of encouraging social responsibility within your employees is promoting benefits like payroll giving (also called Give As You Earn), but a new way of giving – through employees donating their rewards – is about to take the world of work by storm…
People are in the mood for giving
It’s a common misconception that during difficult times people’s purses tighten. However, research in fact shows that people are inclined to be more generous during ‘unprecedented times’. In the peak of Covid-19’s first wave – between January and July 2020 – British people donated a total of £5.4 billion to charity; £800 million more than the same period in 2019. While the general public reported feeling more anxious about household finances during this time, they donated more to charity.
This is perhaps a result of gratitude for our own welfare; which mirrors studies revealing less well-off people are more generous and charitable (4.95% vs. 2.95%) than those of ‘higher class’ and wealth. For employers, this means now is the ideal time to launch or promote your charitable giving and donation schemes.
Digital donations are the new normal
When you think about donating to charity, what do you picture? For many of us, it may be a paper slip at the end of a magazine, or perhaps some loose change in a charity bucket at the supermarket. However, donating to charity looks very different today.
With the world already en route to a cashless society thanks to the Internet of Things, it’s no shock that Covid-19 hastened the decline of cash donations for charities – usually the UK’s most popular way of giving – as cash donations saw a substantial drop off from 34% to 13% in the last year. While in-person collections and spontaneous donations halted thanks to global lockdowns, the number of people giving via apps increased significantly over the same period; and remains at higher levels than normal. Research from the Charities Aid Foundation suggests this new virtual charitability is here to stay, which means employers looking to embark on payroll giving initiatives or encourage employee donations should focus more on app-based donation functions than other pathways.
The spontaneity of charity
In a previous blog, we explored why giving to charity makes us feel good, and how the simple act of seeing someone else donate can spur others to also donate. But did you know that spontaneity also plays a significant part in charitability?
Think about it – if you’re walking down the high street, what is more likely to make you donate: if you must go out of your way to seek out someone collecting for charity, or if someone is standing outside a shop as you put away your loose change? What about online; are you more likely to navigate to a charity’s website yourself and fill in a donation form, or just tick a box to add an extra 5p onto an existing transaction? The world of work already knows that the most effective communications and rewards are in-the-moment, so why would donations be any difference?
App-based charity donations, particularly when built into an existing social platform, are especially effective because they appear to the user just when they’re most likely to donate. Let’s consider the peer-to-peer social recognition platform, OneHub | Recognition; an employee logs in to browse the social feed or view a new recognition notification and sees they’ve been rewarded £10 to redeem. When they navigate to the voucher shop, an option to donate their reward (or part of it) to a charity of their choice is listed. The employee considers that this is £10 they wouldn’t have spent if it weren’t a work reward, there’s nothing they’re saving for, and there’s that one animal charity they keep seeing adverts for… A couple of clicks later and the employee is left feeling particularly altruistic, likely to take that positive feeling and tell their colleagues, and a worthy charity gained an unexpected donation, all through one smooth user experience.
The culture of passing it on
When looking at the example, it’s easy to see how giving makes us feel good. Not only does donating to charity make us feel happy as individuals (and even decrease stress and improve blood pressure!), but it can spark a domino effect. Our research at Benefex has shown that seeing someone else perform a good deed makes us feel good too, and this often leads to a spiral of giving, where one donation inspires another and another. This can be especially prevalent in the workplace, where it’s commonplace to discuss how one another spent their recent reward voucher.
Making donations accessible
Donating to charity online or via an app is also far more accessible than traditional donation routes. When donating cash, people who cannot spare much may feel embarrassed by the amount they are donating and end up avoiding donating at all. Similarly, donating in person or via post takes considerably more effort than when donating through an app. For employees who have disabilities, busy lives, or caring responsibilities, being able to donate on their phone while waiting for the bus may be the difference between donating or not.
We can also consider the variety of charities available – in-person donations are often limited to local charities, or organisations with the most resources to advertise (ironically, often meaning the charities who need donations most are missed). Through OneHub | Recognition mobile donations, employees can easily redeem their rewards for a donation to a charity close to their heart. After confirming the reward choice, employees receive a charity token which can be redeemed with over 20,000 charities.
The future of giving
Employees’ interest in charitable donations isn’t slowing down anytime soon. In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, 5% more people than usual reported they intended to donate in the next year. With growing demand from employees, it’s employers’ responsibility to facilitate this generosity in the safest, most accessible, way.
The donate-your-reward function within OneHub | Recognition is the ideal solution: a peer-to-peer social recognition app which helps you say ‘thank you’ anywhere, any time, on any device. Show your appreciation for colleagues with meaningful in-the-moment messages, GIFs, and rewards. Your people can redeem rewards instantly, on the go, with our easy-to-use online vouchers – including, of course, the choice to donate their reward to a chosen charity.
Find out more
Get a demo of the donate-your-reward function here
Joining Benefex from her home in Toronto, Canada, Lauren has a wealth of experience in high-growth tech start-ups, and a fierce passion for innovation in tech.
A lover of a good challenge, Lauren says building happy teams is what gets her out of bed in the morning (that and her dog, Mishu, needing a walk). At Benefex, she does this through heading up our market-leading OneHub | Recognition product!
When not at work, Lauren loves exploring the world multi-week trekking, surfing (terribly), and cycling. Her favourite aspects of life in the UK include Sunday roasts at classic country pubs, the sheer variety of regional accents, and the wonder that is Gogglebox!