Workplace Giving is NOT synonymous with United Way
There are really at least three different issues going on in the threads of the discussion about United Ways on the Chronicle of Philanthropy website, and I do think that it’s worthwhile to separate and identify them, because they are separate and distinct.
The three issues are:
1. Workplace giving as a viable means of non-profit fundraising.
2. The strategic change in direction undertaken by United Way six years ago.
3. How United Ways are perceived by others in the non-profit community.
Viability of Workplace Giving
Some of the discussion threads insinuate that workplace giving is a dinosaur and has no business in the current mix of non-profit fundraising vehicles. I vehemently disagree with that statement, because workplace giving when done well, such as with the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) has continued to grow, and is and remains, the most donor friendly way for givers to contribute to charities they care about. Most non-profits profess being donor-centric, but what they really are: is non-profit (their own) centric. If you think about it, most of us who give, care about more than one issue, and using the CFC as the model:
CFC – The Most Donor Friendly Means of Donating to your Non-profit
If you stop and truly consider the charitable giving process from the donor’s perspective, not just the non-profit’s perspective, the CFC is the most donor friendly means of donating to any non-profit. The Federal public servant donor, with one pledge card and one transaction:
● Can donate to multiple charities with just one pledge.
● Gives money to the non-profit before it ever hits their checkbook.
● Accrues no interest charges from credit card donations.
● Makes a secure donation —their personal information is never on the Web, and government payroll systems are secure.
● Donors may remain anonymous if they wish — CFC anonymous donors are some of a nonprofits best supporters, and a majority of the CFC donors choose this option.
One of the unique features of workplace giving is the fact that it occurs in the workplace. This sounds rather obvious but what much of the non-profit sector has forgotten, (or never learned) is that this means that workplace giving is the only type of non-profit fundraising that is subsidized, high leverage, low risk fundraising. As an added bonus, the monies generated are unrestricted, reliable and predictable.
Given the intense interest in the non-profit sector about leadership development, there are other hidden benefits to workplace giving, namely that it provides the perfect training ground for actually developing leadership skills.
I will address the other two issues in subsequent posts.