If you're worried that a workplace fundraiser will make your employees feel obligated to donate money they can't afford, think again.
New research from Gallup shows that the vast majority of employees who donate money to fundraisers at work do so because they want to, not because they feel they have to. Just 13 percent of workers donate money to charitable organizations because they feel obligated to do so, while only 4 percent contribute money because their employers support the charity.
"Few employees feel pressured by workplace fundraisers, perhaps because their motivations for donating to them have little to do with their employers," the study's authors wrote. "External forces, including their employers, have little sway."
Employees have much more intrinsic reasons for donating money. More than 80 percent of those surveyed said believing in the mission of the organization is a major reason they choose to donate money, with 57 percent saying they do so because they want to make a difference. [See Related Story: What is Corporate Social Responsibility?]
Employees listed several other motivations for donating that are more important than what their employers do. Those included that it's the right thing to do, the charity supports someone in the employee's life, someone in the person's personal life asked him or her to donate, and the individual sees a personal story of someone the organization is helping and wants to help.
The key to getting employees to donate money to workplace fundraisers is to make the process easy, the research found. More than two-thirds of the employees surveyed said they are likely to donate moneyif their employer makes it easy to do so.
"These findings suggest that employees are more likely to donate money at work if it's convenient for them," the study's authors wrote. "To encourage employees to participate in workplace-giving programs, charitable organizations and employers need to find ways to make the giving process seamless."
Employers who want run successful workplace-giving campaigns need to be very careful when selecting a charity to support. The researchers suggest choosing charities that have a strong positive organizational identity and that successfully engage their donors.
"Though employees do not necessarily feel pressured by workplace fundraisers, they are more likely to contribute if they believe their money supports a powerful mission," the study's authors wrote.
Businesses that do a good job keeping employees engaged are also likely to see better results from workplace-giving campaigns. The study found that people in work groups that had the highest levels of engagement with their employers were more likely to donate. Additionally, these employees donated 2.6 times more money than did people in less-engaged teams.
The research was based on a Gallup Panel web study of 17,174 U.S. adults who had donated to a charitable organization in the previous 12 months.