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Volunteering Up, Giving Down At Workplace Programs

A post-pandemic shift back to in-person work appears to be producing a corresponding increase in employee volunteerism outside of work.

That’s the conclusion of a team of researchers who found that 7.2% more employees across industry sectors volunteered their time last year as compared with the year before. More impressively, the total number of hours volunteered by employees went up 34% last year, of which 82% took place at in-person events.

Blackbaud, the cloud-based social impact software giant, released the findings as part of its 11th annual report on trends in philanthropic engagement by employers and employees. The 64-page report, titled Industry Review: Employee Engagement and Corporate Social Responsibility, was compiled from program data gathered from more than 417 participating companies that use Blackbaud’s software to oversee corporate grant programs and to manage giving and volunteering by their more than 8 million employees worldwide.

“After a few challenging and transformative years, employees are participating in volunteering, giving and various social impact actions and activities with a notably increased desire to get back to in-person engagement,” said Andrew Troup, director of corporate giving and engagement strategy at Blackbaud.

The resurgence in volunteerism was accompanied by a 9.8% increase in the number of employees who gave last year. Much of the increase was driven by companies and employees rallying together to support emergency relief for Ukraine. Total funding for disaster relief among the respondents increased more than $12.2 million last year with 84% of it going to campaigns supporting Ukraine, according to the authors.

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The total dollar amount of giving decreased last year, however. “Although more employees participated in giving, the average amount they gave was lower in 2022 compared to 2021. This makes sense considering the economic uncertainty clouding the year,” the authors wrote. Among other findings in the report were:

  • The average employee donation last year was $720. This was down from the $824 reported the year before.
  • The average gift per donor, with company match included, was $1,120.
  • 45% of overall giving last year was funded by company dollars including matching gifts and rewards.
  • Companies are increasingly engaging employees with year-round giving, with 92% of respondents now offering year-round programs. This is up from the 81% reporting doing so during 2021.

One unexplained finding was a significantly higher average gift amount by employees based in Africa ($1,514) as compared with second-place North America ($722) and third-place Oceania ($370), which encompasses Australia, New Zealand and the Polynesian islands of the Pacific. Trailing behind these top three were Asia ($290), Europe ($271), and South America ($132).

A similarly unexplained finding was the large disparity in state-by-state giving within the United States, where the average gift size was $800. However, this average varied widely from Nevada’s low ($187) to Iowa’s high ($1,374). Those working in the nation’s capital, meanwhile, had them all beat with an average reported gift size from employees in Washington, D.C. hitting $1,673.

No explanation was given or even attempted for these disparities. “As these numbers are based on data in our platforms, we have global clients and some of their employees are more active with giving in those regions than in others,” commented Caroline Stallings, a Blackbaud spokesperson.

This article was originally published by The NonProfit Times.