SMH: Top companies see charitable giving a win for all

23 June, 2016

Ten ASX companies have been recognised for their charitable giving with up to 65 per cent of employees at some companies donating to charity on a regular basis.

Chief executive of the Australian Charities Fund Jenny Geddes launched an online campaign in June which aims to encourage 1 million employees to donate to charity through workplace giving.

To attract the best talent, people want to work for companies who care and who are socially responsible.

Kathleen McCudden, SEEK

The most recent national data from 2014 shows 156,000 Australians were giving money to charities through workplace initiatives that deduct pre-tax donations from pay packets.

“We have always known that workplace giving is a sensible way to give and support charities,” Ms Geddes said. “We launched the 1 million donors campaign to create an ambitious target for employers.

“If we can get to 1 million donors that will mean $250 million flowing to the charity sector based on an average donation of $200 per workplace-giving donor per year.”

Ms Geddes said the new online platform for the first time allowed employers to benchmark the progress of their workplace-giving programs against other employers across the nation.

The top workplace givers who registered with the online campaign this year include JB Hi-Fi, SEEK, Collins Foods Group, Flight Centre, BHP Billiton and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Richard Murray, chief executive of JB Hi-Fi and chairman of the Australian Charities Fund’s employer leadership group said his company and its employees had given $10 million to charity since 2008, including $1.6 million this year.

The company matches employee donations dollar for dollar and sponsors nine charities including Redkite, Oxfam, the Fred Hollows Foundation, Song Room  and animal welfare charities.

Kathleen McCudden, human resources director of SEEK, which was ranked second behind JB Hi-Fi in the top 10 ASX givers table, said 57 per cent of her company’s 780 employees were involved in workplace giving.

“One of our core beliefs is to have a positive impact on society,” she said.

“We really encourage individuals to sign up and do their bit. That is why we’ve been able to drive high participation rates.

“To attract the best talent, people want to work for companies who care and who are socially responsible.”

SEEK supports charities including The Big Issue and Street, The Smith Family and Cathy Freeman Foundation.

Flight Centre Foundation general manager Anita Russell said 30.5 per cent of her company’s 10,000 employees were involved in workplace giving.

“We have always been a company that gives but have done it in an ad hoc way,” she said.

Around $1 million from employees and benefactors will flow through the Flight Centre Foundation to charities. Workplace giving accounts for around $800,000 of the donations which are matched dollar for dollar by the company.

“The buck starts with our guys,” Ms Russell said. “Every dollar they donate through workplace giving is matched dollar for dollar by the company.”

Flight Centre has six charity partners including cancer support for children, Redkite, Youngcare, Bush Heritage Australia, Foodbank, Cambodian Children’s Trust and KCF.

“All of our partners have been chosen with input from our people,” Ms Russell said.

“Workplace giving is a no-brainer. It is a win for people because it is so easy and they know they are having an impact. It is good for the company and it is a win for our charity partners because they have [a consistent flow of money].”

Source: The top 10 charitable ASX companies, The Sydney Morning Herald