Case study: Payroll giving delivers for the postmen

Royal Mail raised £2.6m through payroll giving in the financial year ending April 2007 - an increase of £440,000 on the previous 12 months.

Organisation: Royal Mail
Campaign: Payroll Giving
Agency: Charities Trust/Payroll Giving in Action

Summary

More than a quarter of Royal Mail employees - about 50,000 people - make monthly contributions, compared with 4 per cent of the UK workforce as a whole.

An extra 7,000 new participants have signed up to the scheme in the past year, and they give to more than 850 charities. Help the Hospices, the company's official charity partner, received almost £250,000 through payroll giving in the past 12 months.

Royal Mail works with the Charities Trust, a national payroll giving and corporate donation management agency, and with professional fundraising organisation Payroll Giving in Action.

Background

Royal Mail attributes the results to encouraging its employees to get involved in the payroll-giving process. For example, staff nominate and select the official charity partner and are encouraged to fundraise and match amounts raised. The company provides mini-grants to help launch fundraising projects and feeds back to employees regularly on how much they have raised, how individual contributions mount up to larger amounts and how the money they have raised has been spent.

Royal Mail also encourages staff to volunteer, especially through Help the Hospices, and promotes payroll giving alongside volunteering and fundraising initiatives.

"We take a holistic approach and have a strong social policy," says Kay Allen, head of social policy at the Royal Mail Group.

Payroll Giving in Action has made more than 4,500 visits to Royal Mail, Post Offices and Parcelforce Worldwide to explain the benefits of the scheme. Representatives of Payroll Giving in Action make presentations designed to persuade staff to sign up on the spot.

Results

Royal Mail aims to double payroll giving donations from its employees and has a target of raising £5m by 2013. It plans to do this by encouraging volunteering and fundraising alongside payroll giving.

"We've never done cause-related marketing before, and we've never tapped into our suppliers," says Allen. "We could say to our supply chain: 'Would you like to get involved with us in raising money?'"

<h2>Expert view</h2>

<h3>Simon Burne, senior consultant, Think Consulting Solutions</h3>

This is an impressive penetration - 25 per cent of any group of people is excellent. It is down to a combination of three elements: choosing charity partners with a highly emotive cause, a long-term commitment to promoting payroll giving across the organisation and inviting a professional fundraising organisation in as a partner.

The final element is the most innovative part of this scheme. Too many organisations simply don't allow professional fundraising organisations into their workspaces because they see it as disruptive. But it is probably only by involving them strategically that payroll giving will really start to penetrate company workforces.

It would be great if the Royal Mail example could be taken up more widely. Sadly, it appears that even Royal Mail is putting its faith more in employee fundraising and volunteering in future, areas that are much more attractive from a corporate social responsibility perspective and in terms of internal PR and team-building. But these are very difficult to achieve through payroll giving.

I like this scheme, but I'm not convinced it offers the breakthrough in payroll giving we've all been waiting for.

Creativity: 3
Delivery: 4
Overall: 7 out of 10

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