Charities 'need to show businesses the benefits of payroll giving'

Andrew Watt from the US Association of Fundraising Professionals says it's an important part of making philanthropy seem normal to people

Andrew Watt
Andrew Watt

Charities must make a "comprehensive effort to reach out to the business community" about the benefits of payroll giving, according to Andrew Watt, the chief executive of the US-based Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Watt, who joined the AFP in 2006 and is a former deputy chief executive of the Institute of Fundraising, was speaking at the IoF’s Payroll Giving Conference at the Home Office in London on Friday. He said payroll giving was important for "normalising philanthropic giving in the public psyche".

"I don’t think there have been enough successes within the business world," he said. "There needs to be a comprehensive effort to reach out to the business sector, to explain the advantage of engaging in this way."

Watt gave an example of a study by the research company Gallup into the relationship between employee engagement and performance. Its analysis of 199 studies encompassing 44 industries and 26 companies showed that high employee engagement increased profit levels by 16 per cent, productivity by 18 per cent, customer loyalty by 12 per cent and quality by 60 per cent.

He said payroll giving "has an important roll to play in UK philanthropy, especially inspiring people to engage as part of a community".

Watt compared the UK and US in terms of fundraising and philanthropy, and said that whereas British fundraisers were more innovative, for Americans, giving and volunteering were intrinsic parts of being in a community.

Peter Lewis, chief executive of the IoF, who was also speaking at the event, said the institute would continue to push the government for improvements to payroll giving by making it more accessible.

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