Muswellbrook Chronicle

Workplace giving: From tax deductions to community contributions

Workplace giving: From tax deductions to community contributions

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From tax deductions to community outreach and enrichment opportunities, there are a growing number of incentives for Aussie business owners to implement workplace giving initiatives into their own businesses. But how do you ascertain which workplace giving model is best suited for your business and its staff?

Whilst there are a variety of ways that modern businesses can give back to local, national, or even international organisations or causes, there are five major ways that Aussie businesses have been practicing generosity in the present day. We'll be exploring these five ways today so that you can find the perfect workplace giving model to help promote charitable giving and social conscientiousness in your workplace.

1. Make a business donation to a charity of your choice

Tax deductible cash donations are a fantastic and effortless way of ensuring that your business is able to make a positive contribution to its wider community. Aussie business owners can organise for their business to make a tax deductible donation in support of any Australian tax deductible charities that align with their own business values, or perhaps even values shared by that organisation's body of staff.

If you're uncertain about which charity you'd like your business to support, you can put together a poll for your employees to select a charity that appeals to them. You could make your charity selection process extra fun by making the privilege of selecting the charity first prize in a company-wide competition. For instance, the first person to reach their sales targets on the sales team will be given $150 to give to the charity of their choice, and vice versa for each other department that makes up your business.

Making tax deductible donations can also be greatly beneficial for businesses in the lead-up to the 2022 end of the financial year, as business owners can ensure that any budget remaining from this current quarter can be put to good use.

2. Support your wider community through fundraising events

Workplace giving may also provide your business with the perfect opportunity to engage with other businesses, community groups, or even schools in your area, essentially allowing you to engage with potential customers or clients as a fellow member of their local community.

In truth, it's common for business owners to find that community outreach opportunities may end up becoming just as valuable for their business growth as it is for their community as a whole, as these community events exist at a cross-section between the power of networking and the power of community care.

In other words, taking steps to ensure that your business maintains a strong presence at community events will solidify your organisation's own position as a fixture of your community, and this can only be a positive for your business as it continues to grow.

3. Volunteering your time with a charity or community group

Similar to participating in community events like fundraisers, signing your fellow co-workers or staff up to volunteering with a charity or community group is another fantastic and highly popular method of giving back. Volunteer days can also be a great way of encouraging your employees to get to know one another outside of a professional or work-related context, which can be a major benefit for any business owners who are looking to promote collaboration in their workplace.

Another of many of the primary benefits of corporate volunteering programmes is that you don't necessarily have to make a monetary contribution to that charity or community group in order to show your support, making this particular method of giving back perfect for start-ups or other small businesses.

Taking a day out of the office to make a real impact through the act of volunteering can hold an equally strong positive impact on both that charity or group, as well as all the members of your community who benefit from the work that this group does.

4. Organise salary sacrifice arrangements with your fellow staff

If you're looking for workplace giving models that operate on an ongoing basis, salary sacrifice arrangements may make for an ideal addition to your organisation's social impact initiatives. Salary sacrifice arrangements can allow your employees to make their own tax deductible donations through their employment with your organisation.

These schemes work by essentially deducting a pre-established donation from each and every paycheck that particular employee receives, ensuring that they are able to make regular, ongoing donations to a charity of their choosing without having to manually organise these donations independently.

If you are hoping to implement salary sacrifice arrangements as a model for workplace giving, we recommend that you put together a selection of charities for your employees to choose from. Providing them with a generous selection of charities and flexible giving options may make this workplace giving model that much more enjoyable for your employees to participate in.

5. Establish your own social enterprise

Finally, if you feel like your business' social impact could always be bigger than it actually is, you could adopt the ultimate workplace giving initiative of ensuring that a portion of your profits consistently goes towards a charitable cause.

This portion of your earnings could be from a particular product that was developed and released specifically for charitable purposes (i.e. ocean conservation recycled plastic bottles or pens made from recycled printer ink cartridges), or even as a fixed percentage of your gross profits.

If you'd prefer to do a little more than just a small percentage, you could opt to apply for a separate ABN and start your own social enterprise, a sister company to your existing organisation that's designed to exist as an ongoing source of corporate support for any particular cause. 'Social enterprise' is essentially the term given to businesses that make ongoing donations in the form of sacrificing a majority percentage of their profits.

This means that at least 50 per cent of all profits generated by a social enterprise have to be put towards that enterprise's socially conscious mission statement. One social enterprise that many Aussies may be familiar with is Who Gives A Crap, an ethical producer of recycled toilet and tissue paper who also ensure that a percentage of their profits goes towards providing underprivileged populations across the globe with modern toilets and sanitation resources.

As social enterprises tend to have strict operational parameters that they must adhere to in order to maintain their business classification, it's common for business owners to practice trial and error when finding the ideal model for their proposed social enterprise. We urge Aussie business owners seeking to establish their own social enterprise not to shy away from the development process.

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As you can see, workplace giving can take on a variety of forms, and this can be just as liberating as it can feel debilitating or daunting. Although you may be spoiled for choice, opening up the discussion about which workplace giving model is best suited to your business to include the voices of your fellow staff and employees, will greatly simplify the selection process and help you find the ideal arrangement for you and your enterprise.