How to make charity easier, and build your workplace culture

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Médecins Sans Frontières


written on October 8, 2017

Workplace Giving Programs not only contribute meaningfully to the most vulnerable, they increase employee engagement.

Even a brief look at the stories and news page of the Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) website reveals the breadth and depth of their work providing medical support to the vulnerable. MSF teams are treating patients suffering from malnutrition in the Helmand province in Afghanistan, they’re responding to the cholera outbreak in war-torn Yemen, and providing psychosocial support teams to assist those affected by the devastating earthquake in Mexico.

One of the fantastic things about living when and where we do, is that it has never been easier to be a part of these efforts. Organisations all around Australia have set up Workplace Giving programs that not only contribute meaningfully, they engage staff and improve company culture.

What is a Workplace Giving Program?

It’s pretty much what it sounds like. It’s a program within an organisation that enables employees to contribute to causes like the medical humanitarian work of Médecins Sans Frontières Australia.

The appeal and advantage of such programs over private charitable contributions is that nobody has to wait until the end of the tax year for a tax refund: regular pre-tax donations can come directly from employees’ wages or salary.

Employee engagement and brand strength

There’s plenty of measurable evidence that corporate philanthropy benefits an organisation’s reputation and drives employee engagement – it’s something HRM has written about before.

A report from the Australian Charities Fund and the Centre for Social Impact surveyed 4,100 employees from over 30 companies. It found that workplace givers were more motivated and prouder of their employers.  And last year, a Good2Give report found that 80 per cent of respondents felt Giving Programs made their company a better place to work.

So the question isn’t if they’re effective, it’s about how to make them work for your organisation.

The best way to engage

The evidence shows that while offering a workplace giving program is wonderful, to truly reap the rewards you need to make the program part of your company’s culture.

Obviously the best place to start is raising awareness, and this begins during employee onboarding. Letting new staff know about the Workplace Giving Program helps them identify it as a key organisational belief.

It’s also important to inform employees about their option to give pre-tax contributions, and then explain how their contributions have real world outcomes. For instance: tell staff that if they donate $10 to MSF it will only cost them $6.75. And for that amount they will have provided 25 measles vaccines, or two initial tuberculosis treatments*.

Another key factor of an effective Workplace Giving Program is making it a part of everyday life in your organisation. You can do this with regular updates on MSF’s work, as well as the amount the office has contributed. Recognition schemes for outstanding contributors are also an excellent way to reach your staff.

Finally, the Good2Give report found that companies matching staff donations can be a critical motivator for employee take-up of the program (with 81 per cent saying this was the case).

Why Médecins Sans Frontières?

Because it’s a leading independent organisation for medical humanitarian aid. It’s an organisation dedicated to things as varied as tackling diseases like malaria and Ebola, and sending medical teams to areas hit by natural disasters and in countries where years of war have crippled the medical infrastructure.

MSF teams are working in over 70 countries, in some of the most challenging situations. No matter where they work their goal is the same: to provide essential medical-humanitarian aid to those who need it most, regardless of race, religion, gender or political affiliation.

This all sounds great, what do I do?

If you don’t haven’t already set up a Workplace Giving Program, it’s a great idea to visit this ATO page for the most up to date information. You can also check out MSF’s DGR status and ABN (74 068 758 654) on the ABN Lookup website.

For further information, and to have a more in-depth conversation about workplace giving platforms or intermediaries, contact MSF’s Workplace Giving team at this email address.

If you already have a Workplace Giving Program in place and want to support MSF, complete the form at the end of this brochure and return it to PO Box 847, Broadway NSW 2007 or email to

To find out more about MSF, visit our website.

*Based on an income between $37,001 – $80,000 using 2016-17 ATO individual income tax rates, excluding Medicare levy, salary packaging etc.

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