26 September 2023

PM&C and DSS test PS to be more charitable

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The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s (PM&C) Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government (BETA) has partnered with the Department of Social Services to find ways to increase workplace charitable donations in the Public Sector.

Releasing Increasing workplace giving: What works at work?, BETA said planned giving, like workplace giving, provided stability for charities and not-for-profits as a predictable source of income.

It said more employers were offering workplace giving programs, but participation in them remained low.

The Team said it conducted three trials in two Australian Public Service Departments and with one corporate partner to test the effect of different behaviourally-informed interventions on workplace giving.

It said these included behaviourally-designed emails, from peers or senior managers; providing a small gift; simple sign-up process; and asking people to ‘give later’.

“The trials found that behaviourally-informed emails from a senior manager and easier sign-up can increase charitable workplace giving,” BETA said.

“These interventions each increased giving by two to 3.8 percentage points,” it said.

“Our studies in two APS Departments show sending employees emails with information about their workplace giving program can increase participation.”

BETA said behaviourally-informed emails from a senior manager could have an even bigger impact.

The Team said however its testing found that behaviourally informed emails did not increase workplace giving sign-ups in a corporate environment.

“Making the sign-up process as easy as possible is important and alternative mediums to email should be considered if email communication is already heavily relied upon in the workplace,” it said.

BETA said a simple, tailored email sent by all APS Agencies could lead to more than 1,000 new sign-ups and around $500,000 extra in charitable donations in the first year.

The Department and BETA’s 59-page Report can be accessed at this PS News link.

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