Fidelity Investments has launched a charitable giving program, which aims to make it easier for employers to manage their philanthropic programs and for employees to donate to charities they care about.
The program, which is integrated with an employer’s benefits plan platform, is an online portal with a list of possible charities. In cases where an employer provides a matching gift, it can be applied immediately. According to Robert Camp, director of Fidelity Emerging Businesses, the program’s goal is to encourage employees to see charitable giving as part of their overall financial well-being.
“We saw an opportunity to put giving on the same platform, and in the same context as long-term savings, short-term savings, spending management, budgeting,” he says. When people manage their own charitable giving, it can often be reactive and spur-of-the-moment, adds Camp, noting the portal will add structure to the process.
The program includes an administration platform that allows employers to see how much their employees have donated and to where, automate their matching gift payments, promote causes they care about and report on the impact of employee giving.
Tom Ryan, emerging business lead for workplace investing at Fidelity Investments, says the program could also increase employees’ use of their employer’s matching gift benefit.
“What we found with our clients is the matching gift benefit is often one of their most generous benefits, but often the most under-used,” says Ryan. Fidelity found employee giving wasn’t widespread because they lacked a simple way to do it and because taking advantage of the company match benefit required more paperwork, he adds.
Before it established the program, Fidelity conducted research that found an increasing interest in corporate social responsibility programs, says Camp. “Benefits programs, like matching gifts and volunteering programs, . . . those are part of the overall employee engagement strategy and are driving a lot of engagement.”
Fidelity is also planning to expand the program beyond charitable donations. “We’re rolling out volunteering capabilities for companies and individuals over the next few months to get at the broader scope of giving activities for people,” says Camp.