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More US Professionals Donate to Hunger, Homelessness, Education, and Social and Racial Equity Causes Through the Workplace, Says New Deloitte Survey

Professionals remain generous donors through the pandemic, especially young professionals who enthusiastically support COVID-19 relief efforts through workplace giving.

New York, March 3, 2021

Key Takeaways

  • Thirty-seven percent of professionals took advantage of workplace giving programs in 2020, and most said they were motivated by the opportunity to donate to the specific causes they care about.
  • Hunger, homelessness, education, and social and racial equity were causes that more respondents donated to in 2020 compared to 2019, demonstrating how the pandemic and public demand to address racial inequity are impacting donations.
  • Young professionals are emerging as enthusiastic workplace donors and increasing their donations year-over-year more than those in other age groups. 

Media contacts:

Kafia Hosh
Public Relations
Deloitte Services LP
+1 571 766 7109

Amber Arnold
Public Relations
+1 510 381 0960

Why this matters

Against the backdrop of the coronavirus outbreak and calls for racial justice over the past year, many U.S. professionals — who by and large choose to give independently — are taking the opportunity to support social causes that are meaningful to them through a workplace giving program, according to a new external survey from Deloitte of more than 1,000 U.S. working professionals who donated in the last year.

While most professionals choose to give through channels outside of work, providing giving opportunities in a company’s corporate citizenship program can be an important part of the toolset for companies to show their support for workers who want to make an impact that matters. This is particularly true when workplace giving programs reflect the causes and commitments their people are looking to support a better society.

— Doug Marshall, managing director of Corporate Citizenship for Deloitte

Donation behaviors and motivators

According to the survey, just 37% of professionals who donated in 2020 leveraged a workplace giving program. More than one-third (34%) of these professionals had not donated in this way the year prior – which may indicate growing interest in, or increased access to, charitable giving options in the workplace. Among professionals who did not give through a workplace program, 45% said they were already regular donors to a cause or organization outside of their employer’s program – the number one reason for not using workplace giving programs. Another 17% cited a lack of awareness that such a program existed at their company, demonstrating a greater need for communication between employers and professionals about workplace giving options available to them.

Professionals say having the opportunity to donate to specific causes and organizations they care about (36%) and donation matching by their employer (22%) would motivate them to donate through a workplace giving program. As for what drives professionals to donate overall, the top two reasons cited are to support a mission that is important to advancing their community and society (57%) and supporting a mission that they or someone they know is personally connected with (51%). To make workplace giving programs more valuable, companies should ensure that their people can identify and donate to causes and organizations that are personal to them.

Impact of COVID-19 and top donation causes
During a year where COVID-19 forced millions of Americans out of work and school, along with public demand for racial and social justice, ensuing issues were reflected in donation trends. The top social causes to which professionals donated through a workplace giving program in 2020 were: hunger and homelessness (47%), education (23%), social and racial equity (20%); the percentage of professionals giving to each of these causes was up double digits over 2019. Nearly 2 in 10 (19%) gave specifically to COVID-19 relief efforts, such as personal protective equipment (PPE), economic recovery, and financial support for essential worker.

And while the pandemic has led many people to cut back on discretionary spending – according to Deloitte’s real-time State of the Consumer Tracker – our new survey shows that for many it has not impacted their charitable giving. In fact, 74% of respondents who donated through a workplace program donated the same amount or more in 2020 compared to 2019. This number rose to 80% for professionals donating independently.

Gen Z and millennial workplace donors
Nearly 6 in 10 (58%) of young professionals aged 18-34 gave through a workplace program in 2020, compared to only 37% of all professional donors. They also increased their workplace donation amounts in response to COVID-19 at a higher rate (35%), compared to all professionals (28%).

Gen Z and millennial professionals supported racial and social equity significantly more than older professionals – with 36% of those aged 18-34 donating to the cause, compared to 12% of professionals aged 55 and above. Additionally, 31% of young professionals gave specifically to COVID-19 relief efforts through workplace giving programs, compared to 19% of professionals overall. Employers have an opportunity to continue engaging these young donors as they move up in their organizations.

The future of giving
“It’s inspiring to see that more young professionals were able to leverage their workplace giving programs to donate to causes including COVID-19 and racial and social equity over the last year,” said Marshall. “Looking ahead, employers have a real opportunity to ensure their workplace giving programs are broad enough to align with professionals’ charitable interests and also flexible enough to help advance important relevant social causes.”

To learn more about Deloitte’s Corporate Citizenship program, please visit our website.

About the survey
The 2021 Deloitte Workplace Giving Survey explores workplace donation behaviors of and the value of employer-sponsored giving programs. The sample for the survey was 1,010 employed U.S. professionals who have donated in the past year. Fieldwork was conducted between December 18 – 28, 2020, using an email invitation and an online survey.

About Deloitte
Deloitte provides industry-leading audit, consulting, tax and advisory services to many of the world’s most admired brands, including nearly 90% of the Fortune 500® and more than 7,000 private companies. Our people come together for the greater good and work across the industry sectors that drive and shape today’s marketplace — delivering measurable and lasting results that help reinforce public trust in our capital markets, inspire clients to see challenges as opportunities to transform and thrive, and help lead the way toward a stronger economy and a healthier society. Deloitte is proud to be part of the largest global professional services network serving our clients in the markets that are most important to them. Now celebrating 175 years of service, our network of member firms spans more than 150 countries and territories. Learn how Deloitte’s more than 330,000 people worldwide connect for impact at

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