Workplace Giving: building loyalty for the arts and uniting employees

Posted by Elissa Francis, Oct 20, 2014 0 comments

Elissa Francis Elissa Francis

With one of the oldest United Art Funds in the country, Fund for the Arts, the Louisville region is a national model for how the arts can make a community–providing an outstanding quality of life, progressive educational programs and a great place to succeed in business.

In 2014 Fund for the Arts raised more than $8 million in support of the Arts, with workplace giving making up 45% of the revenue generated. Workplace giving has risen from five participating companies in 1980, with a few hundred donors, to more than 200 companies with more than 20,000 donors providing more than $3 million annually.

There are three major factors that mark the consistent growth of workplace campaigns. One, they give employees a chance to unite around a common cause and learn more about the diverse cultural experiences happening all over the community. Workplace support of the Arts is growing this year more than ever because employees are getting hands on and becoming an essential part of building a vibrant community where they want to live, work and raise families. Beyond financial support, employee donors are contributing to the Arts in new and exciting ways.

New demand has inspired the Arts to break free of traditional spaces and buildings, reaching people in their own neighborhoods. Employees are leading the charge–attending events as patrons and facilitating them as volunteers. They can find the Louisville Orchestra in an outdoor amphitheater or Kentucky Shakespeare bringing the Bard to neighborhood parks, and the Louisville Visual Art Association has Children’s Free Art Classes in more than 75 venues across the community. Workplace donors ensure Arts organizations have active outreach programs that are bringing the Arts closer to the people.

Two, workplace campaigns engage employees and build loyalty to their teams and companies. When a company hosts a workplace campaign, they invite the Arts into their business. Often, employee committees organize an agenda of Arts opportunities for fellow employees to participate in, developing leaders and cross-department teams for high employee morale and investment. Some of the most successful campaigns revolve around Art shows where employees display their own work, or team building exercises like department basket raffles. Collaborative initiatives like workplace campaigns are a great gauge for businesses to measure how to best leverage employee resources in support of a stronger team dynamic.

Three, supporting the Arts through workplace campaigns attracts creative, talented professionals and new businesses to the region. The arts make us competitive with larger cities, creating dynamic places where businesses can attract and keep incredible talent. Potential employees want to put down roots in a community offering world-class institutions that bring innovative programming, national acclaim, exciting performances and exhibitions in traditional and non-traditional spaces. When potential employees and business owners consider relocating, they want to be contributing to a vibrant Quality of Place and a competitive 21st century city. Directly supporting the Arts through workplace campaigns is a great example of such a contribution.

Workplace giving means more than donating a portion of your paycheck every week. When donors contribute through their workplace, they are helping to bring forth the best their region has to offer- maximizing the impact of the Arts on their community.

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