Fidelity rolls out charitable giving benefits platform for employers

Fidelity is trying to make it easier for employers to help their employees give back.

The financial services firm on Monday launched Fidelity Workplace Giving, a new program that allows its employer clients to weave a charitable giving program into their corporate benefits platform. Through the online platform, which can be utilized on mobile devices, employees can evaluate charities, make donations, and have a company match automatically applied.

The goal? To make it easier for employees to manage their charitable donations alongside their 401(k), health savings account and other workplace benefits.

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Fidelity Workplace Giving is integrated with NetBenefits, the company’s workplace benefits platform, and is part of its total financial wellness offering, the company says. Though there are third-party charitable giving platforms on the market for employers — including Global Impact’s Growfund — Fidelity contends its new platform is unique because its program integrates into a company’s current benefits program. That allows employers to measure activity and gauge the impact of the charitable program, as well as manage any matching contributions, says Tom Ryan, senior business systems analyst at Fidelity. “[For employers,] it reduces the administrative burden of managing their philanthropy programs,” he says.

Through the program, employees can choose to donate to hundreds of charities through their workplace. Charities are aggregated into a single view that can be sorted by name, industry or cause, and workers can preset or select the amount they want to donate.

Ryan says so far the platform is “available to a large percentage” of employers who utilize Fidelity’s workplace plan administration, but will gradually expand to its entire client base. He did not specify the cost of the program but said Workplace Giving involves an administrative fee that is based on the number of eligible employees, as well as a per-transaction fee that may be covered by the employer or the employee.

The new program, Fidelity says, is in response to a growing desire from employees who want to work for organizations that are socially responsible and offer benefits such as volunteer opportunities or charitable giving programs. That desire is especially true for millennials: According to a 2017 Cone Communications study, for instance, more than three quarters of millennials (79%) prefer to work for a socially responsible company, and nearly two-thirds (64%) won’t take a job if a potential employer doesn’t have strong corporate social responsibility practices.

See also: How to create a successful employee volunteer program

Fidelity is betting the tool will “help employers attract, engage, and retain talent because employees increasingly want to work for a socially responsible company,” Ryan says, adding that there has been a “very positive response” from the firm’s clients so far.

Waters Corp., a specialty measurement company headquartered in Milford, Massachusetts, with 7,000 employees, is among the companies that will roll out the platform to its workers, he says.

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