The Future of Giving


with Brian Gallagher, President and CEO of the United Way Worldwide


Apr 13, 2018

Workplace giving through payroll deductions has become a key method of fundraising for non-profit organizations. On this edition of Comcast Newsmakers, Brian Gallagher, President and CEO of the United Way Worldwide discussed the next phase of workplace giving, the Philanthropy Cloud, which will encourage engagement through digital technology.

Produced by: National Newsmakers Team

Traynham: According to the organization America´s Charities, workplace giving is one of the most cost-effective ways to support charities, raising about $4 billion for charity each year. Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Comcast Newsmakers." I´m Robert Traynham. Joining me to discuss the next phase of workplace giving is Brian Gallagher, president and CEO of United Way Worldwide. Brian, as always, good to see you. Welcome to the program.

Gallagher: You, too, Robert. Thanks.

Traynham: So let´s talk for a few moments about workplace giving. As I mentioned a few moments ago, $4 billion a year, on average. I think most people feel good about giving to charity, especially when it´s either a charitable contribution that´s matched by your employer or, candidly speaking, if it´s something that you feel very passionate about. Walk us through the next phase of charitable giving, ´cause I think most people, they write the check...

Gallagher: Yep.

Traynham: ...they get something in the mail, or perhaps something in their payroll stub, they write the check, that´s the end of it.

Gallagher: Well, and it -- and most of that $4 billion is actually coming -- a payroll deduction, coming out of your check. So you´re -- you know, United Way fundraising work place is about 2.5 billion of that 4 billion. And historically, what it´s been is your employers come to you, say we´ve got this great relationship with United Way and other nonprofits, let us show you what they do. And in this workplace campaign, you make a decision about supporting United Way or a particular nonprofit, you make a deduction come out of your paycheck, and it´s pretty distant in that regard.

Traynham: Yeah, it´s borderline transactional.

Gallagher: Exactly right. Exactly right. And what´s changing especially with my generation -- the Boomers leaving the workplace and Millennials coming into the workplace, in real numbers -- 80 million people in both groups in the U.S., Millennials want to be engaged. And so they don´t want their employer necessarily to tell them what to do, but they want their employer to give them a platform to help them do what they want to do.

Traynham: I see.

Gallagher: So what the next stage is digital engagement on your phone, inside your workplace so you can be at UPS or Deloitte or Comcast or Wells Fargo, and you can give to what you want to give to, you can volunteer, you can connect on policy and get access to content that you care about. You can engage your fellow employees, you can get your friends involved. So, essentially, it´s taking digital technology and aspects of social media, bringing it into the workplace, and really focused on engagement, not just transactional giving.

Traynham: Brian, it sounds like what you´re describing is almost like a miniature ecosystem...

Gallagher: Exactly.

Traynham: ...where the person can really thoughtfully engage and have a dialogue back and forth with the causes that are near and dear to their hearts. As I understand it, you have a new terminology called the Philanthropy Cloud. What is that?

Gallagher: So Philanthropy Cloud is a partnership that we´ve launched with Salesforce. And so everything in Salesforce world is the cloud. And so this is a new product Salesforce is developing with us. Philanthropy Cloud is a technology, a digital technology that allows you to engage in these different functions -- volunteering, giving, connecting with each other, you know, getting involved in policy. We´re then bringing the content. And what I mean by that is what are the volunteer opportunities, what are the issues you can support, you know, where can you make your contributions, how do you get reporting back. You know, all the way from we´ve just signed an agreement with the United Nations to bring the sustainable development goals, which are poverty, water, health care in a frame, and so people can see their options -- giving, volunteering, advocating -- on this digital platform, on your phone, in your workplace.

Traynham: In real time.

Gallagher: In real time.

Traynham: Why Salesforce?

Gallagher: Because they have, you know, one of the most innovative companies in the world, a founder and an ethos that´s focused on philanthropy and giving back in community. And, honestly, our corporations that we´ve had decades-long relationships with are in many cases Salesforce customers. So they´re used to the CRM -- the Customer, Relationship, Management product with Salesforce. Now this is an extension of how do we manage your corporate social responsibility and your employee engagement.

Traynham: Brian, we´ve got about 40 seconds left. Why doing this now, and when will this become available? And quite frankly, my million-dollar question is the folks that are watching this program -- probably on their smart device or at home, or wherever you may be, how can they get involved?

Gallagher: Well, let´s do that in reverse order. If you want to learn more about this, go to and find Philanthropy Cloud powered by United Way. It will be available June of ´18, so this summer. And, you know, the reason we´re doing it is quite honestly, we´ve gotta find ways to get people back involved in their communities giving. So we´re moving from being a partner to companies to being their philanthropic partner, to get all of their employees back involved in communities. In some ways, we´ve kind of lost the middle of our country, and this is a way to say, you know, whatever stage career, whatever you can do in terms of resources, we´re gonna make it easy to connect with each other and the things you care about.

Traynham: Once again, you can go to to find out more information about this absolutely phenomenal program. Congratulations. Look forward to having you back on to talk more about the digital engagement and about this ecosystem that you and Salesforce are creating. Thank you very much for joining us, Brian Gallagher.

Gallagher: Thanks, Robert.

Traynham: And, of course, thank you for watching us. Well, for more great conversations with leaders in your community and across the nation, visit I´m Robert Traynham.

Loading Loading...