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Charity and workplace group collecting platform reveals what employees really think about office gifts

In a recent survey of workplaces, group collecting platform Collection Pot found that 89% of people find organising office collections difficult. It was this difficulty that prompted founder Wendy Carter to set up Collection Pot after overhearing colleagues talk about being left to arrange the latest office collection.

Users set up pots for every kind of occasion, with office events like birthdays and people leaving being the most common. People can contribute digitally and add a message. The virtual pot can then be redeemed by the recipient in a variety of ways including high street or local Town and City Gift Cards, and directly to their bank account.

Billed as a ‘platform for good’, Collection Pot is also used by charities for fundraising efforts. Collection Pot doesn’t charge charities for gift aid processing, typically 5% with other platforms. Similarly, there is no monthly fee to appear on the site.

Collection Pot also found that over 75% of office workers dread opening a gift in front of colleagues in case they don’t like the gift they have received. Whilst 69% of people haven’t liked a gift given to them at work.

The worst office gifts revealed by office workers in the Collection Pot survey include a plastic fork, branded company items, lobster claw gloves and novelty sunglasses, whilst the most memorable include gift cards, a Gucci purse, tickets for a Champion’s League football game and a Peloton bike.

Data from Collection Pot shows the average donation given for a job leaver’s pot is £10, with an average number of 12 people contributing to it, making a healthy average pot of £120 for those leaving their job. Given the choice though, 72% of office workers would rather select their own gift, or have the cash:

“We introduced the ability for recipients of a pot to have funds credited to a UK Visa Direct card in 2020,” said Wendy Carter. We are facing tough times financially and that £120 could be much needed. I’m also not surprised to see that gift cards ranked as some of the best gifts received by office workers. If they have the option, people want a choice about the gift they receive.”

65% of respondents to the Collection Pot survey said they worry about contributing the right amount in office collections, it was this potential worry that cemented the decision not to put amount donated by individuals in Collections Pots.

Charity and workplace group collecting platform reveals what employees really think about office gifts
Wendy Carter founder of Collection Pot

Wendy Carter said:

“Before setting up Collection Pot, I found that there would often be discontent around the amount put into office collections. Some people felt they always had to put the lion’s share. Managers or more senior leaders might want to contribute more to an office gift for their staff without it being a big deal, just as an employee might only be able to afford to contribute £5.”

With the move to home working in 2020, unsurprisingly, all respondents said that office gift collections would be harder to organise.  In September, the Collection Pot app was introduced to the Microsoft Teams store as the only group collecting app in the Teams hub, making it easier for remote workers to collect for colleagues quickly and easily.

Collection Pot’s addition to Teams is proving popular for charities said Adam Stevens, commercial director at Collection Pot:

“We give donators the option of giving ‘a little extra’ to cover the cost of processing fees. This means when someone donates £30 to a charity and clicks to pay the extra, £3 on a £30 donation, the whole £30 goes to the charity. Because we have no gift aid processing charges or monthly fees for charities, the Collection Pot difference is around £1.15 on that £30 donation. That soon builds up for a charity.

“Getting the Collection Pot app available through Microsoft Teams – with its 80 million daily users – alongside our digital partner Bravand was a real game-changer for us and for charities, fundraisers and people wanting to easily collect for all manner of occasions.

“We are moving towards a cashless society. The pandemic has only exacerbated that change. Collection Pot works for the modern workplace, where teams are often scattered around the country. It makes something that is usually tricky to organise, simple but fun too. Being able to read the messages left by colleagues in your Collection Pot, if you are leaving your job, for example, adds the human touch.”

Paul Russell, doctor of psychology and founder of Luxury Academy said the idea of leaving gifts derives from Victorian times when you would give someone money to tide them over between ending one job and starting another.

Charity and workplace group collecting platform reveals what employees really think about office gifts
The most popular Collection Pot is for leavers

Paul said:

“Gift-giving in the office is laden with potential etiquette issues. People get fed up at being lumbered with organising the gift again and employees feel pressured into contributing a certain amount face to face. When it comes to actually purchasing a gift, you have to be extremely careful in what you buy. Most of us don’t know our colleagues well enough to present them with novelty gifts, yet we persist in doing it. At worst you will embarrass your colleague, and at best it will be a throwaway item they will never use again. With people working from home more, collecting and giving gifts digitally removes many of the etiquette dilemmas.”

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