Old dog, new tricks: Ren tools democratize giving

When it comes to generosity, in the U.S. we put our money where our mouth is. We support what we care about with our dollars. The U.S. traditionally leads the world in generosity, with nearly two-thirds of Americans giving to charity each year. As younger generations enter their prime earning years and prepare to receive some $30 trillion in generational wealth transfer, they’ve shown that they’re likely to continue these generous ways … but with a slightly different, higher-tech way of going about it.

Financial institutions that facilitate this next generation way of giving have a tremendous growth opportunity. That’s why Ren offers tools that make it easier for anyone to do good while also positioning financial institutions to play a bigger role in charitable giving.

Familiar firm, new tools

Ren knows this landscape well – we’ve provided wealth management services for 35 years. And as the top independent philanthropic solutions provider in North America, we have helped financial institutions, nonprofit organizations, and community foundations serve their customers’, clients’ and constituents’ philanthropic needs. For more than three decades, we’ve helped donors tap into the philanthropic power of donor-advised funds, charitable trusts, pooled income funds, and more.

In recent years, we’ve come to recognize that, while these traditional tools are great for wealthy people, they don’t always provide a charitable giving solution for people with more modest incomes. We saw an opportunity to complement these time-proven tools with new approaches that open doors for financial institutions to a whole new population with charitable ambitions.

It was that recognition that drove our acquisition last year of Pinkaloo, a firm whose modern giving solutions lower barriers to charitable giving and connect financial services more directly to customers’ philanthropic ambitions. Now these solutions are available to Ren customers through a new suite of services including our Flex Giving Account and Public Causes.

The Flex Giving Account

While the financial services industry has made it possible for customers to conduct everyday transactions in a digital environment, the industry generally has failed to engage in a major part of many Americans’ lives: charitable giving. The result? As donors make countless charitable transactions, banks and financial services firms often are left on the sidelines, without an active role in the process.

The Flex Giving Account puts financial institutions in the middle of the action with a white-label tool that allows individuals to plan, budget for, and execute charitable activities while working through the institution’s secure, digital environments. An interactive dashboard allows users to track their giving, use a searchable database to learn more about nonprofits, and socialize their giving. And after each transaction, the Flex Giving Account delivers reporting documents needed at tax time, all in a package that puts the financial institution front and center.      

For employers, the Flex Giving Account streamlines workplace giving. With a digital environment carrying the employer’s brand, the Flex Giving Account lets employees see their giving at a glance, plan and make gifts easily, and share their activities with coworkers. Employers discover that the Flex Giving Account supports payroll deduction and workplace giving programs, and ties easily to employee incentive programs. Plus, workplace users also get access to the Flex Giving Account’s database with information on every charity in the U.S. and quickly delivered year-end tax documents.

In addition to the Flex Giving Account, Ren is the first in the industry to offer both a Corporate Giving Account and Executive Giving Account which allow employers to pick and choose which charitable giving services best meet their business needs and objectives.

Public Causes

Crowdfunding has gained considerable traction as a way for individuals to engage others in charitable activities, creating a vehicle through which one person’s or organization’s passion could spread to countless people, increasing awareness, contributions and impact.

Public Causes lets financial institutions play a role in crowdfunding with a public-facing, white-label platform that can engage employees, customers, vendors, and the community to support causes and organizations they care about. And it does it all by bringing the “crowd” through the financial institution’s own digital front door.

Why is this important? Because customers have demonstrated that they are more inclined to do business with firms that support causes they believe in and those that facilitate their giving. In fact, Forbes has noted that Millennials value collective action, and a recent study showed that 83% of Millennials say they are more loyal to firms that help them contribute to causes.

Everybody wins

While these tools make life better for donors, they also benefit the firms that make them available to donors in several ways.

Most obviously, perhaps, these tools add to an institution’s suite of services to create one more loyalty-building bond and one more opportunity to engage with customers more deeply. By becoming a part of a customer’s charitable giving, the institution becomes better connected to a customer’s complete financial life.

But the benefit goes beyond the product. Customers – especially next generation customers – want to do business with firms that share their values and support their communities. Institutions that offer the Flex Giving Account and Public Causes demonstrates their authentic desire to support causes that matter to their customers, employees, and constituents.

And that allows financial institutions to play a bigger role in facilitating Americans’ generosity, increasing its impact, and ultimately, allowing them to more efficiently improve our communities, our nation and our world.

Want to learn even more about these new services? One of our experts is happy to set up a time to chat with you.