Is your corporate giving working for you?
Yep, you read that title correctly. When asked about motivations for giving, almost all clients will answer this question with some variations of: “I think it is important to give back” or “I believe in the cause.” Having the fundamental belief that philanthropy and giving are the responsibility of business is the underpinning for a successful giving program. However, a successful corporate giving program can also address important business and workplace goals.
Consider this –
- 82% of consumers say that they consider a company’s social and environmental commitment before buying a product or deciding where to shop
- 71% of employees say that it is important to consider a company’s social and environmental commitment before going to work for a company
So, are you using your corporate giving as a force for good within your organization? Here are some tips to make the most out of your corporate giving:
- Determine what your goals are for your corporate giving program. While most corporate giving rests somewhere between altruism (giving for the sole benefit of others) and egoism (giving purely motivated to benefit one’s self); it’s important to consider what impact you want to have with your giving. I’m constantly surprised at how companies scrutinize every last penny on expenses and yet don’t stop to consider what they want to do with their giving. Even the most altruistic of companies should understand this as their goal in giving.
- Align (appropriate) business and workplace goals with giving strategies and tactics. If employee retention and defining corporate culture are business goals, consider how corporate giving could support these? Are there volunteer activities that you as a corporation could undertake to promote workplace culture? Do you routinely discuss your corporate giving with prospective employees? Do you regularly promote your good works to your customers? If an organization is engaged in some type of giving, chances are that these activities are meaningful to your employees or your customers. Make sure to promote how you support community.
- Do your homework. As with any activity you do for your business, do your research. Evaluate a nonprofit before making a donation or entering into a sponsorship arrangement. Does the organization use its gifts wisely? What will your gift support for the organization? Is the organization a good steward of funding? Tax returns for nonprofits are publicly recorded and can be easily accessed. A good resource is guidestar.org. An organization’s annual report can also provide good background information on impact. Talking with other donors is a good way to find out how effective an organization is at stewarding their gifts.
- Be creative. The world of philanthropy is rapidly changing. Don’t be afraid to suggest something that might be new or out of the box to a nonprofit partner. As business and philanthropy continue to work together, there are innovative and creative solutions that can benefit both cause and the donor.