Over 87% of businesses understand the expectation to support community causes and already give back. This is often known as corporate philanthropy or corporate social responsibility (CSR). Generally, this consists of cash donations but can also include in-kind donations or volunteer time offered by the company’s employees.
Corporate giving can also appear in the form of philanthropic initiatives aimed at providing non-profit organizations with financial support or helping to advocate a particular cause.
Your Brand: Improved public image and consumer relationships
Studies have shown that CSR is responsible for more than 40% of a company’s reputation. Businesses pursuing community impact are often spoken highly of by their customers and stakeholders. Giving authentically can help attract loyal customers who share the same values.
Your Team: Engaged and motivated employees
Having a strategy for giving can bring purpose into the workplace. Today, 67% of employees expect their employers to have a greater purpose and to contribute to their well-being as well as to societal impact. Being intentional about community impact can improve recruitment and retention of good talent. When people feel purpose at work, the result is more engaged and motivated employees.
With a strong commitment to a particular cause and a strategy for impact, you can start to see your business moving the needle on unique local challenges. There are few things more fulfilling than seeing the power you have to make a positive difference.
Ways to Give
There are many ways to incorporate giving into your business including:
Corporate Grants and Sponsorships: Financial support to nonprofits and local causes to assist with projects, research, events, etc. Decisions about giving can be made at leadership levels or through employee nominations.
Pro bono services or In-Kind Donations: Pro bono services are professional services offered without a fee. In-kind donations are goods, products and services donated by a corporation instead of money.
Employee Giving/Volunteerism: Employees donate their own time or money towards agreed-upon causes through their employer.
Internal Fundraising: Events and fundraising drives within a company such as bake offs, contests, casual days, etc. with proceeds going toward a specific cause.
Corporate Days of Giving: A certain day or days of the year when employees can volunteer with local nonprofits such as helping to sort food at a food bank, or serving meals at a homeless shelter.
Corporate matching: Businesses match the charitable donations of their employees either for a charity of the employee’s choice or a charity supported by the business.
Corporate Foundations: There are two basic ways corporate foundations can be set up: 1) A private foundation controlled by a corporation, or 2) As a public charity associated with a corporation. Private foundations are the most common and they are funded by the corporation’s money as well as managed by representatives of the corporation’s staff.
While there are many ways to give and benefits for your business, there are also some pitfalls to watch out for when developing your strategy for giving.
Not thinking about giving as an investment.
Your business’ giving is a strategy that will result in gains over time. In the short term, a strategy can help you think about how to plan for costs so that your contributions do not take away from money needed elsewhere.
Lack of consistency.
When your business makes a commitment, it is important for you to uphold your values consistently. Without consistency, it will be difficult for others to know what your business stands for and how your support can benefit the community.
If not managed properly, your giving can come off more as commercialism making philanthropy look like something done for corporate gain. When you develop a strategy, take time to plan how to communicate your impact authentically.
When you give, it is always important to have a strategy.
Stay focused and aligned - Have a mission and goals for impact in mind when you start to build your strategy for giving. Then ensure that your impact goals and business objectives are in alignment. That way you are utilizing your resources effectively and efficiently.
Know what difference you want to make - Envision the positive result you wish to see in your community. Now think about how your business is going to contribute to that result. What changes as a result of your actions? Identifying what demonstrates the changes you aim to make, helps you get clear on what measures your difference. Once you know what is important to measure, you can incorporate these metrics into your impact strategy.
Be smart about your partners - Choose a community partner based on what will best accomplish your impact goals and align with the values of your business. Clearly communicate these goals to your partner and regularly check-in with them to ensure you are reaching the best outcomes possible through your partnership.
Curio412 is a consultancy for businesses and nonprofits who want to improve their bottom line, build relationships, and scale meaningful impact. We believe in creating lasting impact. Which is why we share knowledge and tell stories to keep nonprofits, business, social enterprises, and charitable organizations informed about current trends, ideas, and impact.