It’s a rewarding feeling to look at your end-of-year financials and see a hefty profit margin. Running a lucrative corporation indicates that your company is healthy and thriving — even in a volatile market. This year, you may even have room to enhance corporate giving.
While this is a good place to be, successful leaders shouldn’t rest on their laurels this holiday season. They should also consider how they can spread their wealth and impact others with their prosperity.
The Importance of Corporate Giving
Corporate giving is a win-win-win scenario for three different parties.
First and foremost, it allows your organization to help those in need. This can come through something as indirect as educating future generations or combating climate change. It can also be as direct as a cash infusion to a local food shelter or hospital. In either case, many underprivileged individuals can benefit from your company’s charitable donations.
Second, there is your business. Corporate philanthropy gives companies a competitive advantage. It spreads brand awareness and boosts your reputation. It can also help with key marketing initiatives, like greater customer engagement.
Third, there are your employees. When a business is generous with its profits, it sends a message to its staff. This can improve loyalty, help with engagement, and address critical factors like retention. A healthy, ongoing corporate giving strategy can also attract higher-quality talent to your team.
If you’re aware of the importance of corporate giving but you aren’t sure how to enhance it at your enterprise this year, here are a few ideas to get some philanthropic momentum again.
1. Put the power in your employees’ hands.
One of the simplest ways to enhance corporate giving is by decentralizing it. When charitable activity has to go through the upper echelons of a company, it can be sluggish. In addition, it can lead to a lot of money going toward a small number of nonprofits.
A good solution is to put the power in your employees’ hands. Create personal giving accounts that enable your workers to give their money to organizations that they personally want to support.
There can be rules and regulations to the giving, especially where corporate matching is concerned. However, if you want to increase your brand’s overall charitable activity, funneling it through your staff is a great place to start.
2. Watch out for DE&I concerns.
The connection may not be obvious, but corporate giving can quickly become a breeding ground for inequitable and exclusive charitable donations. When companies are too hands-on with the direction of their giving, it can often lead to limited options and stifled opportunities.
For instance, CEO of philanthropy-as-a-service platform Groundswell, Jake Wood points out that when an employee gives to charity and submits a receipt for the company to match, it can create some problems. Along with the administrative headache of vetting each donation, a company may not be willing to publicly support certain organizations through a matching gift. This can prompt employees to sit out of the matching process, unbalancing the charitable cash flow and stunting corporate giving in the process.
As a solution, Groundswell recommends focusing on proactively matching funding for individual Personal Giving Accounts. From there, employees can direct the funds to their chosen charities without connecting the company itself to the organization.
3. Find common ground with non-profits.
When it comes to corporations partnering with specific philanthropic entities, it’s important to find organizations that share your corporate interest in one way or another.
For example, President and CEO of Goodwill Industries of East Texas, Kimberly Lewis, recommends looking for ways a company and charity’s separate missions intersect. The Forbes Council Member’s sweet and simple solution is a bedrock of healthy, ongoing corporate giving.
Finding these similar resonating points doesn’t just make it easy for a business to support an organization. It also can have a synergistic effect by helping the two groups work together toward common goals as they serve a similar target audience.
4. Play the long game.
Finally, remember that giving isn’t a one-off occasion. Sure, there are times when an event or point in time requires a unique and focused giving campaign. For thriving companies with plenty of profits and a bright future, though, it’s important to create long-term philanthropic strategies, too. This is where all three of the previous recommendations come together.
Start with a thoughtful giving infrastructure. As has already been mentioned above, putting the power in your employees’ hands and watching out for DE&I can create a sustainable and positive giving culture.
In addition, it’s important to strategize in an outward-facing direction. Find organizations that resonate with your brand and corporate mission. Then steadily invest in a long-term relationship with those charities. Maintain lines of communication. Work to meet specific needs from your partner charity when they arise. Look for ways to combine your for-profit and their non-profit efforts for the greater good of your shared communities.
By playing the long game, you can ensure that you don’t just hit the ground running in 2023. You can also maintain that enhanced momentum throughout the year and beyond.
So, start by analyzing your current corporate giving strategy. Where are the weaknesses? What areas are stale or require an overhaul? Address those needs and invest in a win-win-win corporate giving strategy to optimize your positive impact on those in need, your employees, and your organization itself in the coming months.
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