Charitable giving gives your business the opportunity to connect with your community and to distinguish itself from others. It boosts your reputation as an employer, because who doesn’t want to work for a mission-driven company?
4 Tips for Effective Corporate Giving
- Choose organizations that align with your mission.
- Decide whether it’s better to give time, money, products or services.
- Involve your team.
- Share your work (if appropriate) to help your company better tell its story.
It pays to give back to the communities you serve, whether it’s your hometown or wherever your customers and employees are. That’s your talent pool, your customers and your home. When you treat them well, you’ll likely keep your business afloat, too.
As giving season approaches, consider these five tips to make the most of your company’s philanthropic efforts.
Align Giving With Your Mission
Choose an organization that has a mission aligned with your own. This will help you accomplish your goals, make it easier to get your teams on board and also help tell a consistent narrative about your company and focus.
Part of Text Request’s mission is to be a Chattanooga-based business where people love to work, so we invest in organizations that help improve the quality of life for all residents. One of our philanthropic partners, for instance, is the Chattanooga Area Food Bank. In addition to donating tens of thousands of meals, we helped them implement a text-to-give campaign and volunteered time to build a custom texting solution that helps community members access better food resources.
Another example is The Forgotten Child Fund, a local nonprofit composed of first responders who collect and distribute toys during the holidays, with the mission that no child will go without a present on Christmas. We donate services and training, as well as free marketing services, to this organization.
Consider Time, Money and Services
Depending on how you want to contribute to an organization, you’ll need to come up with a rubric for knowing what to do and when.
Sometimes it makes sense to write a check. Other times, it makes sense to volunteer your time or join a board. You can even donate your products or services to help the organization, which can go a long way, especially if they need the resources.
For example, with the help of our mass texting and text-to-give feature, the Chattanooga Area Food Bank connected with other volunteers, employees and donors to facilitate communications quickly. In fact, texting helped them double their Giving Tuesday fundraising goal, which is far more effective than the check we would have been able to give them.
The Forgotten Child Fund used our mass texting feature to let families know when their Christmas presents were ready for pickup. All they had to do was send a text in the morning. From there, families would line up outside to receive their gifts. This saved volunteers hours of phone calls, and the organization was able to distribute more donations than they would have without text-enabled communications.
Giving should feel like a company-wide initiative, rather than just what the owners want to do. Employees appreciate seeing their employer giving back to the community and causes they care about, even more so when they’re able to participate on their own terms.
Keep internal communications clear and consistent for why you’re giving to an organization. Keep your employees in the loop, too. Create opportunities for them to join events or to contribute in their own way if they choose.
A few ways to get employees involved include hosting an office toy or food drive, matching their donations, recruiting employees to volunteer or offering a day off for doing so, and simply sharing a memo about opportunities.
An important note: Keeping employees involved engages them. Forcing them to participate has the opposite effect.
Let Employees Do Their Own Thing
Your mission will not always align with individual employees, and that’s okay. People care about and want to contribute to different things.
Encourage employees to find their own organizations to contribute to. Keep communications clear and transparent and talk to employees about where they want to send their donations or spend their time. This is an especially good practice for managers. You’ll gain valuable feedback on where employees stand and how you can support them.
Lead by example to show employees that volunteering their time, expertise and resources is helpful so we can all thrive.
Leverage Giving for Your Brand (If Appropriate)
Donations, sponsorships, volunteering, and other giving can do wonders for your marketing and public relations efforts. They show that you put your money where your mouth is. The public will notice when a company is putting in genuine effort to improve the communities they serve, and will scoff at anything that feels boastful.
For example, a health insurance provider that wants to help families live healthier, happier lives may install public playgrounds or renovate a recreational center. It’s a notable event that aligns with your mission and helps the community, so everyone wins. It’s a story that needs to be told, and is worth using for your own marketing. It’s genuine, as all giving should be.