Strategizing your company’s giving strategy – An introduction

It is well known that the benefits a company reaps for their acts of corporate giving far exceed the high five offered in mid air from its chosen non-profit organization.  While non-profits fervently seek corporate partners to assist in reaching fundraising goals to carry out their mission, it is arguably just as important that companies seek non-profit organizations to complement their company’s values.  In a decade filled with layoffs, budget cuts and overall reduced spending, how reasonable is it to expect that corporate giving be a top priority in a company’s overall strategy?

Corporate philanthropy refers to the act of a for-profit company donating their money, time or resources to a non-profit organization or charity.   While the act of corporate giving is typically abundant in sincerity and warmth by both the recipient organization and from the folks responsible for the gifting, let’s consider another celebrated aspect to giving: the thriving pulse behind what’s in it for your company from a PR perspective.  Being socially responsible builds the goodwill positioning of your company’s brand.  Trust, honor and integrity are some of your company’s most significant assets.  What better way is there to build your corporate image than by aligning with a non-profit organization that is committed to making the world a better place?  While supporting these organizations, your company has the opportunity to be included in press releases, advertisements and other media channels, online and social media outlets and possibly an entire collection of additional cause marketing benefits.   All of these things help to demonstrate that your company is socially responsible, while solidifying the public’s perception of value added to your brand.  As your company strives to overcome its competition, remember that in general, people like to do business with people with a firm adherence to strong values.  The question isn’t “Should my company give?” it’s “Where should my company give?” followed by a quizzically zealous, “How should my company give?”

If you don’t already have one in mind, find an organization that aligns with your company’s business objectives.  Or, choose to support an organization that is important to your employees. Visit to ensure the organization is registered with the IRS and meets tax exemption criteria.  When you choose to support a non-profit that is linked with your company’s objectives, you’re immediately relevant.  For example, Dave’s Marketplace and Our Lady of Fatima Hospital have recently adopted the American Diabetes Association of New England as a non-profit partner. It makes a lot of sense for Dave’s Marketplace to partner with the ADA (an organization that encourages healthy eating habits to prevent or better manage diabetes) because one of their goals is to provide quality food and resources to encourage healthy eating habits.  Certified Diabetes Educators and Registered Dietitians from Our Lady of Fatima Hospital have also joined this relationship and will be hosting free diabetes education classes at Dave’s Marketplace once per quarter.  Dave’s Marketplace will be collecting donations at the register and will reward customers with valuable store coupons upon making a minimum $1 donation to the ADA of New England.  Through this alliance, both Dave’s and Our Lady of Fatima Hospital have developed ways to support a non-profit that is relevant to both of their business goals.

Some companies choose to support organizations that speak directly to the personal interests of their employees.  For example, Staples focuses a large percentage of their charitable giving to causes related to academics and career development.  But the company also recognizes that by inviting their employees to weigh in on which causes or organizations are important to them, they have developed another way to value the bond with their employees.  When an employee suggests a non-profit for their employer to support and it comes to fruition, another layer of employee loyalty has been developed.

Corporate giving comes in many forms.  Do your homework and investigate which organizations, causes or charities would be a good fit for your company.  While the benefits of corporate giving begin with helping an important organization carry out mission delivery, they certainly don’t end there.

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