Six steps to set up a corporate giving program

Published · 2 min read

In my last post, “Charitable giving: Good for the corporate soul,” I covered the growth in corporate giving and how it can lead to greater employee engagement—a key factor in retaining good employees. Corporate giving can also boost your company brand and bottom line. In general, people and other businesses want to buy services from companies that are socially responsible and committed to their communities.

You may already do some corporate giving, but want to be more strategic about your donations of time and money. How do you take the next step to establish a corporate giving program? Here are some things to consider:

  1. Get the backing and involvement of company leaders. Meet with your management team to show how a giving program can be tied to company goals and strategies. The “2015 community involvement study” conducted by Boston Colleges Center for Corporate Citizenship shows how community involvement efforts connect to overall business. In the survey, for example, 90 percent of the companies that measure the connection between volunteer participation and employee engagement found a positive correlation between participation and engagement scores.
  1. Create a separate philanthropy budget and designate someone to manage it. You may be surprised at the individual donations of time and money that are already happening throughout your company. Determine your current costs, what you want to spend, and set up a separate budget to monitor your donations.
  1. Decide on causes that make sense for your organization. What charities align with your construction business and brand? What causes do your employees care about? What charitable and community connections do you already have that you want to keep? For example, some popular construction-related charities to consider include American YouthWorks YouthBuild, Habitat for Humanity, Rebuilding Together, and ACE Mentor Program.
  1. Vet the organizations that you are interested in. You may be very familiar with some organizations and are confident that your donations of time and money will be well spent. If you are not sure, there are places you can go for assistance:
  • Guidestar.org and GiveWell.org provide background on specific charities and how they spend your money and allocate resources.
  • Charitywatch.org, The American Institute of Philanthropy’s website, provides ratings of charities and acts as a watchdog.
  • Internal Revenue Service (gov) will tell you if a charity is registered with the revenue service.
  1. Encourage employee involvement. Pave the way to make it easier for employees to volunteer, such as paid time off for charity work and other community involvement. Provide added incentives such as matching employee contributions or donating a certain amount of money for each hour employees volunteer.
  1. Treat your giving program like any other company initiative. Set goals, measure results, and continually tweak to get the results you want.

Looking at your charitable giving more holistically will help you better invest your funds and time. It will also allow you to better communicate what your company believes in and the importance you place on helping your community and those in need.

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