Corporate philanthropy can be an invaluable addition to any organization; it is a long-term investment in your company and the surrounding community. Not only does philanthropy improve the world and strengthen your business, but successful philanthropy will make a positive impact both on the community and on your company’s customer relations and reputation. Here are some benefits and strategies for launching a corporate philanthropy program.
Many big-ticket businesses become huge philanthropic facilitators for a variety of reasons. These businesses are truly making a difference—but they also see some benefits from it.
- Expansion of positive community reputation
- Increased market share
- Expanded relevancy in millennial markets (where philanthropy is seen as a dutiful aspect of a “good” corporation)
- Betterment of the community
- Satisfied and driven employees with a positive regard for the company
- Tax breaks
- A deeply rooted company culture of giving and service
While it offers many benefits for a business, corporate philanthropy is not just about the advantages. Corporate philanthropy should be driven by a truly ethical desire to give back to the community. Thoughtful selection of the right philanthropic strategy for your organization will play a crucial role in making the largest impact; your efforts ought to be focused and visible.
Strategies for Community Outreach
When considering a corporate philanthropy program, identify what kinds of philanthropic pursuits best match the existing corporate culture of your business.
Creating a scholarship will often inspire a ripple effect. You will empower a person in your community, who will, ideally, go on to further improve the world with the knowledge and experience they gain in school. Scholarship qualifications can be catered to select a recipient that fits your corporate values. The actual process is pretty straightforward. With the right tools: design a digital application form, assemble a committee to review qualified applicants, and award allocated resources.
A way to ease into this process is to work with an application management software that allows you to design basic aspects of your scholarship program online. Certainly, you can design and collect paper applications yourself, but the time and energy involved will likely cost you valuable resources.
Businesses are inherently good at promoting their mission and making money. Starting a fundraising campaign allows you to give back in a way that leverages this skill. From here you can empower organizations who are already making a difference by giving them the funds. This allows you to give back without stretching the focus of your organization too thin.
Although crowdfunding opportunities can be beneficial, fundraising is often conducted at events. This can be done via walkathons, charity auctions, golf tournaments, and many other types of gatherings. While events are often fun, it is important to remind participants why they are there. Fundraising is enjoyable and also a great way to help the cause you’ve chosen.
Creating something physical in the community is a long-lasting and very visible way to give back to the community.
A good strategy would be to consider where there are needs in your community, and what kind of budget you can bring to the table. You could install an ice-skating rink, or establish a new park, plant some trees, or create a community garden. Think about what you can give which will most effectively help the people you’re trying to reach.
Once you’ve selected your specific method of giving back you have several things to consider. Starting a philanthropic program takes a coordinated effort and careful planning. Begin with the end in mind, and think ahead to what it will take to set up your philanthropic project. Here are some important elements to consider:
- What are your giving parameters?
- Do you need a team or board to manage your efforts?
- Will you require applications?
- How will you accept applications?
- How will you promote your giving (both before and after)?
Seeing the impact your philanthropy is making won’t happen overnight. Your impact will compound over time. As you help one group or individual, they will go on to help another and so on. Be thoughtful. Be patient. And get giving!