Here’s Why Transparency in Corporate Giving Matters

So much more than a buzzword, transparency in corporate giving is about how your organization shows up in the broader world of social impact.

Transparency pushes us to ask important questions about your company, such as:

Is your company honest about the impact of its giving?

Is your company publicly sharing what it has learned from multiple rounds of corporate giving?

Is your company making the corporate giving sector a better place, or not? Why not?

In other words, it’s not enough to just give. How you give and how you talk about your corporate giving truly matters. It matters for your company’s bottom line, its reputation, and the impact it is seeking to make through its corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.

It’s important to understand all the ways that transparency in corporate giving can have an impact on your company and the organizations it supports. Here we breakdown what transparency means in the context of corporate giving as well as the potential benefits for your brand.

Why transparency in corporate giving matters

Why transparency in corporate giving matters

The data speaks for itself.

Transparency means winning the trust and loyalty of your customers. In order to do that these days, your company needs to show up as authentic, transparent, and purposeful. Just like any other market condition, the ground has shifted underneath companies when it comes to corporate giving.

Consumers and investors are simply expecting more and better information out of companies with regard to their CSR and corporate giving programs.

In the 1970s and 1980s, corporate giving was as simple as spending funds in the community and perhaps reporting basic information, such as the number of people reached through CSR programs. But since the 1990s, corporate donors have begun digging deeper and asking questions about how CSR factors in as a broader strategic investment, not only to increase their impact, but also to better inform their clients and customers

In addition, investors today want to know how CSR aligns with the company’s brand and how it serves as a financial or organizational benefit to the corporation and its goals. As markets grow more competitive and profits even harder to find, CSR takes up greater strategic importance for companies.

More corporations are now looking to meet what’s often called the “triple bottom line,” or corporate actions that produce positive social, environmental, and financial outcomes. We’ll dig into those various ways of looking at a company’s success in relation to its CSR below.

Key benefits of transparent corporate giving for business

Key benefits of transparent corporate giving for business

Transparent corporate giving is an “inside-outside” strategy.

What does that mean?

In short, ensuring transparency in your CSR delivers internal and external benefits for your company on top of the tangible positive impact it has for the communities and organizations you choose to support.

Better brand presence

Companies that run a transparent CSR program see significant positive results in their commercial work. In terms of public relations, the media often recognize and publicize a company’s philanthropic activities, which boosts the corporate brand in the eyes of the public.

When it comes to social media, transparent CSR initiatives garner significant positive social media coverage for companies. This has a huge impact on the company’s reputation and certainly influences customer buying decisions.

Happier investors

Transparency in CSR is a winning move for organizations trying to satisfy investors as well. Here’s a stat to prove it: From 2011 to 2013, the percentage of S&P 500 companies publishing annual CSR reports jumped from 20% to 72%. Investors had a lot to do with that dramatic shift.

Many investors believe that quality sustainability management can enhance investments and mitigate risks, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. Some investors now even consider how comprehensive the social and environmental data that companies release is to be indicative of the quality of their management overall.

CSR data is also considered a possible avenue to future market opportunities if leveraged correctly.

Improved employee engagement

Transparent corporate giving also creates a virtuous cycle within your company as well.

Such giving often makes it easier to recruit high-performers and to keep them happy. Corporate giving helps to boost productivity, foster the spread of ethical behavior, and give employees greater pride in their work overall.

Once employees are more engaged and generally more satisfied with their work, morale increases. The jump in morale can often lower turnover rates and reduce productivity losses due to tardiness and other unfavorable employee behaviors.

When it comes to teamwork, corporate giving has the effect of bringing people together from all levels of the organization to work towards a common purpose. This can create a bonding experience that extends beyond CSR into other aspects of corporate work.

From the mailroom to the C-suite, transparent corporate giving drives employee cohesion.

Running a transparent corporate giving program with CSR software

If you are sold on making your corporate giving program more transparent, that’s great news.

The even better news is that there are great tools out there to help you get the job done.

Submittable is an all-in-one CSR software that makes it easy and effortless for you to add in transparency to the application, evaluation, selection, and awarding process for your CSR programs. With Submittable, information can be easily shared and reviewed by internal stakeholders as well as external audiences, while you can closely track the distribution of your funds as you award them.

You can even use the tool to share information about your CSR initiatives publicly.

Now that’s transparency you can take to the bank.

Paul Perry
Paul Perry

Paul Perry is a writer and former educator with significant experience in nonprofit management. He has a soft spot for grant-seekers striving to make the world a better, more just place.