Developing an effective corporate giving program requires a true commitment from everyone involved. Just as companies build off past experiences in other key areas of business, there are opportunities to learn some best practices by understanding the common threads that have led to other successful corporate giving programs. Incorporating the most effective strategies will help you develop a program for your business that will provide a true benefit for both your company and the community. In this article, we'll examine some of the best practices that can turn a struggling giving program into a dynamic business tool.
Plan a Comprehensive Program
A comprehensive approach to corporate giving should be based on a broad set of strategies. Individual components such as corporate donations, employee giving, corporate gift matching, and employee volunteer initiatives can be tied together in a way that achieves results greater than the sum of the parts.
A perfect example of this is the “dollars for doers” program offered by many companies. Under this program, the company pledges to give a certain amount of money for each hour of volunteer work that an employee donates to the nonprofit of their choice. Adding an incentive like this has been proven to be a successful approach for increasing participation in volunteer initiatives, plus it offers a winning proposition for the company, the employee, and the nonprofit.
Make a Solid Business Case
We can’t overemphasize the value gained from building a solid business case for your corporate giving program. It is critical that you show your company leadership how philanthropy is important to both employees and your customers and that it can have an impact on the bottom line through increased engagement and sales.
When you build the connection between your company’s business objectives and your charitable giving objectives, it helps to get the support you need from company leadership to build a successful program. Senior management is far more likely to support corporate giving when they can see a direct correlation between philanthropy and the company’s core business goals. Getting support from the top elevates your program’s profile and results in stronger buy-in and engagement from employees, customers, and the community.
Get Employees Excited
The success of any corporate giving program relies heavily on the involvement of employees. Employee engagement is important in every aspect of business, and corporate giving is no different. Getting employees excited about your company’s giving initiatives will increase involvement levels and lead to greater success. Corporate giving also provides a unique opportunity to bring employees together from throughout the company for events, which serves the dual purpose of being a team-building exercise that reinforces company values. Build excitement by setting goals around your giving and volunteering program, and then celebrate making those goals. Even a simple recognition of employee involvement can fuel the drive to continued engagement.
Have a Good Communications Strategy
Your giving program won't find success if no one knows about it. An effective communications strategy depends upon the use of multiple channels to reach your audience, including email, company newsletters, phone calls, posters, and social media. Developing a consistent message across various forms of communication will help drive the message home and build broader awareness for your corporate giving goals.
With the right communications strategy, you can build excitement and make clear connections between your business objectives and your giving program. Communicating through public channels outside of the company brings your customers and community into the efforts as well.
Focus on Continuous Improvement
Even when your giving program is running smoothly, there will always be areas where you can improve it. It’s important to collect data on your program and track performance metrics against clearly defined goals. Reviewing the data regularly can help you assess what is working well and where you need to make adjustments to achieve greater success. This information can provide evidence to senior management that your giving program is effective in helping achieve business goals, and sharing news of your success with the company and the community ties in with building an effective communications strategy.
Having an experienced partner for your giving program can make the difference between knowing what is working and just guessing. FrontStream provides our clients with real-time reporting tools to help them measure where their programs are having the most impact. Our clients use this information to allocate their internal resources more effectively, address areas for improvement, and build upon past successes.
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