There is a widely held belief that corporations have a duty to give back, whether to a local or global cause. While there is no requirement to do so, this idea just feels inherently right that we try and make the world a better place with the resources available to us, whether a company or individual. And it cannot be ignored that being charitable can benefit your business in a variety of ways. So, we have here a win-win situation. Now that you have decided to make charitable giving a regular company practice, you are tasked with choosing the recipients of your money and anything else you may donate, whether it be a service or products. Here are some considerations to guide you in establishing partnerships with charitable organizations.
Choose Something in Line with Your Company’s Values
What does your company value? What is its mission statement? What impact does it hope to make through the products and services it offers? No matter where your money goes, you can feel good about doing your part, but there will be a particular passion involved when a cause personally resonates. If you are in the business of content creation, charities that support literacy may be a good choice. If you are in the food industry, causes that fight hunger would be a good match. Closely aligning with a cause related to your business may also make it easier to get the buy-in from the rest of the company, particularly the higher-ups, as well as clients and customers.
See Where the Stakeholders Donate
Survey your customers and see where they are donating their money and time. This will shed light on their primary concerns. On a related note, demographic and psychographic profiles can provide valuable information on what types of causes may resonate most with them. Do not forget about your employees either—get input on the issues they are most concerned with. If your workers feel strongly about a cause, it will make your campaign that much more successful.
Vetting Potential Charities
The sad truth is, not all charities are created equal. Some have good intentions but just do not manage their financial house as efficiently as they could, or know how to properly achieve the results they desire. Some are run by unscrupulous individuals who line their pockets with donation money, with very little going to those they claim to be helping. There are many sites whose online tools allow you to thoroughly evaluate a charity and whether it is worthy of your donation, such as CharityNavigator or GuideStar. There are easy-to-understand rankings and financial reports.
Where Will Your Money Go the Farthest?
Another important point to consider is where your money will have the greatest impact. Depending on the cause, the amount of money needed to reach their goals varies greatly. Think about the amount of money you are likely to be donating—certain charities may be able to get a lot more accomplished with that dollar amount than another. For example, I donate 60 bucks a month to a British-run nonprofit organization in Vietnam that helps children with disabilities. Certainly not a huge sum of money, but that is all they need monthly to allow one child to attend the program and provide care and meals.
About the Author: Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys blogging about business and philanthropy and covers a range of topics from the charitable works of the William Lauder children to how to get employees involved in volunteer work.