Best Practices: Creating a philanthropy strategy

Written by ProfitGuide

Corporate philanthropy is a common practice: some 85% of respondents to our Best Practices Poll say giving to charity is in their companies’ business plan. But deciding exactly which charities to pick can be tricky business. PROFIT-Xtra readers share their best advice for creating a corporate philanthropy strategy.

  1. “Pick a cause or charity you and your employees are passionate about,” recommends Shirley of Leap Frog Marketing. “Ideally one that enables not only giving dollars, but also allows you to give time; and one whose cause is a strong fit with the demographic of your customers and employees.”
  2. “My corporate strategy is to choose charities close to my heart,” says Irene of In My Hands.ca. “Being a widow with two teenagers, I choose to support women and youth charities. They tend to be the neediest, and lower on the list for regular donations. I donate not only my company’s services, but also gift certificates for our services. That way, I get to know the people at the charity personally, and they get the benefit twice — once as a service for their corporate event, and again as a fundraiser.”
  3. “We are in the business of developing business leaders, so we have a moral obligation to be an example and to give back to the social community that has given us the blessings and benefits we have received,” says Mark Rivers of Presidents of Enterprising Organizations (PEO). “There are hundreds of personal causes that take the shape of charities. However, few focus on the underlying spiritual and moral foundation that underpin the success and/or failure of our society. Our focus is organizations and institutions that ‘teach people to fish’ and therefore feed them for life ,as opposed to treating the symptoms and feeding them only for a day. Another criteria is how much of the funds actually reach the intended recipients.”
  4. “We set up a committee with representatives from the HR department, marketing and the social club,” says georgep. “We agreed that we would give to organizations that help children, women, the elderly, education and illnesses. We also agreed that because our organization is represented in all provinces but with a majority of employees in Montreal, we would support three charities in Quebec, one in Ontario and one nationally. To determine which charities, we asked for suggestions from our employees, and the three-member committee decided which ones to support.”
  5. “Pick a charity you believe in,” says jason. “Your organization is already filled with people who share your beliefs and goals, so picking a charity that you truly believe in should fit with your culture, ensuring its success.”
  6. “We support educational, medical and community efforts in the locations that we are present in,” says Jeff of Redknee. “Since Redknee’s inception, the company has contributed close to $100,000 on an annual basis, and likely much more through our employees’ participation and volunteering efforts. This has been a consistent commitment, and we are looking to expand these contributions as we grow and expand. Redknee management and employees devote their personal time and energy towards the needs of others through community engagements, and have set Redknee’s growth objectives to expand this commitment year over year. Despite a demanding and hectic business schedule, Redknee’s CEO is a member of the board of directors of the Canadian Merit Scholarship Foundation (CMSF), and a fundraiser for various educational causes. Furthermore, he donates 2-3% of his personal income towards charitable causes on an annual basis.”
  7. “We tend to focus on our own communities,” says Jim Love of Performance Advantage. “We believe that we get a lot from our communities, so we should give something back as well. So whether it’s providing pro-bono consulting to a student startup business or buying equipment for the local soccer team, we have no problem tracking the effectiveness of what we give. We can see it with our own eyes. It’s not sexy, and we sure don’t sell any more because we do this. But that’s not the point. It feels good and, as the guy on that cereal commercial says, “it’s the right thing to do.” If we had a lot more employees, maybe we’d need a policy. As this size, we only need a heart.”

For his answer, Jim Love will receive a copy of Blindsided: How to spot the next breakthrough that will change your business forever by Jim Harris.

Watch for another Best Practices Poll in the next PROFIT-Xtra.

Originally appeared on PROFITguide.com