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Creating an Impactful Corporate Philanthropy Program

By Common Impact | November 30, 2022

In today’s business landscape, companies are expected to show they care about making the world a better place by giving back to their communities. Employees, customers, and shareholders all want to see the companies they support championing social causes such as sustainability, equitable healthcare, and community development.  

Companies are expected to contribute to community well-being and innovation because they are uniquely positioned to use their resources, talent, and capital to support local social impact initiatives.   

Corporate philanthropy programs are one-way businesses are meeting this need. There are numerous advantages of creating corporate philanthropy programs, such as enhanced customer engagement, stronger community relationships, and employee satisfaction.  

Whether you’re new to corporate philanthropy or looking to refine existing initiatives, understanding your philanthropy strategy options is necessary to create a successful program with lasting impacts. The following are some points to consider when finding the right strategy for you.  

Building a Corporate Philanthropy Program 

Corporate Philanthropy Programs enhance customer engagement and strengthen community relationships. You can use your giving program to actively support employees, customers, community members, and shareholders while creating goodwill. In today’s business landscape, customer loyalty is earned though active philanthropy initiatives.  

Whether your company has had a corporate giving strategy for years or just starting its program, it’s important to keep innovating your strategy as the needs of the social sector evolve. When choosing a new giving channel, first start with the end goal- what are you hoping to achieve with your corporate philanthropy program? Your goals may include establishing nonprofit partners, engaging employees, or boosting your public image. Secondly, a social cause that aligns with that goal and your company’s mission and vision. Aligned values and priorities will make for a synergetic and satisfactory partnership with your chosen charity. Your options can be matching gifts, charitable donations, volunteer grants and volunteering PTO, sponsorships and more.  

Choosing your giving avenues 

There are a variety of corporate giving strategies to choose from. But not all corporate philanthropy strategies are made the same and what works for one company might not work for yours. It is necessary to be intentional about the programs you choose to invest your time, money, and effort in. Remember to keep your goal and mission in mind. These are our top four favorite strategies to integrate now. 

  • Matching Gifts: In a matching gift program, your business matches donations employees make to nonprofit organizations they care about. This shows your employees you care about what they care about.  
  • Volunteer PTO: Many companies offer employees paid days off to spend volunteering for a worthy cause. This earns goodwill with your employees and community organizations since you are providing opportunities for employees to volunteer their labor or skill for a worthy cause.  
  • Sponsorships: Your company can sponsor a nonprofit event, community project, or program by donating funds to help the initiative succeed.  
  • Skilled volunteering: Skills-based volunteering consists of employees using their professional experience and expertise on a pro bono basis to help local, grass-roots nonprofit organizations. It’s a time commitment made by employees and their employers to use their core skills to help nonprofit organizations with the essential resources and knowledge they need to serve their community. Most effective volunteering opportunities alight their workforce’s specialized skills and interests with core business values and mission. 

Establishing philanthropic relationships with local nonprofits can be done in several ways, but we recommend long-term partnerships for the best results. Long-term partnerships deliver measurable results and success stories that boost your reputation and quadruple your impact. Long-term partnerships are built upon intentional planning and metrics to track success and opportunities for growth. To accurately capture your impact, establish key performance indicators with your partnerships and track their feedback. This data will improve and innovate your strategy over time.  

Why incorporate skills-based volunteering in your giving strategy 

For over 20 years, Common Impact has partnered with Fortune 500 companies and hundreds of the country’s leading nonprofit organizations to create transformational change through skills-based volunteering programing. It goes without saying that we’ve learned a lot! 

Corporate skills-based volunteer programs are more flexible than ever. Program models include virtual, hybrid, or in-person. Program structures can range from a day of service, a 2–4-week project, or long-term mentoring and pro bono consulting partnerships. A skills-based volunteering program relieves nonprofits from burnout, compensates for limited or restricted funding, and expands their resources to continue delivering on their mission.  

Virtual and hybrid volunteering events unlock geographical limits and increase the number of volunteering projects available. Companies are opting for this flexible model because it presents an opportunity for remote and hybrid workers across regions to interact and engage in service, they feel good about.