At The San Diego Foundation, we assist individuals, families and companies with their charitable giving. Often, our corporate donors ask for our help to ensure their community involvement and grants are making the most difference.
Below are three strategies we explore with companies for smarter giving:
1. Leverage Brand
Working with a philanthropic partner such as a community foundation helps generous companies identify unique and innovative ways to deploy their charitable assets. Many sophisticated approaches tend to leverage a company’s branding and community relations efforts.
One example that showcases brand leveraging is Ben & Jerry’s recent launch of its new “Save Our Swirled” ice cream flavor.
With a long history of social activism, the company partnered with Elon Musk and Tesla Motors, along with nonprofit Avaaz.org, to leverage its household name brand and bring free ice cream with climate action awareness to households nationwide.
2. Engage Employees
A company’s greatest asset is its people. By encouraging employee and key stakeholder involvement with a company’s charitable giving activities, corporate values are reinforced.
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According to Elaine Cohen in Corporate Giving: Who Benefits Most?, employee matching grant programs also help motivate a workforce and build morale. Other programs can include corporate volunteer days and employee community leadership recognition.
Building camaraderie around giving back to the community reinforces a company’s investment in the region where it does business.
3. Evaluate SROI
When companies make a grant or other community investment, executive leadership should consider social return on investment (SROI).
SROI is a formula that includes analysis of the direct outcome of a grant (e.g. at-risk youth served by job readiness training), as well as indirect longer-term benefits of the company’s community investment (e.g. better prepared and stable workforce, economic development, and reduced costs in other public programs).
Above all, quality corporate giving programs increase a company’s positive impact where it does business – and beyond.
Implementing a thoughtful and strategic approach to community philanthropy makes good business sense. It also unites employees, leadership and customers with an inspiring connection to the company’s mission.
Does your company have a corporate giving strategy? Start a conversation about how we can help your company with its charitable goals.