When we think of the ‘’corporation’’ as an abstract entity, it does not conjure up the warmest and fuzziest feelings. Big businesses are seen as bastions of greed and corruption that do all sorts of bad things from destroying the environment to exploiting the vulnerable for maximum profit. But, this is not always the case; there are many corporations that do good for their communities and the world at large, and some might say there is a moral obligation to do so. If you want to increase your philanthropic charity efforts, here are some ways your business can give back.
No matter where your business is located, there is likely no shortage of good causes that can use a nice cash boost to aid their charitable efforts. Sponsoring some sort of community fundraiser is a great way to do your part; it can also boost your reputation in the local community, which is never a bad thing for a big business.
Many big businesses partake in grant programs that assist local organizations in better the lives of the community. Typically, you would offer assistance to any type of organization, whether it be one that improves education in the inner city or aids the homeless. You can establish a foundation that handles processing grant applications and deciding who gets the money, or you can do this internally.
Pro Bono Services
Giving away time and knowledge can be just as valuable, or sometimes more so, than monetary donations. Many charitable organizations are in need of assistance that can be very costly on their operating budgets. If you run a marketing firm, perhaps you can offer your services free of charge to help a local organization promote their next fundraising event. If you specialize in IT services, offer a free facelift for the charity’s website. No matter what type of business you run, there is probably some way you can put your skills or products to good use.
Employee Matching Programs
Employee matching programs are a great way for corporations to give back. Here, you offer to match employee donations up to a certain amount when they give to qualified non-profit organizations. You may choose a broad range or a narrower focus. If you think about implementing one of these programs, perhaps you want to do a bit of homework to find out which causes your employees are most likely to donate to, as high motivation on their part to donate will form the crux of successful execution. Your employees will appreciate this benefit and you can reap the tax benefits associated with charitable giving.
Employee Volunteer Grants
Volunteer grants are used by many big businesses to encourage their employees to become more actively involved in their communities. Offer to donate X amount of dollars to the organization for every hour the volunteer participates—typically you would set a minimum amount of hours the person must volunteer annually. If you have employees who display a particularly strong dedication to a certain organization, you might consider a larger donation to the organization. You can also offer team volunteer grants, where you will donate a certain amount of money when a minimum number of people volunteer for a set amount of time at a qualified organization.
About the Author: Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who blogs about a variety of business philanthropy topics from how businesses can give back to the specific actions of well-known philanthropists, such as John Studzinski Blackstone Group Senior Managing Director.