Tips for Corporate Gift Giving

iStock_000019052230XSmall Business Man Holding Gift

The holidays are here and present an opportunity for corporate leadership to step away from matters regarding healthcare reform and consider donating to a worthy cause. Whether it’s solicitations from non-profit organizations or causes that are near and dear to senior executives, there are some guidelines to consider when determining the best way to proceed with corporate philanthropy programs:

  • Create a Process for Choosing – obviously there are many worthy causes that your organization. When it comes to aligning your organization with a non-profit, it is important to consider why. Create an internal team with guidelines so that when the time comes, it is easier to make a decision.

  • Align with Corporate Values – non-profit organizations come in all shapes and sizes, so make sure to select those that align with your own corporate values.

  • Build a Philanthropic Culture – communicate the corporate values and ensure that employees understand the reasons behind corporate giving. Make sure that there is buy-in at all levels on the importance and an understanding of the benefits of building stronger community ties.

  • Contributions Can Go Beyond Money – sometimes the best gift your organization can make is one outside of a single corporate check. Use the opportunity to interact with chosen charities, making it a team building event that really helps tie your employees to the cause.

  • Build a Robust Plan – Develop a program that allows for cash and product donations, as well as employee giving with corporate matching. In addition, support volunteer efforts from your employees. Put a long-term strategy behind your corporate gift giving to ensure it becomes a part of the corporate culture.

More on Choice

When you first begin working through the process of selecting non-profits, it is easy to become overwhelmed and try to help too many. There are so many organizations out there, so when deciding on who to support, remember to think about your customer base. If your company does business on a local scale, then chose a local charity so you ensure your focus stays close to home. If your organization is international, then charities like the Red Cross may be the right choice for you.

It may seem a little self-serving, but it is important to align with charitable organizations that make sense for your business. To that end, it is prudent to research the organization to ensure they have a sustainable business model and are capable of generating revenue. Non-profit does not mean broke. You want to invest corporate funds in a charity that you know will be there to continue good works.

Prioritize Giving without Breaking the Bank

There are several ways to ensure that your corporate gift giving occurs regularly. First, it must be a priority, hence the need to make it part of your corporate culture. As we mentioned get employees involved and provide some type of matching program. This rallies the troops around the cause without all the funds coming from the corporation. It is wise to put a fund aside for philanthropy that also allows the money to keep working. Place funds in short-term investments so you can make use of the interest as well. When you are first starting out, align with non-profits that have easy-to-use systems in place, such as the Salvation Army. This introduces the idea to your employees and engages them quickly so that you can begin implementing a more long-term philanthropy strategy with employee buy-in.

With a little forethought, it is easy to create a strong corporate philanthropy strategy that embraces the community, engages employees, and promotes the values of your organization. Simply remember it is important to get started, and keep it simple in the beginning. You can develop the program into something to be proud of, and give back at the same time. Happy Holidays!

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