Corporate Giving 101
By: Erin Robinson
Last year, I was conducting a monthly marketing meeting with a client of mine and, as we were wrapping up, one of the attendees said, “I almost forgot! We also raised $14,000 for Relay For Life,” as if this was no big deal. Meanwhile, I had no idea the employees were even participating in the annual event!
As it turns out, this particular client had several corporate giving initiatives going on throughout the year, which was absolutely great to hear. However, it immediately came to my attention that the organization’s efforts were not at all common knowledge—internally or externally. And so this law firm’s annual corporate giving plan took shape.
To start, we decided to coordinate one corporate giving initiative per quarter. Before we jumped into the selection process, we decided to strategically approach the program. We needed to develop specific requirements that each of the four nonprofits would have to meet in order to be considered for partnership. Our four criteria are listed below:
- Each organization must offer opportunities to contribute funds, in-kind donations and volunteer hours so that employees can choose with method of support works best for them (Relay For Life was an exception as no in-kind donations were accepted).
- In order to encourage employee participation, all causes submitted by an employee must be considered.
- Charities supported in previous years must be considered, but are not automatically selected in order to ensure that employees are given a variety of causes to support.
- The four charities must benefit different groups of recipients—homeless, hungry, children in need, cancer research, etc. Employee participation is highest when the team is truly invested in the nonprofit, so this is an important step.
Once the organizations were selected, we worked with a volunteer coordinator from each charity to determine the volunteer dates and activities, as well as the in-kind donations items that would be accepted. We then began our internal communications to the employees. The first touch point was a letter from the Chairman announcing the four organizations.
Next, an energetic flyer was created to inform employees of participation options.
And then it was time for the first volunteer event!
When you’re at a volunteer event, it’s important to remember to bring a camera. This seemingly small detail can play a big part in post event communications. Be sure to send someone with a decent camera to capture the employees working hard and having a little fun while they’re at it. These photos can be used after the event in internal communications (such as newsletters), on a company Facebook Page and, finally, for media coverage.
When all dollars have been collected, the last toy and box of toiletry items have been delivered to the charity and the employees have enjoyed their involvement with the group, be sure to tally the donation numbers. This data will be a great resource for a follow-up press release, as well as an internal thank you to clients for their generosity. Be sure to announce the total hours volunteered and dollars raised to the entire company—make it a big deal, because it is! Employees will feel great about working for a company that consistently gives back to the community in a meaningful way.
In closing, I have been pleasantly surprised time and again by the charitable work happening throughout the office of so many Identity clients. All it takes is some organization and coordination to ensure that the corporate giving initiative is a well-communicated success!