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This is What It Takes to Build a Sustainable Give-Back Culture

Use these 5 components to create a corporate give-back approach within an overall business strategy
By: Amanda McDonald
October 5th, 2017

Does your organization have what it takes to build and sustain a give-back culture?

In our previous blog, ‘If You Can Understand the Importance of Philanthropy, Your Organization Can Thrive,’ we talked about the definition of philanthropy and how the evolution of philanthropy relates to building a corporate give-back strategy.

In short, we no longer live in a world that only cares about your monetary donations. Today, philanthropy is much broader. The things people and organizations give, the way donations are made, and how causes are supported are all unique.

Yes, money donations are still very welcomed and appreciated. However, these days donors want to be directly involved in the giving process, and they want to see the impact their giving has on others.

5 Components to building a sustainable culture of giving in your organization

The most fundamental element of initially developing a give-back culture in your organization is establishing a holistic strategy.

Multiple studies have concluded that a philanthropic strategy within an overall business strategy is a necessity to build and sustain a give-back culture.

Use the following components to start creating the right philanthropy strategy for your organization.

1. Identifying how your strategy will increase your bottom line.

You should be thinking about this from both an internal and external perspective.

For example, engaging the growing millennial workforce by supporting their passion for being part of making a difference is an excellent way to recruit and increase productivity.

A poll conducted by Morning Consult for Fortune uncovered this impressive statistic: Nearly two-thirds of people between the ages of 18 and 34 were at least somewhat more likely to want to work for a company that gave to charity than one did that not.1

Another study found millennials place a higher priority on helping people in need (21%) than having a high-paying career (15%).2

Externally, consumers want to purchase products and services from organizations doing good things in their communities.

67% of consumers say they are more likely to buy products and services from a company if they know it supports good causes, up more than 11% from the year before.3

2. Recognize and engage your stakeholders

More than likely you already have identified your stakeholders. Stakeholders are the people who are affected by your business as well as those who affect your business and activities.

Stakeholders include:

Internal: employees, management, executives, a board of directors, and shareholders.

External: customers, community members and leaders, suppliers, regulators, investors, public shareholders, activists, nonprofits, media, etc.

Start engaging your stakeholders with open, honest conversations. You will want to build alliances and get their buy-in. Actively listen to their concerns and ideas. They will be your biggest supporters if you’re able to incorporate their feedback and continuous engagement in your strategy.

3. Create a comprehensive approach

One of the critical elements that many organizations miss is developing and creating a long-term give-back plan.

Rather than providing random donations or planning ad hoc volunteer projects for employees, determine the strategies your organization wants to incorporate in your philanthropy strategy.

You should consider strategies such as corporate giving, employee donations, corporate gift matching, employee volunteer opportunities, etc. as part of a holistic approach.

Creating a give-back culture is your opportunity to empower and engage all of your stakeholders and members of the community.

4. Get employees and stakeholders excited using well-thought-out communications strategy

Once you’ve started developing your philanthropy strategy, you also need to develop an appropriate communication plan. If no one knows about your intent to build a give-back culture, the success of your strategy is unlikely.

Consider the following when planning your communications:

  • Decide what channels you will communicate through. (e.g., social media, internal newsletter, emails, phone calls) Ensure you are delivering your messages across the right variety of channels to engage employees, customers, and the community.
  • Determine your key messages. Make your message consistent across your communications channels to effectively reach your stakeholders.
  • Determine how your communications will build excitement around your corporate giving goals. You might want to consider a unique campaign for the roll-out of your corporate giving plan. Just be sure to clearly communicate the goals and why a give-back culture is important to your organization.

5. Optimize resources

Organizations have vast amounts of resources. It’s important to align your resources with the cause you’re supporting.

Your resources include financial capacity, products or services, volunteerism, other human and intellectual capital.1

In aligning your resources, you can make a more profound impact as well as build partnerships and trust within the community. Some organizations prefer to align their products and services with the causes they support.

For example, if your organization is in the health industry you might find a charity that provides support to those in who can’t afford proper healthcare, wellness, or disease prevention and cure. You could also choose a cause that is relevant to your employees, such as supporting an organization that helps families in medical crisis, disability, or a cause that aligns with their passions.

Regardless of what cause(s) your organization commits to supporting, remember this — A comprehensive corporate philanthropy strategy within your overall business plan is essential to create and sustain a give-back culture within your organization!

Stay tuned for more content in this series on how and why building a give-back culture will help your organization thrive!

Next up, more on why giving is good for your business’s bottom line and employee health.

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You can also contact us at 4141 28th Ave S, Fargo, ND 58104 | (701) 271-0263

  1. Morning Consult. (2017). State of the workplace poll - national tracking poll #170514. Morning Consult. Retrieved from https://morningconsult.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/170514_crosstabs_BRANDS_v2_TB-3.pdf
  2. Pew Research Center (2010). Millennials Confident. Connected. Open to change. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/files/2010/10/millennials-confident-connected-open-to-change.pdf
  3. Edelman (2010). Citizens engage! Edelman goodpurpose® study 2010, fourth annual global consumer survey. Edelman. Retrieved from http://ppqty.com/GoodPurpose2010globalPPT_WEBversion%20%281%29.pdf
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