4 Reasons For Corporate Giving & 20 Ideas How To Start

Businesses that give back, get back. There’s something intrinsically powerful in practicing corporate philanthropy and donating to a worthy cause. Not only do business owners feel it, but their employees do, too. This feeling pays you back as an owner in a variety of ways.

Why Should Workplaces Sponsor Charitable Giving?

There are 4 key payoffs for making corporate donations:

  • They improve workplace culture: If you want your team to be invested in the work they do, show them you’re invested in the communities in which they live and the causes most important to them. It’s a sure-fire way to improve employee engagement.
  • You could be seen as a Great Place to Work: Employees get excited talking about the charitable donations their company makes. This great word of mouth about your generous company might help to get you on a local Best Places To Work or national top employer list.
  • It’s good PR: There’s no better way to get good (free!) press than to show you care about your community. Consider it cause-related marketing.
  • Donations are tax deductible: If you are having a good year, show it. Or better yet, don’t wait until the end of the year. Share the love all year long.

How Does WizeHire Give?

At WizeHire, every employee can designate $1000 to the charity of their choice. The causes range from national nonprofits to local churches. We’re a remote team, so in a company-wide video conference we all have the opportunity to share a little about the recipient of our donation.

From company founders to newest hires, everyone participates. It’s a great way to learn more about your coworkers and the causes most important to them.

In 2018, WizeHire donated to the following organizations on behalf of the staff:

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Also benefiting from contributions were The Peter J Golueke Foundation and Grace Lutheran Church in Houma LA.

This approach gives team members direct control over where they feel their donation can do the most good. Some folks like to give to national nonprofits while others wish to donate based on personal experiences closer to home.

There’s no right or wrong way to do corporate giving, only what’s best for your situation.

How Do You Start a Giving Program?

Once you decide to give, be creative. Find a method that resonates with your team and addresses what they and you care about. Don’t feel you can offer a financial support or make cash contributions? Make it part of your organization’s mission to offer gifts-in-kind or donate willing hands. There are tons of ways to contribute!

Here are 20 creative ideas for workplace giving:

  1. Matching employee donations – Nothing shows your team you care like matching gifts. Find out which nonprofit organizations they are compelled to contribute to and match their donations. Large or small, every penny counts.
  2. Offering PTO to your employee volunteers – Giving employees paid hours off to volunteer their time and talents speaks volumes to your team and the charity they choose.
  3. For every 10 volunteering hours, employees get $100 to donate to charity of their choice – This is a common practice at Autodesk. They also share volunteer projects you can complete right from your desk.
  4. Create an employee-funded foundation – Veterans United Home Loans funds a foundation dedicated to helping veterans in a variety of ways. From getting a service dog to partnering with a larger veteran aid organization that will get a vet into a smart home, the opportunities are endless.
  5. Sponsor charity fundraising events – Many organizations sponsor local charity events and fundraising campaigns on a regular basis. Investing in your immediate area shows you really care about your community.
  6. Adopt a new charity – Fundraising is a key necessity for all nonprofits. Find a new one and help them get started. Brainstorm a list of fundraising events your team is willing to set up or help them to produce fundraising videos. Meet with their board of directors to gather intel on their most pressing needs.
  7. Do company-wide donation/collection efforts responsive to current events – Hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, and other human tragedies are aided by all types of donations. Opportunities to make an impact are always available. Consider donating in advance. For example, in 2018 WizeHire made a monetary donation to the Red Cross prior to Hurricane Florence making landfall in North Carolina.
  8. Reimburse employees for being ecologically minded – Reward eco-minded employees who carpool, bike or walk to work by donating estimates of their money saved to charities of their choice.
  9. Create a corporate blood donation program – Blood donors are always in need. At your next company-wide event, contact your local Red Cross and arrange to have their bloodmobile stop by.
  10. Hold a ‘Personal Story of Giving Back’ Contest – The staff at Genetech chooses a winner and the prize is a philanthropic trip to Africa to give some more.
  11. Dedicate a day or two or even a full week to encourage employees to volunteer, donate, and give back to the community – Choose a time of year that makes sense for you and your community calendar. Have your team generate fundraising ideas for charities close to home.
  12. Include a way to give back at all major company-wide events – Whether local or on the road, share the love in all of the local communities you visit for corporate meetings. Have your event planning team investigate local organizations in need.
  13. Reward employee contributions with snacks and meals – Saying ‘thank you’ matters!
  14. Post links on the company intranet for GoFundMe pages – Whether it’s a local family rebuilding from a house fire or a coworker’s family with expensive medical conditions, GoFundMe pages share timely giving opportunities.
  15. Sponsor a Clean Up Day – Care for your community by giving your team a chance to be seen doing good in the neighborhood. Make a positive impact on a local beach, park, church or school… a little cleaning goes a long way.
  16. Sponsor a team in a walk for charity – Choose a charity close to your employees or have them vote for their favorite cause.
  17. Add a volunteer activity to your meeting agendas – Stuff envelopes for fundraisers, work on marketing campaigns, help re-program websites: nonprofits are always in need of assistance.
  18. Do pro bono work – If you work in a service industry, find a needy individual, family or cause and donate your services for free.
  19. Host a company Olympics – Compete against your coworkers in silly sports such as building tents blindfolded, stuffing your faces with marshmallows, and doing timed handstands in front of the office. Senior staff and front line can have fun and build camaraderie while helping local causes. Who wouldn’t throw in a  buck or two for the honor of playing The Pie Face Game with the president?
  20. Actively promote employee giving – Give all employees 1K to donate to the charity of their choice. Or for larger companies, employees each nominate a campaign and 50 are chosen to receive a 1K donation.

While very different, all of these methods achieve the same end. They’re a way to foster goodwill between employers and employees, improve the quality of life for others in their communities, and make the world a better place.

Do more than cut a big check. Get creative in your corporate giving. Your employees will see you in a different light and be healthier, happier and more dedicated.

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. ~ Winston Churchill