How to Start a Corporate Giving Program

Leaders at companies of all shapes and sizes understand that creating a culture of giving back is essential to their own bottom lines. According to America’s Charities, workplace giving is one of the most cost-effective ways to support charities, with approximately $4 billion being raised each year through workplace giving. Laura Plato, president and COO for Causecast, a SaaS technology provider of employee engagement and corporate philanthropy solutions, reveals why corporate giving is such an important piece of your business plan.

When employees are involved in corporate giving, companies reap the rewards as well as nonprofits – in the form of increased employee engagement, recruitment, retention and productivity. According to Project ROI, a well-designed corporate social responsibility program can increase employee engagement up to 7.5%, increase employee productivity by 13%, reduce employee turnover by 50%, and increase revenue by as much as 20%. Workplace giving is a central component of these programs.

Workplace giving also has an affect on brand loyalty from existing customers and brand awareness from new customers. An Edelman study found that as social purpose’s role in purchasing decisions has increased, purchase frequency has also intensified: 47% of global consumers buy brands that support a good cause at least monthly, a 47% increase from a few years past. “Not only are consumers making purchase decisions with purpose top of mind,” the study notes, “they are also buying and advocating for purposeful brands. Seventy-two percent of consumers would recommend a brand that supports a good cause over one that doesn’t. Seventy-one percent of consumers would help a brand promote their products or services if there is a good cause behind them. Seventy-three percent of consumers would switch brands if a different brand of similar quality supported a good cause.”

Beyond all of these benefits to the business, there is also the satisfaction of making a true impact in one’s community. But sometimes it’s tough to know where to start, especially if you’re a start-up – or a large company that hasn’t traditionally made giving back a priority.

Here’s some advice from the members of Pledge 1%, a corporate philanthropy movement dedicated to making the community a key stakeholder in every business: don’t get paralyzed by the overwhelm. If you want to kick off a corporate giving program at your company, whether it’s a brand new business or a longtime company, you can simply start by making a commitment and then build your program as you grow.

For example, Pledge 1% encourages and challenges individuals and companies to pledge 1% of equity, product, and employee time for their communities. Taking the 1% pledge helps companies and individuals demonstrate their philanthropic intent and hold themselves accountable for turning a pledge into action.

There are many on-ramps to join the superhighway of corporate giving – the important thing is to just get started!

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