How To Choose a Charity That Aligns With Your Corporate Goals
There's little question that your company should donate to charity — surveys show that two-thirds to three-quarters of customers and employees prefer to do business with companies that give back to the community. Once you've decided to start a corporate giving program and figured out how much your business can afford to give to charity, the biggest remaining question is what charity (or charities) you should donate to.
What Charities Should I Donate to as a Corporation?
While there are many different ways to choose causes your business can support — and you're welcome to contribute to any that resonate with you — there are some basic guidelines that can help you choose charities that will resonate with your employees and your customers. The tips below can help you find the right causes and charities to associate with your brand and values.
1. Look for charities that align with your company's values
Choose a charity that aligns with your company's mission and values. The more closely the charity relates to the work your business does, the more likely the connection is to make an impact on your employees and customers. The connection can be very broad — a restaurant may donate a portion of its profits to a local food bank, for example — or much more specific, as in a seafood restaurant supporting a sustainable fisheries initiative.
2. Choose a charity with a personal connection
Choose a charity that has a personal connection for you and make it part of your story. Wendy's founder Dave Thomas, for example, was adopted when he was six weeks old. While Wendy's donates to many charitable causes, their best known is The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, which supports foster care adoption because Thomas believes that "every child deserves a forever home."
3. Look to your community
Look into charities that are close to home. Donations can be especially impactful to small, local charities that don't have the same fundraising base as better-known national charities. While national charities can do very big things with the millions of dollars they raise each year, your donation won't make or break them. It could, however, make a very big difference in the operating budget of a local charity serving a similar purpose in your hometown.
4. Ask your employees
Your employees are experts on their community and its needs. When you give them a voice in choosing the charity or charities your business will support, you are honoring and valuing them as complete, authentic people. By recognizing the causes that are important to them, you are giving them one more reason to love their job.
5. Listen to your customers
You can ask your customers which charities they support directly, either in person or via social media, or you can draw on your knowledge of them to help you choose charities that will resonate with them. REI, the outdoor sports gear brand, for example, focuses on causes that protect and promote access to the outdoors.
6. Let your employees choose their own
Groundswell takes employee choice to the next level. By providing each employee with a personal giving account, you can fully support the causes that are most important to them.
Guidelines for Responsible Corporate Giving
Once you've narrowed down a list of charities to consider, you should do some research to ensure that your donations actually go to the cause you want to support. These tips can help you vet charities and organizations before you make a final commitment.
1. Check their website
An organization's website can tell you a great deal about the organization and its work. Look for clear details about the charity's programs and how they use their donations. The more transparency they offer, the easier your decision will be. At a minimum, it should include the organization's address and phone number, as well as stating its nonprofit status.
2. Look the charity up online
There are a number of organizations dedicated to helping people choose charities to support. Their websites will include a rating, as well as specifics such as how much of your donation goes to programming and whether or not they are registered charities. They include:
- Charity Navigator
- Candid (Formerly Guidestar and Foundations.org)
- Charity Watch
- BBB Wise Giving Alliance
Some things to look for when checking out a charity checklist include:
- Administrative/overhead costs: As a general guideline, look for charities that spend less than 25% of donations on administrative, marketing and other overhead costs.
- Financials: Check the organization's form 990 or other financial reporting for information on their financial health.
- Complaints or actions against them: Look for any regulatory irregularities or complaints that have been made against the charity and what actions, if any, they've taken to resolve them.
- Impact: Givewell lists far fewer charities than the others, but it focuses on charities that have a high rate of impactful work. You can also check the organization's own website and annual report to learn more about the results they've seen in their work.
3. Make a site visit
If you're choosing to support a local charity, schedule an in-person visit to evaluate their work. It will give you an opportunity to meet the organization's leadership team, and see the way it operates on the ground. This can be especially important if you also choose to support the organization with volunteer hours or in-kind donations.
4. Ask around about reputation
In addition to basic research, take some time to ask trusted friends and acquaintances about their experience and opinions of the charities you're considering. Again, this can be especially helpful if your possibilities include local organizations. Your personal contacts may have information about the charity's leadership, board of directors or history that you won't find elsewhere.
The Bottom Line
The charities you support with your business tell your customers and employees a great deal about how well you put your values into practice. If you do your due diligence, follow your instincts and choose carefully, you'll have the pleasure of knowing that your donations are benefiting your business, empowering your employees and making an impact on the world. How much more can you ask for? Start your corporate giving program with Groundswell.
Unlocking Philanthropy: A Ready-to-Use Corporate Giving Policy for Modern Businesses
Sample Corporate Giving Policy You Can Use Today
In today’s socially conscious environment, more companies than ever are recognizing the value of corporate philanthropy. Not only can a robust giving policy boost a brand’s image and reputation, but it can also play a pivotal role in community development and global betterment. If your company is considering the establishment of a formal corporate giving policy or refining its existing strategy, this sample policy might be the perfect starting point for you.
Pillars of a Strong Corporate Giving Policy
Corporate giving programs range from employer donation matching programs to full blown corporate social responsibility programs with grantmaking and volunteerism. Many companies find somewhere in the middle that aligns with their size, budget, geographic presence and most importantly company values and commitment to diversity and inclusion. But what truly makes a corporate giving policy stand out? Let’s delve into the key features, from donation matching to the strategic use of platforms like Groundswell.
1. Donation Matching: Doubling the Impact
One of the most effective tools in a giving policy is donation matching. This is where companies match employee donations to eligible non-profits, effectively doubling the contribution. Such programs not only amplify the impact but also motivate employees to participate, knowing their chosen cause will receive twice the support.
2. Charitable Stipends: Encouraging Employee Choice
Charitable stipends are allowances given to employees to donate to a non-profit of their choice. This not only encourages a culture of giving but also empowers employees to support causes they’re passionate about. The stipends can be a fixed amount annually or can vary based on the employee’s role or tenure.
3. Dollars for Doers: Volunteering Translated to Contributions
“Dollars for Doers” programs convert volunteer hours into monetary donations. When employees volunteer their time for a cause, the company makes a donation equivalent to the hours spent. This fosters a culture of hands-on involvement and ensures that both time and money are being donated to valuable initiatives.
4. Corporate Grants: Sowing Seeds for Bigger Change
Beyond individual employee contributions, companies can set aside a dedicated fund for corporate grants. These grants can be given to non-profits, research initiatives, or community projects that align with the company’s CSR objectives. Such grants can lead to substantial, long-term changes and foster strong partnerships with community leaders and organizations.
Why Choose Groundswell for Your Giving Initiatives?
Incorporating these elements into a giving policy requires streamlined management, transparency, and ease of execution. This is where platforms like Groundswell come into the picture.
Groundswell offers an efficient and affordable solution for companies aiming to elevate their philanthropic endeavors. Here’s why it’s the ideal choice:
- User-Friendly Interface: Groundswell’s platform is designed for both companies and employees, ensuring smooth navigation and straightforward donation processes.
- Versatility: Whether it’s donation matching, handling charitable stipends, or managing corporate grants, Groundswell offers solutions tailored to each company’s unique needs.
- Cost-Effective: Groundswell provides a comprehensive suite of tools at competitive prices, ensuring that more of your money goes towards the cause rather than platform fees.
- Transparency: Track donations, monitor employee involvement, and generate detailed reports to measure the impact—all in one place.
An effective corporate giving policy is a blend of structure, employee engagement, and impactful contributions. By incorporating elements like donation matching, charitable stipends, “Dollars for Doers,” and corporate grants, businesses can create a ripple effect of positive change. And with platforms like Groundswell, executing these initiatives becomes not just feasible but also highly efficient and cost-effective.
5 Tips to Boost Engagement & Impact on Giving Tuesday
Leverage GivingTuesday to boost generosity
Every November, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving is known as GivingTuesday, which often serves as the unofficial start of end-of-year giving campaigns. This comes on the heels of holiday shopping deals on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. It is a worldwide phenomenon, inspiring millions to lean into the end-of-year holiday spirit with generosity and compassion. For many charities, GivingTuesday has become their biggest day for donations – and can help resource their ability to have an even greater impact in the year ahead.
For companies, GivingTuesday and the end-of-year giving season offers an opportunity to double down on their commitment to social responsibility, strengthen relationships with employees, and boost their impact in the community and broader world.
At Groundswell, we partner with companies all across the country to design and launch GivingTuesday campaigns – leveraging our easy-to-use platform that makes it easy for employees to participate and send donations to the causes and charities that they care most about. Below are some best practices to boost engagement and inspire generosity during the giving season.
1. Make Giving Easy:
A lot of giving platforms out there make it incredibly hard to donate. Some don’t have all 1.5 million IRS-approved charities listed. Others require employees to navigate through a web of intranet or sharepoint sites to find the giving program landing page. And others require that HR is notified of any donations an employee wants to make. At Groundswell – we are committed to removing all of the friction, and ensuring that employees can find charities easily, through a platform that is accessible from the palm of their hand, so they can give whenever they want to.
2. Launch a GivingTuesday Match Campaign:
Through Groundswell you can customize and launch a special GivingTuesday match campaign in a matter of minutes. Simply pick the nonprofits to include in the special campaign, select the start and end-date for the campaign, and then determine the match – 2x, 3x – along with any overall budget limits, then you’re done!
3. Boost engagement by involving ERGs:
Share nonprofit recommendations from Employee Resource Groups to provide inspiration around causes and nonprofits that matter to your employees. You can feature these nonprofits on dedicated ERG Corporate Spotlights and Campaigns that will be visible to all employees on their Groundswell dashboard.
4. Surprise (and Delight) Employees With A Gift to Give:
Consider sending a surprise “gift to give” to reward those already participating in your giving program (and to incentivize others to enroll). These gifts might be used to further maximize impact through the existing campaign, or to donate to other nonprofits your employees care about. Groundswell’s custom gift feature allows companies to easily schedule and send gifts with little to no administrative burden.
5. Level up with Volunteer Matching:
Groundswell’s Volunteer Matching program – sometimes known as Dollars for Doers – recognizes that some employees may not have funds to contribute, but have time – and rewards them in the same way. It’s an inclusive approach that invites everyone to participate in GivingTuesday, even those who may not be able to donate their own funds.
12 Employee Benefits Survey Questions Modern Companies Should Ask
In today's business environment, having the right and highest performing talent is more critical than ever. With benefits packages playing a vital role in these decisions, how can companies truly gauge their effectiveness? By initiating regular employee benefits surveys.
Scroll down for a free survey template below.
Let's dive in to the importance of asking the following questions.
Is our workforce satisfied with the current employee benefits package?
Gaining insights from "how satisfied are you with our company’s benefits package?" can offer companies a quick pulse on the effectiveness of their benefits. A dip in satisfaction might signal a need for re-evaluation, especially if you're looking to maximize your budget.
How comprehensive are the employee benefits we offer?
Do employees feel that the organization covers a wide range of their needs? Asking, "do you feel our benefits package is comprehensive in its offering?" can shed light on any potential gaps in coverage.
Are we showing true commitment to Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion through our benefits?
Are the company's efforts in promoting DE&I resonating? This can be gauged by asking if the benefits genuinely support diversity and inclusion. If they aren't, here's an opportunity to collect ideas directly from your employees.
Read more about how to make sure your giving program is equitable and inclusive.
Do our benefits reflect our company culture and values?
The question, "do you feel our benefits package supports our cultural values?" will highlight any potential discrepancies in practicing what you're preaching.
Are we catering to the needs of a remote or multi-location workforce?
With remote work on the rise, is the company adapting its benefits accordingly? It's essential to find out if employees feel supported, regardless of their work setting.
Would employees recommend the company based on our benefits?
This is an easy one to skip, but it's a great question to ask. See how influential your benefits package is for employee referrals. Determining if employees would advocate for the company based on its benefits can be a key metric for recruitment.
How do specific benefit categories fare?
By querying satisfaction levels across various benefits – physical health, social impact, mental health, financial health, and fringe benefits – can companies discern which areas are thriving and which need enhancement?
What additional benefits do employees desire?
Is there a particular benefit that could make a difference in employee satisfaction and retention? Discovering this can be as straightforward as asking, "if you could choose one benefit not currently offered, what would it be?"
If your workforce desires a more meaningful benefit, see why decentralizing your corporate philanthropy strategy can achieve greater impact at scale.
How often should I send an employee survey about our benefits?
While every business has their own set of unique needs, conducing a quarterly employee survey at minimum can help you get a pulse check.
There will be some natural and unplanned peaks in valleys throughout the year that can drastically affect employee morale and company culture. By proactively seeking feedback through surveys, companies can foster a culture of continuous improvement, ensuring they remain at the forefront of employee satisfaction.
What are some affordable benefit options we can provide employees?
Corporate matching or giving programs can be a low-cost addition to your benefit offering that supports your employees’ unique passions and perspectives through charitable giving and boosts your company’s commitment to social impact. Groundswell offers a comprehensive solution with a simple implementation and nearly zero administration burden.
- How satisfied are you with our company’s benefits package?
- Do you feel our benefits package is comprehensive in its offering?
- Do you feel our benefits package supports our cultural values?
- Do you feel our benefits package supports our commitment to Diversity & Inclusion?
- Do you feel our benefits package supports our remote or multi-location workforce?
- How likely are you to recommend applying based on our benefits package?
- How satisfied are you with our physical health benefits (i.e. health care, sick leave, etc)?
- How satisfied are you with our social impact benefits (i.e. corporate matching, volunteering, etc)?
- How satisfied are you with our mental health benefits (i.e. vacation time, EAP, etc)?
- How satisfied are you with our financial health benefits? (i.e. retirement, student loan assistance, etc)
- How satisfied are you with our fringe benefits and perks? (i.e. fitness subsidies, stipends, etc)
- If you could choose one benefit not currently offered, what would it be?