We all know the saying, “it’s better to give than to receive.”  While we often think about that more during the holiday season, the fact is, it holds true 365 days per year. Your company is part of a broader community. Although sometimes it’s easy to forget that when due dates are looming and end-of-year expenses and reimbursements are due.

Committing to corporate giving throughout the year can benefit both the receiver and the giver. That’s because outside of working hours, you and your employees and your families live in the community you’ll be giving back to. 

In the latest episode of the Team Building Saves the World podcast, we sat down with Kevan Barton, Executive Director of YouthConnect in Boston, to discuss the community impact of corporate giving.

“Understanding that it’s a win-win. Because when a corporation gives to a nonprofit, it’s with the understanding that those dollars are really meant to strengthen the community. Corporations operate within communities, [and part] of what that dollar does is [that] it really helps to fortify and strengthen that community.” Kevan

Let’s dive into what corporate giving is, the different types you can commit to, and the win-win benefits giving back to your community can have for everyone involved.

What Is Corporate Giving?

Corporate giving is the time, money, and resources your company gives to improve its surrounding community.  There are many ways companies can incorporate corporate giving into their business practices and benefit their local community. Take a look at the following examples of causes, initiatives, or non-profit organizations that may exist in your community:

  • Food bank donations or food drives
  • Volunteering at a local care home
  • Planting trees, picking up litter, and other environmental efforts
  • Partner with a local non-profit or NGO to help with its specific needs.
  • Organize a company-wide Charity Bike-Build
  • Local Toys for Tots initiatives or a similar events such as Toys for Tykes
  • After-school youth mentorship programs
  • Sponsor a fundraiser for a local cause
  • Support literacy initiatives with a Little Team Library event
  • Donate your company’s products or services to local organizations that need them.

The Top 4 Corporate Giving Programs

There are countless ways you and your team can give back to local, national, and global nonprofit organizations and initiatives. We’ve narrowed them down to the top four to consider.

1. Volunteer Grant Programs

Encouraging your employees to volunteer their time and energy is at the heart of a volunteer grant program. Here’s how it works. First, your employee can choose a local non-profit or cause they care about. Then, they’ll volunteer X number of hours. In turn, you’ll commit to donating X amount of money to the organization for Y number of volunteer hours your employee gives.

For instance, for every 15 hours, your employee volunteers at a non-profit, you can pledge to donate $300. And an added bonus? Your employees are your best ambassadors in the community. Their involvement shows your company’s support, too.

When starting out, keep this checklist in mind:

  • Seek your employees’ input about the organizations they’re passionate about and/or offer a list of some of the local causes and organizations for them to choose from.
  • Offer a clear monetary amount for X number of volunteer hours.
  • Consider offering paid, Volunteer Time Off (VTO) for them to achieve their goals.

2. Gift Matching

Consider allowing your employees to give back to the cause or organization of their choice. When they do, you can offer to match their donation, dollar for dollar, or up to a particular amount.

Keep these best practices in mind if you set up a corporate gift-matching scheme:

  • Set your ratio and your limit. For example, do you plan to match their donation 1:1 or 2:1, etc.? And up to what dollar amount?
  • Raise awareness throughout the company. Send reminders multiple times throughout the year.
  • Offer incentives to those who can give more. For instance, for anyone who donates above $750, the company will double that donation.

3. Company-Wide Community Volunteering Projects

Why not choose one (or a few) community volunteering projects you and your employees can do together? Solicit their feedback (i.e., distribute a survey, etc.) to determine the community causes or non-profits they’re most passionate about.

Let’s say everyone’s on board to support local seniors or to do something special for the youth in foster care in your area. But maybe none of you can decide on the exact way to do it. And you’re under a time crunch before the holiday season. The Donation Station would be the ideal way to band together and give back.

4. Corporate Giving Team Building Programs

If you’re trying to get involved with corporate giving but don’t know where to start, consider booking a corporate giving team building program for your entire workplace or team. These fully hosted programs take away the stress and planning of rolling out an internal corporate giving initiative and allows you to start giving back sooner.

5 Benefits of Corporate Giving Initiatives

While the purpose of giving back is to help the recipient more than the giver, it’s worth mentioning that the giver and the receiver stand to benefit from corporate giving initiatives. Take a look at five of the top benefits of committing to these efforts.

1. Shows Your Company Leads with a Purpose

No doubt, your company is known in the community for the products or services you offer. But when your company commits to corporate giving, you’re sending the community a signal that you lead with a purpose.

In other words, your company stands for more than what you sell or offer to turn a profit. For instance, let’s say your employees are passionate about giving back to youth in need. One weekend, you may organize The Big Give for your team. This would allow you to work together to build bicycles, blankets, and more for kids who deserve them. As a result, you’ll show the community that your company leads with a purpose–to improve the lives of the next generation.

2. Community Investment Is an Employee Investment

You likely don’t think about what your employees do in their free time. But make no mistake, it involves their local community in some way. By giving back to your local community, you’re also deepening your investment in your employees’ lives, outside of work. 

For example, maybe they have family members who can’t afford to put their kids in an after-school program. Or, perhaps the local parks and running trails they use on their daily commute or weekend hikes are full of litter and other waste.

By devoting your time and resources to programs that can better the lives (and health) of others, you’re investing in improving your employees’ lives, too.

3. Boosts Your Company’s Ethos

What does your company stand for? If you had to describe the backbone or integrity of your company, what would you say? That you’re honest with your clients? Deliver stellar services? Or, that you are a pillar of philanthropy in your community?

No doubt, corporations have deeper pockets than any one individual donor alone. When you decide to commit to corporate giving, you put your company’s name and what it stands for behind that donation. Members of the community will begin associating your company and its employees with more than just your product or service–but, instead, with what you stand for.

4. Expands Your Network & Community Connections

When your team commits to giving back to the community, they’re bound to meet new people and build lasting relationships. Expanding your network in the name of a good cause is one way to get the word out about the organization or initiative your company is passionate about. The more people who learn about it? The more resources you have to give back.

One cause that everyone can give to in small or big ways is the fight to end starvation and food insecurity. Regardless of the holiday season, food insecurity is an issue all year. 

A fun way to raise awareness for this issue, expand your network, and help feed local families is to host a network-wide Foodbank Showdown. You’ll strengthen your team’s bonds and those with your ever-growing network by hosting a friendly competition that will help local families receive groceries.

5. Strengthens Employee Morale, Engagement, & Company Culture

When your team commits to making a difference in the lives of those in your community, it’s bound to have a positive impact on their morale, productivity, and more. That’s because rather than focusing on their individual job duties and responsibilities, they’ll also develop a deeper bond by working together for a good cause.

Ready to Prioritize Corporate Giving All Year Long?

Food drives, youth mentorship programs, and so many other corporate giving initiatives need funding, resources, and volunteer hours more than just once a year. Committing your team to corporate social responsibility efforts, especially corporate giving can be a part of the fabric of your company’s ethos. In other words, when you give back, it becomes who you are, not just what you do.

Our corporate giving team building programs offer an exciting way to come together for a fun and engaging experience all whilst making a difference. All of our charitable programs will leave your team closer, feeling accomplished, and proud to be part of a company that prioritizes giving back.

As the holiday season ramps up, and you finalize your company’s corporate giving initiatives, we welcome you to listen to the full podcast, Community Impacts of Corporate Giving. Your team can make a difference in the community all year long though–and, as Kevan Barton tells us, that’s “a win-win for everyone.”

Anna Webber

Team Contributor


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