What is one of the best ways to foster team spirit? What about for building a corporate brand? How about for attracting and retaining the best talent?
Many CEOs will say that the answer is corporate philanthropy. Giving back is part of the growing concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) which advocates that companies should focus on three objectives (the triple bottom line): 1) profits, the traditional measure of success, 2) people, that employees are engaged in their work, AND 3) the planet. Another way to look at this concept is that a corporation should leave the world a better place than they found it.
The CSR notion is becoming ever more popular, from the largest Fortune 50 companies to the smallest, single person shops. Corporations such as Procter & Gamble, Texas Instruments, and Mary Kay, to name a few, have embraced the concept wholeheartedly. Some even visibly report on their progress such as New Balance in their document “The Responsible Leadership Report.”
Why Give Back
The reasons behind the growing popularity of CSR can be put into six major categories:
So if a business believes in any or all of these six reasons to give back, how does it proceed?
Each company is in a different situation. Not only are they in distinct industries with unique products or services but also at different points in their lifecycle. So while one company is flush with profits and can afford substantial cash donations, a start-up has no discretionary cash but can offer employee manpower or brainpower.
Three ways to give back are:
Steps to Successful Philanthropy
The GIVES model provides a methodical process for establishing a strategic philanthropy plan so that a business can get the most from its giving.
A business would never succeed without a solid strategic plan and the most effective philanthropy is similar. The best business philanthropy follows the same methodical process so the company knows what it wants to achieve, then measures whether the outcome was fulfilled in order to decide future giving AND to derive maximum meaning from its giving.
Debbie Johnson brings her business expertise as an ex-vice president for AT&T/Lucent Technologies and now consultant since 2002. Debbie has extensive nonprofit volunteering and board service to help clients be strategic with philanthropy. firstname.lastname@example.org
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