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Corporate giving programs: Opportunity in the COVID era

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According to the recently released 2020 Porter Novelli Executive Purpose Study, more than 80% of large company executives believe for-profit companies have a responsibility to play a role in resolving social issues. The study also found that most executives believe a social impact strategy improves customer loyalty and helps motivate a buying decision.

How should you approach advising your corporate clients about the structure for their social impact programs, especially now that those programs play an increasingly important role in philanthropy? 

Encourage corporate clients to consider the component parts of a well-rounded corporate social responsibility program, such as:

Mission
Embrace and follow an overarching mission statement, consistent with the purpose of the business and integrated into the company’s objectives for success to reinforce the company’s values in the community. 

Structure
Typically, a corporate foundation serves as the hub – or at least a key part – of the overall corporate social responsibility program. Companies are wise to evaluate what type of corporate foundation structure would be most effective. For example, a corporate-advised fund at Akron Community Foundation can be established as a tax-advantageous "ABC Corporation Foundation," allowing the company and its team to stay in the forefront as the face of the corporate foundation while utilizing the behind-the-scenes capabilities of the community foundation to process grants, handle accounting, receive and process gift transactions, and maintain records. Akron Community Foundation also offers automatic payroll deductions for employees who wish to contribute to the fund on a regular schedule.

Alignment
A strong program includes a mechanism for ongoing cause identification and research to stay current with employee, customer and community trends. It also helps when a company can make a case for why corporate causes are aligned with the business’s purpose and the needs of the overall population of its industry or marketplace. 

Engagement
Employee engagement and participation in a company’s community relations and investment program will drive employee loyalty and retention and, in turn, consumer brand engagement. Companies should harness the enthusiasm of employee-led volunteer and fundraising activities. 

Communications & Sales
Celebrate the company’s program in a manner that is integrated with, and complementary to, the company’s overall brand image and public relations strategies. This occurs in the media, through events, on the website, in printed materials and on social media. 

Evaluation & Reporting
Best practices suggest ongoing monitoring of the results of the program against one or more indicators of success, including employee engagement, employee loyalty, operating efficiency, community impact of money invested, customer perception and marketplace reputation.   

To learn more, contact Laura Lederer, senior director of development and advisor relations, at 330-436-5611 or llederer@akroncf.org.

Additional Resources

This content is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice.  

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