If you’re a leader in your company who is responsible for your community engagement program, how can you figure out whether your workplace could use a little help from your community foundation on your company's approach to social impact?
Here are three clues to help you solve the mystery.
Clue #1: Your Inbox Isn’t Big Enough Anymore
Are you getting more and more letters and emails asking your company to support worthy causes? Do invitations to charity events land in your inbox almost every day? Do some of these requests come from important clients and customers? Do some even come from employees in your own company? How do you know which causes are worth supporting? You are not alone! The number of nonprofit organizations is increasing steadily, at the rate of nearly 30,000 new organizations each year. The total number of nonprofit organizations in America now totals well over a million! No wonder your inbox is filling up. Your inbox isn’t likely to be empty anytime soon. An overflowing inbox could be the first clue that your company needs a little help. And there is a solution! Consider organizing your company's charitable giving through a corporate donor-advised fund at your community foundation. It will help you keep track of your donations. Plus, you'll be able to better respond to inquiries from charities by explaining that your charitable giving is handled through a corporate fund, making it easier to streamline your ability to process requests.
Clue #2: Where Did This Foundation Come From?
It happens. Someone in the office is cleaning out a filing cabinet, recycling old papers, creating space, decreasing the carbon footprint. All good! And that someone stumbles on an important-looking file. A file that doesn’t appear to have been touched for a while. As in a few years. “Do we have a corporate foundation?” that someone asks. “I’ve never heard of it.” Where did that foundation come from? Perhaps it got lost in the shuffle of the merger. Or maybe the person in charge of the foundation retired last year and it’s just never been reassigned. Or maybe a handful of people know all about it, but the everyone else is in the dark. It happens! And it’s okay, because something can be done! Get in touch with your friends at the community foundation to help you organize your foundation structure through an easy-to-use corporate donor-advised fund.
Clue #3: Our Budget is Out of Sync with Our Giving
Your company supports a wide variety of causes by making monetary gifts to its favorite charities. Sometimes, though, the timing of those gifts is not quite lined up with the company's budget. For example, your company might have a terrific year and be able to give a lot to charity before December 31, but management is concerned that next year's budget might not be as flexible to make gifts to charities. Establishing a corporate donor-advised fund at your community foundation is a great way to meet both the company's budget goals and giving goals. For example, a company can transfer $50,000 to a corporate donor-advised fund prior to December 31, so it's a final transaction for purposes of the company's budget, taxes, and financial statements. Then, during the following year or over multiple years, the company can support charitable organizations with gifts from the donor-advised fund. The structure of the donor-advised fund allows you to plan the timing of your gifts to charities without worrying about balancing your giving goals with the company's budget.
Got a clue? Or two or three? Sounds like it's time to get in touch with the professionals at your community foundation.
IDEAS FOR USING THIS ARTICLE
1. Corporate philanthropy is the next frontier. Do not miss out! This article is a fast and easy way to demonstrate that your community foundation is the best resource for corporate giving. Many companies struggle to understand how the corporate donor-advised fund fits into their community engagement programs, especially since the social impact culture mindset has infiltrated corporate America. Use this article as the basis for an email campaign, directed to the community engagement professionals at the largest companies in your region.
2. Don't stop with the campaign! Now is the time to start beefing up your mailing list. Set a goal of adding 100 community engagement professionals to your corporate email list over the next 100 days.
3. Use this article as a set of talking points for your CEO's presentation to chambers of commerce and other business leader audiences. Ask your board members for ideas to reach this key audience.