When you want to make the most of your corporate philanthropy, you need to take into account some important considerations. These include monitoring and evaluating your efforts, tying them to your business and strategy, and establishing a link between your philanthropic work and your social and environmental causes.
Tying corporate philanthropy to its business and strategy
Corporate philanthropy is an important part of a company’s overall corporate citizenship strategy. It can enhance the company’s competitiveness and social impact in the long run. However, companies often neglect to tie their philanthropy to their business and strategy.
To get the most out of a corporate philanthropy program, a company must carefully assess how it fits with its business and strategy. The following are four key elements to consider.
Competitive context, the quality of the local and global business environment, is crucial to the success of a company. This includes factors like availability of natural resources, efficient administrative processes, and skilled and trained workers.
Investing in a specialized segment, enhancing a company’s infrastructure, and increasing the skills of its employees can all improve its competitive advantage. When considering how to invest in philanthropy, companies should consider whether they can use their specialized capabilities to help solve a societal problem.
In addition, leveraging the efforts of other nonprofits and institutions can be a powerful way to maximize the social and economic value of your corporate philanthropy. For example, Apple Computer’s donation of computers to schools creates a clear social benefit.
Corporate philanthropy has the potential to significantly improve a company’s competitive context. It can also help a company leverage resources and relationships. For example, a company can work with local nonprofits to improve the environment and health of its workers and contractors. This can be done directly or through partnerships with government agencies and other nonprofit organizations.
By leveraging its expertise, a company can advance knowledge and practice in a specialized segment. In turn, increasing the skill level of its workforce will improve its competitive advantage.
Moreover, a company’s charitable efforts can influence the quality of the environment and business culture in a specific location. Through a virtuous cycle, corporations can set up partnerships that improve the conditions in the communities where they operate. The resulting social benefits will be beneficial to all companies.
A corporate philanthropic strategy should be tailored to fit a company’s particular goals. However, if a company’s efforts are unfocused, it may not maximize the social or economic value of its contributions.
Ties corporate philanthropy to its social and environmental causes
As the number of corporations involved in philanthropy has declined, critics have called for higher levels of “corporate social responsibility” in the United States. Some companies set up independent charitable foundations, while others create corporate giving campaigns. This may seem like a simple matter of goodwill, but the social and economic value of a company’s philanthropic effort can be greater when the company ties its efforts to its strategy and competitive context.
Taking a new approach to corporate philanthropy can be the key to making your company’s social and environmental causes more effective. It can improve your relationship with local governments, improve public health, and advance your efforts to become a more preferred resource-development partner.
In the past, corporate philanthropy programs were unfocused and often didn’t tie into the company’s strategy. This made it hard for companies to justify donating to a cause. Today, a company’s giving program may reflect the values of the executives involved in its management, or it might not be aligned with its unique strategy.