Each year corporate giving exceeds $200 billion in the United States, according to the National Philanthropic Trust. Of course, that number pales in comparison to the amount of money that corporations get asked for. Even though it’s fair to say that most corporations could probably do more, none can do everything.
Fret not! When trying to prioritize your corporate giving dollars, your brand strategy could give you some guidance. Here’s how:
First, as always, it’s important to understand who your organization is as a brand because like everything else about how it comes to life, corporate giving must be consistent with your values.
For example, if your brand stands for transparency, you should be completely open about all the charities you support, even if some of your client base may not also support them. Not everyone supports the work of Planned Parenthood, but if you give to them, do not hide it if you want people to believe your organization really is transparent in all that you do.
Similarly, if your brand stands for education and empowerment, look for charities that teach new skills or support people transitioning from one stage in their lives to another.
Speaking of clients, supporting causes that they generally support is a great way to manage charitable giving if the charities align with who you are. In fact, helping your customers support charities is a great idea, as long as your support is genuine and not a way to simply sell more stuff.
However, don’t feel as if your organization has to support only those organizations that align with your client base. Take Starbucks, for example. Their brand is built on a pillar of taking a stand on important social issues. As such, they have been early supporters of social issues like gun control and marriage equality—two issues that do not have universal support. The point that they took a stand is the most important element for them, not what the stand was.
No matter whom your brand supports—and all brands should support charities—your brand strategy can guide you towards distributing those much-needed funds in fair and thoughtful ways.