It’s common for companies to outline having a corporate giving program as one of their strategic objectives, but developing the program often stays at a standstill. Many of the companies we talk to are interested in developing a program, but have yet to start. If a formal give back program doesn’t yet exist in your company, how do you know the best time to start one?

Finding a good time to announce your corporate giving initiative can have a profound effect not only on your karma and the non-profit with whom you’ve paired up, but also on your business’ bottom line. Studies have shown that 55% of consumers will pay a bit more if they know the company in question is committed to creating a positive impact, socially and environmentally. In fact, seven-in-ten people feel corporations are under a moral obligation to give back to their communities and improve societal issues.

55% will pay extra for products and services from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact.

 

The 8 Best Times to Start Corporate Giving

Below are some suggestions of opportunities that give you the perfect excuse to jumpstart your business’ unique and mutually beneficial corporate giving program.

 

For Your Company’s Anniversary

While we all love a good celebration, the anniversary or “birthday” of your company is an especially significant milestone. Creating a partnership with a prospective non-profit organization is a great way to start off your company’s new year with a bang. With this added reason to observe the day, you’ll have even more to talk about in your newsletters and advertising campaign.

PepsiCo chose to celebrate their 40th anniversary in 2015 by reigniting the classic Pepsi Challenge. Rather than just encourage their consumers to drink more soda, the brand joined with numerous celebrities to champion social change, and donated to the Liter of Light organization each time anyone used their dedicated hashtag on social media.

With Opening A New Location

If you’re moving into a different location, city or even country, collaborating with your new community is a great way to make a name for yourself in your new home and build relationships with local customers. Find a nearby non-profit that fits your values and services, and get involved.

The 2014 relocation of the Burger King headquarters to Canada was big news in the papers, but the company didn’t just settle down in the north and continue to focus solely on its US market. Instead, the Burger King McLamore Foundation, which supports scholarly achievement with educational bursaries, expanded their awards to Canadian students. Another branch of the foundation – the BK Family Fund – donates funds to Burger King employees who have encountered hardship, all around the world.

 

Launching A New Product or Service

Creating awareness around a new product or service can be a tricky balancing act, but one of the primary suggestions from marketing specialists is to focus on the people you’re selling to, not the product or service itself. Potential customers like to hear about the social good your company is undertaking, so a launch is the perfect time to introduce your new non-profit partnership.

It’s no surprise that Apple has a good handle on making the most of their corporate giving. Their social responsibility has been in the news recently with the release of the (RED) iPhone. The company makes a donation to GlobalFund – an organization that supports HIV treatment and prevention – for every bold red cell phone sold.

Apple corporate giving red

 

With A Rebrand

A rebrand isn’t just about the aesthetics of a different logo or a new store awning – it is also an opportunity to give your company a social facelift. By combining the publicization of your new look with news about your company’s corporate giving strategy, you’re ensuring existing and future customers associate your updated appearance with community improvement and social change.

Following the release of a disturbingly graphic documentary in 2004, McDonald’s faced plummeting sales thanks to their newfound status as a really unhealthy restaurant. As a result, the company was forced to undertake an extensive rebranding that included the addition of many healthy menu options.

McDonald’s has been the primary supporter of the Ronald McDonald House charity since the 1980s, but since the movie’s release, the company has stepped up their focus on health (in addition to supporting families of sick kids) by funding the Care Mobiles, mobile health centres that bring medical care right to the front doors of at-risk children and families. The charity currently runs 50 Care Mobiles around the world.

During the Holiday Season

During the festive season everyone is encouraged to think about others; it’s the perfect time to launch or announce your latest corporate giving initiative. Not only can you spread good cheer and positive press about your company, you can also encourage your customers to join in giving back along with you.

One holiday giving campaign that stood out to us was Patagonia, the adventure gear company known for their unconventional sales and marketing strategies. Last year, the company introduced their Black Friday initiative, a 1% Fundraiser for the Planet. Rather than offering huge discounts, Patagonia pledged to donate 100% of the sales from that day to various organizations striving to improve and protect the world’s vital natural resources. There’s no doubt this generous campaign earned Patagonia a good number of loyal return customers, and the $10 million they raised certainly made a social difference.

100 for the planet corporate giving

 

When There’s a Strong Value Alignment with a Current Issue

There is no shortage of worthy non-profits with which you can choose to partner, but sometimes with so much going on, it can be difficult to determine the best and most meaningful direction in which to take your corporate giving. If you aren’t resonating with an evergreen charity, consider how your business could make a difference in the aftermath of a recent natural disaster or crisis.

Following the devastating fires in Fort McMurray, Alberta last year, a number of companies surged forward to help those in need, using their services and products to make life easier on the thousands of displaced individuals.

Airbnb co-ordinated emergency housing for the city’s newly-homeless residents, and Cineplex offered free screenings in Edmonton – where much of the exodus ended up – so the frightened and stressed families could relax and distract themselves from their plight. WestJet sent extra planes to bring supplies and evacuate the wounded. The corporate reaction to this disaster was a heartwarming example of a community banding together for positive change.

 

70% of people believe companies have an obligation to take actions to improve issues that may not be relevant to everyday business operations.

 

When the Partnership Happens Naturally

Sometimes the best nonprofit-corporate team-ups happen organically; two groups stumble upon their mutual interests and the ways in which they can benefit from a partnership. If you were looking for the perfect time to start a corporate giving strategy, there isn’t much clearer a sign than the perfect non-profit appearing on your doorstep.

A Nebraska-based clothing company called Buckle experienced just such a revelation when they were approached by the Boys Town organization, which offers medical treatment, foster care and home-based family services, and community support to abused, runaway, and at-risk children in Nebraska. That was more than a decade ago, and the apparel company continues to deliver unworn clothing to the non-profit’s Clothesline project, where underprivledged children can go to find new clothes for school.

 

When You’re Most Inspired

Even if the ideal charity hasn’t fallen in your lap, inspiration can still strike – and that’s always a good time to make your move. If you wake up one day and realize that your fifth Strategic Priority – “strive to be more involved within the community” – has been sitting on the wayside for too long, take that as a sign to bring those goals into focus. Sometimes all that’s needed to start making a real difference is a call to the non-profit you’ve been pondering for months.

 

Once you’ve decided to move forward, HeartPress can give you the guidance you need to streamline your corporate social responsibility and clarify your strategic philanthropy planning. Reach out to our experts today, and let us help your business do good.

 

 

Sources: Fast Company, Burger King, BK McLamore Foundation, The Global Fund, RMH Canada, Double the Donation, Canadian Business, Charities.org,