It’s common for companies to outline having a corporate giving program as one of their strategic objectives, but activating the program is another thing. Many of the companies we talk to are interested in developing a program, but have yet to start.
Finding a good time to announce your corporate giving initiative can have a profound effect not only on the charity that you’ve paired up, but also on your business’ bottom line. Studies have shown that 55% of consumers will pay more if they know the company in question is committed to creating a positive social and environmental impact.
55% will pay extra for products and services from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact.
We’re offering some suggestions of perfect excuses to jumpstart your business’ unique and mutually beneficial corporate giving program.
An Alignment with a Current Issue(s)
There’s no shortage of worthy charities 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 to take your corporate giving. If you aren’t resonating with an evergreen charity, consider how your business could make a difference to current social or political movements, and/or environmental or medical crises.
The recent murder of George Floyd in America sparked international protests and calls for justice to end systemic racism and police brutality. Businesses in the United States and beyond have leveraged their platforms to stand in solidarity with BIPOC communities around the world. Google‘s CEO Sundar Pichai wrote in an open letter to his team, “Coming together as a community and showing support is important, but it isn’t enough.” At the beginning of June, Google pledged $12 million to organizations addressing racial inequalities. Walmart also announced that it will contribute $100 million over five years to create a new center for racial equity.
Your Company’s Anniversary
Congratulations! The anniversary or “birthday” of your company is an especially significant milestone. Creating a partnership with a charity 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 campaigns.
In 2015, PepsiCo chose to celebrate their 40th anniversary by reigniting their classic Pepsi Challenge. Rather than just encouraging their consumers to drink more soda, the brand joined with numerous celebrities to champion social change, and donated to Liter of Light each time anyone used their dedicated hashtag on social media.
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 just the product or service itself. Potential customers like to hear about the social good your company is undertaking, so a product launch is the perfect time to introduce a new charity partnership.
It’s no surprise that Apple has a good handle on making the most of their corporate giving. For example, one of their most successful social responsibility strategies came with the the release of the (RED) iPhone. With the sale of every red phone, the company made a donation to GlobalFund – an organization that supports HIV treatment and prevention. Pretty awesome.
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 your new look with news about your company’s corporate giving strategy, you’re ensuring that current and future customers associate your updated appearance with community improvement and social change.
Following the release of the documentary Super Size Me 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). They began funding the Care Mobiles, mobile health centres that bring medical care right to the front doors of at-risk children and families, which allowed the charity to run over Care Mobiles around the world.
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 on the giving.
One holiday giving campaign that stood out to us was Patagonia‘s. The adventure gear company best known for their unconventional sales and marketing strategies introduced a Black Friday initiative in 2016 called 100% 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 that this generous campaign earned Patagonia a large number of loyal return customers, and the $10 million they raised certainly made a social difference.
A Natural Partnership
Sometimes the best charity-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 charity appearing on your doorstep.
A Nebraska-based clothing company called Buckle experienced 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 charity’s Clothesline project, where underprivileged children can go to find new clothes for school.
70% of people believe companies have an obligation to take actions to improve issues that may not be relevant to everyday business operations.
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 charity you’ve been pondering for months.
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.