Have a favorite charity or non-profit community cause to which you contribute time and resources? Chances are your company will be interested in supporting it, too.
According to Giving USA 2004 study released by Giving USA Foundation in summer of 2004, American individuals, estates, foundations, and corporations gave an estimated $240.72 billion to charitable causes in 2003. In US, during five years spanning 1998-2002, corporations contributed $55 billion, (5%) of total $1135 billion. Corporations also gave through foundations, which contributed an addition $121 billion (11%) of five year total.
People tend to be aware that there are financial benefits to corporations for donating to charities and that corporations want to be good, forward-acting citizens. What people—and many organizations—don’t realize yet is that there are still other motivators and benefits for corporate giving. The fact is, increasing numbers corporations are extending benefits of their corporate giving activities by leveraging them as team building programs and employee support initiatives that increase even further benefits these activities bring to company itself.
For example, according to Marjorie Polycarpe in a December 2003 article Re-Examining Workplace Giving Programs (http://www.onphilanthropy.com/bestpract/bp2003-12-31.html), she quotes manager of employee giving campaign at American Express, Angela Woods, who discussed how her company involved employees early on in their planning process for corporate giving activities to help guide their choices for charities. Getting employee input helped American Express identify causes and charities that were most important to their employees.
This approach helps organizations communicate to their employees that they respect and support their employees’ donations of personal time and resources. It also helps companies demonstrate that support, by forming foundations, by contributing cash, in-kind gifts, and/or matching programs, and by encouraging other employees to get involved in particular causes and facilitating their involvement.
When companies form foundations, they establish organizations focused on giving to a particular cause or which is authorized to contribute to approved organizations.
Companies can also contribute cash gifts directly to charitable organizations.
When companies donate non-cash resources, these are called in-kind gifts. In-kind gifts can be products that company produces, moved out of its inventory, or they can be can be other items that charity can use, such as furniture, computers, food, etc. When companies contribute services for which they normally charge clients, for example, marketing or legal services, these in-kind gifts are called pro bono donations.
To help support charities that their employees contribute to or to encourage employees to contribute to charities already supported by organization, companies can enable donations to come directly from employee’s payroll check. Frequently when such systems are in place, they are part of a company matching program which has company match, or exceed by some percentage, cash donations made by employee. So, for example, if an employee contributes $50 per pay period to an authorized charity, company would contribute $100 per pay period in a 2:1 program. The company would be contributing in a similar manner for all of other employees in program.