How To Get The Most Out Of Your Corporate Giving

Have you seen the end of a toothpaste tube from someone who lived during the great depression? It’s flatter than a piece of paper. They have used every last ounce of toothpaste out of the tube. That’s a great picture of how to get the most out of your corporate giving.

When it comes to maximizing partnerships, whether they’re other peer company partnerships or community organizations or nonprofits, we leave so much on the table. Once you figure out how to be strategic, there are multiple depths of executing a strategy that help you maximize your corporate giving.

For example, let’s say you partner with a local grocery store to pick up their left over produce once a week. The partnership is a benefit to both parties. How could it be strategized better? Maybe the grocery store could share that they allow XYZ organization to pick up end of day donations on Thursdays and share some of the impact of that food donation. Is it in a newsletter or weekly shopper? What about putting it on a poster so that everyone who comes in the store starts off their shopping experience thinking of your generosity in the community?

But there are also there are six other days to the week which means six other organizations could benefit from the same type of end of day donation. By getting the news out on what you are donating, other organizations could be informed and benefit from your giving as well. As a bonus, you wouldn’t have to throw away any food at the end of the day in your store and you help the local community. And the local community helps you. Great partnership!

There are always multiple layers to strategizing

There are always multiple layers to strategizing, and continuing a partnership gives you opportunity to rework ideas, make it more efficient, and take another stab at the PR and marketing aspects of it. THAT is what is usually not maximized.

Let me repeat that again because it’s worth making a distinction. It’s not that the partnership or generosity isn’t maximized, it’s the efficiency of the transaction, the PR, social media, marketing and social impact conversations that aren’t maximized around giving. There is a lot left on the table here.

You’ve done the hardest part of creating the partnerships and coordinating a donation – now tell the story of what’s going on!

We talk more about this on another blog article titled How To Talk About Your Corporate Charitable Giving – Check it out!

What keeps people from being able to talk about what’s going on?

Quite simply, most companies don’t collect enough information to be able to talk about their giving as a whole at the end of the year. That’s one of the things Givily’s software solves. People have random information on spreadsheets and it tells them nothing. It’s not a story and it’s hardly aggregated data from what I’ve seen.

Each request that comes in is a story.

Every partnership you create is a story.

And every partnership you create is a story.

You need to collect enough data up front with organizations to be able to tell a story at the end in light of your brand. Ask enough questions.

One of the solutions to not collecting enough information to be able to talk about your giving in a way that will resonate with your customers is to collect more data at the front end. Ask heaps of questions of those requesting something from your brand. Ask who they are, what they want, why they want it, why they chose your brand, what they’ll do if they are selected to receive a donation, etc.

Check out the way Clif Bar talks about their giving and how many questions they ask up front!

Our customers use a thorough application form to gather information when someone is asking for a donation which allows them to see right away if it’s an organization that aligns with their brand, and if it would be a beneficial partner. Once all these stories are compiled it’s a great mosaic of PR stories.

For Givily users, these applications are channeled to a dashboard to easily see and decide whether it’s something their company should/should not support.

It’s not good enough to collect data, the data has to be looked at!
Here are a handful of reasons data isn’t looked at in a company:
  1. It’s not collected
  2. It’s not aggregated
  3. The person managing the requests is a mid-level associate and is more focused on completing the work than analyzing the data for higher purposes.
  4. Marketing hasn’t realized/considered that heaps of customer data are being collected.
  5. 5. Marketing/Leadership doesn’t know how this data could benefit their brand.

I’ve yet to talk to a company who was collecting all the information they should have been from the beginning. Because the data wasn’t acquired, companies have nothing to aggregate and analyze.

So please, collect enough data, aggregate it, look at and analyze it. If that’s not your specialty, give it to someone in marketing who geeks out and tell them you have a lot of it that they may find interesting.

Analyze the data.

What do I mean by analyze the data? I want you to find the story that’s being told by the numbers.

Your giving tells a story of your priorities, brand focus and mission. It’s the perfect outworking of what you’re all about, or should be. They are organic stories to show how your brand lives outside a store or manufacturing facility.

If you leave the numbers alone and don’t aggregate them you can’t see the story. If you put the numbers together by category you’ll start to see some interesting facts. Pair interesting facts together and you start to develop a story.

In the most mature and progressive organizations, marketing plans are intertwined with donation questions, data and decisions. They aren’t separate from each other. They coincide. It’s one of the most important parts of maximizing corporate giving.

Based on what marketing is trying to do, community relations might add questions to their corporate giving form to gather data that would help marketing. With all the information that comes via a charitable request, it is aggregated so marketing can see if there’s a market segment developing, or an area they can pursue for more market share.

Make the approval process efficient and effective.

The transaction between company and organization has so many possible places to maximize. Making it more efficient to intake a request and look at it saves tons of time.

(60% time savings on average with Givily’s system.)

Aggregating and analyzing the data has its own magic of maximizing. Another place I find tremendous inefficiency is in the approval process. Get ready for an ugly statistic.

It takes 4-7 emails minimum to iron out the request details for an approved donation. 4-7! We’re talking 30+ minutes when you say yes. For those of you who have managed this process you know how time consuming it can be. It’s not that the work is difficult or unenjoyable, it’s just that it takes a lot of time, and typically it’s not the only thing on your plate.

Givily’s system uses templated approval emails with the ability to customize in order to significantly scale back the time in responding to requests.

A company doesn’t need a formal system to give a common response.

Especially when you’re sending a message of denial, you don’t need a formal system to get your common response narrowed down and saved somewhere on your computer. Copy and paste this into each email when denying and you’ll immediately experience a decrease in time spent. Please. Save HOURS by not writing each response individually.

Back to the approval emails. If you’re not using a formal donation request management system, approval emails will still take a good bit of time. Still, there are ways to have a simple format/template saved that you use every time you are approving a request so that you’re not rewriting an email several times a week.

If I were to summarize maximizing your corporate giving through this transaction it would be:
  1. Ask enough questions at the beginning Collect & aggregate the data
  2. Look at the data
  3. Find the story in your data
  4. Marry your marketing plans to your donation program

Download this image and share it with your coworkers! >>>

It’s time for a personal brainstorm on how to streamline this process. Get out a piece of paper. Draw out your current workflow of managing donation requests. (I’ll guide you below.)
  • What points of entry do you have for your donation requests? Where do they go at their initial entry point?
  • Who reviews them?
  • How do they review them?
  • Who approves them?
  • Who responds to the requestor?
  • How does your company fulfill requests?
  • How are you tracking these details?
  • Where are you reviewing your data?
  • How are you making plans to intertwine your marketing and donation program?

You should end up with a lot of lines moving from left to right, maybe some boxes. Take a look at that thing! Hopefully, it provides a bit of clarity seeing your process drawn out. It should also reveal some areas of inefficiency.

Circle the area that needs the most improvement. (Some of you are contemplating how to circle the entire page!)

Spend the next few minutes drafting a list of changes to be made to this area. Once you have your list of changes, get busy about making improvements.

Allot time on your calendar to complete these improvements. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a list drafted with inspiration and full intention to tackle, but it never happened because the tasks never received proper calendar time. Commit to making the changes in a calendar.

If you’re looking at your current workflow and wondering what Givily might offer to you and your company, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We would love to help your maximize your corporate giving by streamlining the process! Send us an email at info@givily.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

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How To Talk About Your Corporate Giving with Tact

How To Talk About Your Corporate Giving Without Sounding Braggadocios 

By Amy Kauffman

I have engaged in countless conversations with companies wondering if they should/should not share their charitable giving impact stories. What follows is typically the reason for their hesitation. The biggest reason I’ve heard for not sharing these amazing stories is for fear of sounding braggadocios. This is a healthy fear. Words are powerful and they can bring people closer to our brand or drive them away. In this article i’m going to attempt to convince you why it is so important to share your stories and how to talk about corporate giving.

I’m going to assume we all want to draw people closer to our brand.

3 Reasons You Should Talk About Your Corporate Charitable
Giving Stories and “Accomplishments”

  1. People love great stories.

    We are inundated with heavy news daily from the media and are desperately hoping that there’s something lovely still going on in the world. When we read a beautiful and touching story in the midst of our day it rejuvenates the hope we have inside. If we have the stories that will make people’s lives more enjoyable, shouldn’t we share them?

  2. Being humble and quiet might cost you.

    Especially with the millennials entering the market by storm. Millennials are so focused on engaging with brands doing good in the world that if you’re not talking about the good your brand is doing in the world, millennials will buy from your competitor who IS talking about the meaningful work they’re doing.

  3. Goodwill stories reveal the true nature of your brand.

    When we share stories about our engagement with community organizations or individuals it helps the market see that we’re not just a machine producing products and services, but rather that we are a living breathing brand held together by people with souls and brains just like them. It allows people to connect with our brand in a very personal way.

After considering these three points, you’re probably more convinced than ever about sharing amazing stories around the charitable giving work you’re doing in the world, but how? How can you talk about corporate giving without sounding like you’re bragging?

Millennials are so focused on engaging with brands doing good in the world that if you’re not talking about the good your brand is doing in the world, millennials will buy from your competitor who IS talking about the meaningful work they’re doing.

Amy Kauffman
6 Ways to Share Your Brand’s Accomplishments Without Bragging

Here are 6 ways you can talk about your most interesting corporate giving stories without sounding like you’re bragging:

1. Express Gratitude

Share a story of your charitable giving efforts and their impact and couch it in gratefulness. It is as simple as that. Start with appreciation, share the story of your work and what was accomplished and end with another statement of appreciation.

Here’s how that looks:
  • We had the privilege of sponsoring __________ last week.
  • We were grateful to partner with such a great community organization and provide manpower to their already potent team. Share appreciation for being part of the work, working with great people, having willing volunteers from the company with great attitudes show up to do hard work etc. This automatically seems like you’re sharing a story on behalf of more than just your brand. You’re telling the story as an appreciative partner in the work you were invited to join.
2. Express A Sense Of Wonder

In the case of sharing of sharing a huge accomplishment by your charitable giving efforts, pretend you are hearing the story yourself for the first time. What would you say in response? “Wow!” “I can’t believe so much was accomplished!” Here’s how that looks:

  • We were able to donate $$___, which was twice our initial goal. Our team was so responsive to the needs. We are still in shock ourselves!
  • We had no idea the outcome would be this amazing! Only use a sense of wonder if it’s genuine, but it can be a strong statement of humility and relatability.
3. Use Humor

Humor is a great way to share an amazing story without being perceived as braggadocios. People love humor! Here’s how that looks:

  • We supplied XYZ Non-profit with 10 workers for two days to accomplish the painting of the entire [nonprofit] facility. If we were smart we would have sent 20 employees over and tackled it in one day, but we didn’t catch on quick enough!
  • We were excited to support the [nonprofit] 5k race over the weekend! We’d like to say that our staff are shining running studs. Not so much. Good thing our money supported the work instead!!
4. Keep It Brief

Keep a running list of happy charitable impact stories that are bite-sized. Little sound bites and social media posts that you can use at random without coming off as overly polished with a huge strategic agenda. It’s relatable. That’s how people post about their own life… Little sound bites about goings on. Mirror that concept with your brand’s goodwill stories. Here’s how that looks:

 

  • 6 of our employees volunteered Friday with our favorite local animal shelter, [Shelter name]! We may or may not have a few new pet owners too. 😉
  • At a team meeting the other day, we decided to support the most recent hurricane victims with XYZ. Our deepest care goes out to you!
5. Allow It To Be Personal

It’s great to tell stories from your corporate brand, but sneak in personally written employee stories now and then. Let an employee carry your brand through a story. People want to know the people who work for your brand and this is a great way for that to happen. Your employees can share first person accounts of their volunteer experiences with so much more passion! Here’s how that looks:

● Hi, this is Jane, from [Brand]. I hijacked our social media today because I had an amazing experience last week I want to share…..Jane shares story of how your brand’s giving impacted her – whether it was volunteering at an event, being an event sponsor, dropping off a donation on site to a nonprofit etc.

Brands are ultimately made of people. Let them shine through the corporate face.

6. Get A Talking Partner

Some of the best PR can come from a complimentary peer brand who spotted you doing great work in the community. You can do the same for them. Instead of bragging about your own charitable giving work, you boast about another brand’s work. And they brag about yours. Third party bragging is totally acceptable and relatable.

Here’s how that looks:

● Make an arrangement with another brand sponsoring the same event that you’re going to talk up the other brand on social media…and then you can post it on your social media with a note that says, “we’re blushing at what [partner brand] says about us!”

 

I hope the reasons, tactics and examples given were enough to inspire you to create your own versions of ways to talk about your charitable giving.

We need your stories in the world and we want to love your brand even more. Please tell us why we should through the stories of your amazing charitable giving work!

Cheers!

Amy Kauffman

 

 

 

 

 

 

Givily is great at is making your charitable work more simple…streamlined, trackable, and reportable!

If a better charitable giving management system piques your interest, or you’re interested in having a consultation on determining your best impact and measurement, email us at info@givily.com.

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4 Tips for Your Company’s Charitable Giving During COVID-19

 

 

I don’t have to tell you that COVID-19 has drastically interrupted our way of life. People all around the world are being affected physically, financially, mentally, and emotionally but it isn’t just an individual problem. It is also putting a strain on our businesses, homes, and communities. Everyone is in this together but not everyone is going through the same storm. As a business owner, you may be feeling the need to step back from your typical giving programs. But as a significant part of your community, your continued giving could benefit everyone.. There are many creative ways to give back and not all of them include physical money out of your pocket. Here are four tips for your company as you give back to your community during this historic time. 

1. Donate to nonprofits helping to respond to COVID-19

Uncertain times are creating more needs for everyone but even more so, for vulnerable populations that nonprofits serve. There are new needs that are arising each day and nonprofits are now under even more financial strain. The increase in needs across the community requires more resources that nonprofits don’t have. Additionally, the donors and volunteers that regularly support these organizations are also facing hard times and fear for their safety. Many nonprofits are also having to cancel or postpone most of their usual programs and fundraising events out of concern for public safety. All of these factors leave nonprofits, who have limited financial reserves, to begin with, in a difficult spot.

So how can you help? If you are in a financial position to do so, you should consider making a donation to a nonprofit organization that is helping make a difference during this crisis. These organizations are serving the most vulnerable populations and will be most affected by the virus’ spread and the associated economic impact.  All nonprofits will need your help during this time so if you’re able, choose one or a couple that support causes you are passionate about. Your support can be in the form of financial giving or volunteering your time or even expertise.

2. Volunteer your time or expertise.

Some individuals are at higher risk due to age or medical conditions and will need to restrict their usual commitments in the coming weeks and months. This could leave nonprofits shorthanded in delivering critical services. As potential volunteers decrease, needs will increase, as we mentioned above,-for example, demand will likely increase for food pantries and other services, also increasing the need for volunteer time to deliver.

So now is a great opportunity for you to reach out to local charities and ask how you can best support them with your time, keeping safety in mind for you, your family, and your employees of course. Just as you’re working toward creating the safest environment for your employees, nonprofits are making adjustments to keep volunteers and those they serve safe. But perhaps you feel safer helping  from home. Search online for volunteer opportunities that are just as needed to keep a charity going, such as assisting with grant writing, serving as a crisis counselor on a hotline service, or assisting with marketing services.  Volunteering could fill an important gap for a nonprofit and help keep them in business and impact the community for years to come.

3. Communication is key

Ideally, we hope that your business is in a position to give back but if you are needing to pause your programs remember communication is key. We suggest that you don’t remove the link to your giving request form or ignore requests coming in. Instead, make the appropriate temporary adjustments to your form and/or email templates to help communicate better with requestors. That way, not only are you showing you still care but you are also still capturing data about the organizations that are looking for your support so that you can connect with them down the road. Below are just a few suggestions as you’re tweaking your communications.  

  1. Update the event calendar for 90 days out. With a majority of events in the next few months being canceled or postponed, you don’t want to be receiving requests for the next couple of months. Instead, set a new lead time so that requestors can only ask for donations on events that are at least a certain number of days out.
  2. Be transparent about the effects of COVID-19 on your company. Let requestors know with a short statement above your request form how your company has been affected and more importantly how it might affect their donation request. For example, you might be limiting your donations or pausing them all together for a certain amount of time. 
  3. Send a bulk denial & create an email template. This will help you be transparent but also efficient. Be sincere and genuine in the approach and let requestors know the current company’s status and why the request may be denied.

4. Use your company voice to advocate, inform, and encourage.

Now more than ever, people are anxious and fearful of what’s next. Like you, many want to help but are unsure of what they can do as individuals to help. Overcoming our current circumstances requires a team effort and is too big for any one individual or group to tackle.

Your business has built up the trust of your community and has an opportunity to be an encouragement for others. Share stories on social media and through email about how you are coping during this time. Be a voice for how people can help each other in this time of social distancing while staying safe. Be intentional to learn about how people are being affected and what needs they have; share that information. Tell people what you are doing to make a difference and remind people to keep supporting charities they care about. Encourage others to join or give back financially if you decide to get involved in volunteer opportunities. Seeing your example will help those in your network to realize that they can take action too. Social distancing shouldn’t stop us, as a community, from helping others and speaking up for those in need. Utilize your network to inspire others into action.

 


 

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National Volunteer Month: Have You Thanked A Volunteer Lately

April is officially national volunteer month.  Volunteers are vital to every non-profit and they come in all shapes and sizes.   According to the Corporation for National Community Service, 25.3 percent of Americans volunteer and the average volunteer in America contributes 32.1 hours of service each year. Non-profits rely heavily on the service of volunteers which is why they need to be recognized for their contributions. [..]

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