The new year has begun and it’s the perfect time to restructure your company’s charitable giving for 2020.
Reflecting upon your 2019 giving will reveal if you’re on the right track with creating philanthropic impact, or if you need to make changes for the new year.
New Year, More Philanthropic Impact
The first step is reviewing all the charitable donations that you made in 2019. How much did you give overall? How many charities did you give to? Did you meet your budgeting goals for 2019, or did you over (or under) spend? Once you take a look at the data from 2019, you can then consider how to make more philanthropic impact in 2020.
Narrow Your Focus
Rely on your giving data from 2019 to see in what areas you can improve. Perhaps you supported a number of different charities with different causes, but would like to create more impact by narrowing your focus. Giving to fewer charities on your list means that you can create a bigger impact in specific cause areas.
For example, let’s say you have an annual philanthropic budget of $10,000 and you want to make a positive impact on local children and youth programs. If you choose just two recipient charities who provide programming for children and youth, you will be able to give them $5,000 each and the full $10,000 will go towards local children.
However, if you choose several cause areas and donate the $10,000 to ten charities across various cause areas, then each charity will receive $1,000 and your money will be spread out across various issues.
While this last strategy is perfectly okay, we encourage companies to be strategic in their giving by aligning the values of their company with the work that the charity is doing. For some businesses, your specific industry may have an obvious charitable ally. An example of this would be a restaurant business and a local charity working to create food sustainability, or soup community kitchens that work to provide access to hot meals.
For others, this may not be the case. What cause might a travel agency or a hotel in the tourism industry partner with? At first, it may not look there there is an obvious match between the business and a charity. However, perhaps the hotel is concerned with reducing its environmental impact. Seeking out a charity with an environmental initiative could be a strategic match.
Make a List
You can break this down even further by starting a list of all the charities that you gave to in 2019. Go through each one individually to determine how much you gave and for what reason. Did the project you funded come to fruition? Were your dollars well spent?
Follow up with each of the charities on your list to see if they managed to accomplish their goals with the help of your funding. Then, create a list of charities in 2020 that you plan to give to. Will you give more or less than you did last year? Will you perhaps eliminate several charities from the giving list because you want to narrow your focus?
Your Giving Budget
Now that you’ve decided which charities to support in 2020, the next step is looking at your giving budget. A common trend in giving is to donate a large lump sum to a charity during the holiday season. According to an article from CBC, “Canadians give about $5 billion to charities in late November and all through December. That’s almost 40 per cent of the approximately $12 billion in donations received over the entire year.”
“Canadians give about $5 billion to charities in late November and all through December. That’s almost 40 per cent of the approximately $12 billion in donations received over the entire year.”
While this is a good start, a better practice is to make regular donations throughout the year. Receiving a steady stream of income ensures that the charity will have access to the resources that they need year-round, and it takes the stress off of meeting their year-end fundraising goals. They can plan and execute their programming more consistently when they have year-round funding to rely on.
Consider Your Employees
The last thing to look for in your 2019 giving is whether or not you involved your employees. Donating to charities that align with your own personal values or the values of your company is a good start, but you also have to remember that your employees have causes that they care about too. The sweet spot when planning what and how to give happens when you establish the shared values of your company and your employees. This way, you can leverage your employees enthusiasm to create more impact in the community.
“For every employee who participates in a volunteer program, more than $2,400 of value is generated by improving employee engagement. This is created by decreasing turnover costs and improving employee performance.”
Leveraging employee giving will not only make a bigger impact in your community, but it’s also good for your bottom line. According to Brian Kropp of the CEB, “For every employee who participates in a volunteer program, more than $2,400 of value is generated by improving employee engagement. This is created by decreasing turnover costs and improving employee performance.”