This week, we will be starting “the GOOD ask” series where we break down common questions that businesses ask us about their company’s philanthropy. Lori Munoz Malcolm, the founder of HeartPress #BrokersOfGood will be answering this week’s question about “How do we choose which charities to give to?” Check out her answer below!
Q.“We get a lot of donation requests to our company, how do I narrow down which charities to give to?”
This is a great question for any sized company and for any stage of corporate giving. It applies to businesses that are supporting charitable organizations through cash and financial sponsorship, or businesses that are able to provide other means such as volunteer time, pro-bono donations — giving of their services — or giving products through in-kind donations.
Whether you get over 100+ donation requests per month or five, chances are that not every donation request sent to your company is going to be something right for you. So the question is “How do we choose which charities to give to?”
Discover Your ‘WHY’
First, make sure that you are clear on the “why” you are giving. If you understand your why for giving it will help.
To figure out your company’s why, ask these questions:
- Why are we giving?
- What do we feel passionate about?
- What causes align with our company values?
- What PROBLEM do we want to be part of solving?
Set a Budget
Companies should set a budget even if what they are giving is not a financial transaction. Everything has a cost to your company, whether it’s giving your products, services or time — these all have a cost. So figure out how much you can give of those each year, or quarter or month and always allow for some contingency.
Some tips on your budget:
Start smaller. You can always re-evaluate your budget later and increase (or decrease) your charitable giving budget.
Don’t feel that you need to use up your budget each period. If you find the amount of requests that fit with your criteria is less than your budget, save whatever is leftover for the next period and for causes that truly align with your values.
Then, establish some goals. These goals will help guide your giving decisions. These goals should be a reflection of your WHY and BUDGET.
You should think:
“Because of our budget we can give this much per month and these are the top 3 causes that we are going to prioritize this year.”
Do Your Research
The final step is a little bit of research. You want to look into the organizations or groups that are requesting your support. A little due diligence is needed to make sure that these organizations do indeed fit your criteria.
Each donation — whether it’s cash, time, products or services — is part of a partnership. And, just like your friends, choose the partnerships that you want to surround yourself with.