Sixty-four percent of consumers are “extremely likely” to buy from a company that takes a stand on social issues. That’s one reason many companies are developing corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies. The CSR strategies are being integrated into their larger business strategy as well.
Besides the consumer and sales benefits, CSR (also known as corporate responsibility, or CR) initiatives can help more broadly. Companies can attract top talent, engage employees, and improve their brand equity.
To help you build your CSR strategy, we’ve gathered five corporate philanthropy examples for inspiration. Each example uses a unique tactic to engage employees and increase impact on the local, national, or international community.
Kraft Heinz’s Rise Against Hunger Partnership
In 2011, Kraft Heinz began the digital giving campaign Huddle to Fight Hunger. The campaign donated a meal’s worth of money to food banks every time someone liked their Facebook page. This effort combined philanthropy with social media marketing and brand awareness.
After a successful first campaign, the arrangement evolved into a permanent partnership. Rise Against Hunger is an international nonprofit that’s working to end world hunger. Together, Kraft Heinz and Rise Against Hunger have held an annual meal packaging event for the last three years. This year, Kraft Heinz gave $2.5 million to fund food for the meals and the event itself packaged over 20,000 meals.¹
Kraft Heinz’s charitable campaigns combined marketing, charitable donations, and non-cash volunteering activities. They successfully combined several types of corporate giving. By replicating this CR strategy, you can increase your ROI and make a bigger impact on your community.
Microsoft’s Volunteer Grant Program
Microsoft regularly makes the lists of top companies engaging in corporate responsibility initiatives. Their volunteer grant program is one of many CSR activities. The program donates $25 per hour of volunteer work to a charity of the volunteering employees’ choice.² Microsoft employees often donate over 3 million hours to volunteer work each year.³
Microsoft’s volunteer grant program is successful for several reasons. First, it encourages employees to actively engage in corporate philanthropy with rewards. Second, it empowers employees to choose the causes they benefit. Microsoft could make bulk donations to a charity chosen by the corporate office. By allowing employees to select their own charity, they increase buy-in engagement levels.
Incorporating employee choice into your CSR strategy could have a significant impact on your program’s ROI. Consider implementing programs or philanthropy tools that empower employees. This allows them to impact the causes they’re most passionate about.
Penguin Random House’s Student Loan Reductions
The old adage tells us that “charity starts at home”. Some companies put this into practice by helping employees pay off student loans. Penguin Random House is one company that contributes this way. They help individual employees repay $1,200 in student loans each year.⁴
Helping employees pay off their student loans is a different kind of workplace giving strategy. One that can have an incredible impact close to home. Currently, outstanding national college debt adds up to $1.5 trillion,⁵ and likely impacts your workforce. By improving their financial situation, you provide a strong incentive to take part. The byproduct is a stronger relationship with employees that helps increase retention.
ExxonMobil’s Employee Matching Gift Program
Employee matching gift programs are some of the most recognized corporate philanthropy tools. With matching gifts, companies match some percentage of donations to nonprofits by employees. ExxonMobil is one example of a company with an active matching gift program. They donate up to $3 for every $1 given by employees, with a cap of $22,500 each year.⁶
Matching gift programs can be incredibly engaging, but not all are effective. Today, almost two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies have matching programs. The median employee participation rates hover at only nine percent.⁷
Much of the problem is due to complex programs and lack of employee awareness. To incorporate a matching program into your CSR strategy, make things simple. Use workplace giving software that makes it easy for employees to choose their charities and request matches. Then develop a communication schedule to ensure employees are aware of your program.
Walmart’s Resource Donations
Organizations with physical assets often loan or donate these to charities instead of giving money. Walmart provides access to its large fleet of refrigerated food trucks nationwide. Through this Feeding America can distribute fresh food to people in need.² Walmart donates the use of their trucks and logistics expertise to help coordinate the charity’s needs.
Resource donations are a great way to increase exposure and impact without making cash donations. To incorporate resource donations, consider the business assets at your disposal and where you may have extra capacity that local charities could use.
Build Your CSR Strategy on Successful Corporate Philanthropy Examples
There are many ways to contribute that engage your employees and increase impact on your community. These corporate philanthropy examples are a starting place for building out your program. These can be used whether you’re starting from scratch or enhancing existing initiatives.
None of these corporate philanthropy examples are mutually exclusive. Corporate responsibility more important than ever. Most workers and 76% of millennials take CSR into account when choosing a workplace. Combining several philanthropic strategies can create the most engaging program possible.
If you’re not sure where to begin, consult your employees and local charities. They’ll be able to provide feedback on what they care about most and how your organization can have a big impact.