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Charitable Giving Guide for Small Businesses

After learning about the major benefits of charitable giving for businesses and how corporate social responsibility and philanthropy have changed the business landscape, you may wonder how difficult it would be to start a corporate giving program for your small business

No matter the size of your organization or the resources available to you, the rise of philanthropic technology allows small business owners to seamlessly set up the needed backend infrastructure for impactful charitable giving.

To make a significant positive impact on your community with a giving program, follow the steps below: 

  • Know the landscape of charitable giving
  • Reflect on the causes you want to support
  • Plan out your giving for the year
  • Use technology to streamline
  • Start small: launch your giving campaign

Know the Charitable Giving Landscape

While almost all of the major Fortune 1,000 companies invest upwards of $500k to establish corporate foundations and build teams to manage and execute global employee giving and matching programs, corporate generosity isn’t limited to the biggest companies. 

Small businesses donate 2.5x more than larger businesses on average as they tend to be more rooted in their communities. Corporate foundations usually aren’t an option for smaller businesses due to the substantial capital required, but small businesses can still positively impact their communities with the proper tools and technology. Access to affordable tools is more important than ever as they enable smaller businesses to be philanthropic without giving away profuse amounts of money. The below steps form a tested methodology for how small businesses can be smart and resourceful with their capital while continuing to support their communities.

Reflect On the Causes You Want to Support

Small businesses are a fundamental aspect of their local communities, with many small business owners giving back to the causes they care about. On average, they donate 250% more than larger businesses to local nonprofit organizations and community causes. Establishing a charitable giving program allows them to take it a step further by engaging their employees and customers in what matters most to them and their brand.

To set up a charitable giving program, you first want to define your company’s mission and values. Then, you can build a brand strategy around a strategic cause area. For example, many companies choose one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals to help define the main cause area they want to support. 

Using these strategies, you and your employees can better understand your goals and find charities that best align with your mission.

Plan Out Your Giving For the Year

Now that you know what causes and charities your business wants to donate to, it’s time to plan out your charitable giving for the year. 

Typically, it’s a good idea to split your giving funds into these three main categories: 

  1. Money set aside for disasters: Companies usually ration some budget for unexpected disasters so that they can respond quickly and lead the mobilization of their local communities. Technology helps your organization immediately deliver funds to on-ground disaster relief teams. We’ll explain the additional benefits of philanthropic technology below.
  2. Money set aside for your brand’s favorite causes: When you start a charitable giving program, you must recognize what matters most to your employees to drive engagement. 
  3. Money set aside for an employee program: Matching donation programs have donated $2-3 billion annually. However, the participation rate is low, at 10% on average. With $4-7 billion in matching gift funds left unused every year, companies have pivoted from traditional matching programs. They now prefund giving accounts and offer extended matching capabilities to demonstrate dedication to their employees’ charities and to maximize employee engagement, increasing participation rates to 60% and above.

Allocating a charitable giving budget for all four categories allows businesses to positively impact their employees and communities. Keep in mind that no company has to carve out a big section of their budget for charitable giving; it’s about planning with the budget you do have.

Use Technology to Streamline

Small to mid-sized businesses can establish giving programs without using unsustainable amounts of resources. How? Technology streamlines the process and amplifies charitable impact, reducing the administrative staff’s burden. Smaller companies can now do everything bigger companies do for charitable giving without needing to scale their budgets or workforce. 

Givinga’s Philantech® platform helps businesses of all sizes reduce the necessary resources to set up a charitable giving program. Our accessible tools, expertise, and content reduce the administrative load on smaller businesses, giving the same benefits as larger companies with corporate foundations. This increased accessibility enables your teams to focus on more valuable items, such as: 

  • Your company’s mission 
  • Campaign reports
  • Community Impact
  • Giving strategy

Technology allows you to do philanthropy on your terms. For example, Philantech® provides:

  • A vast and vetted network of charities to donate to
  • Immediate delivery of funds
  • Tax documentation 
  • An easy-to-use reporting dashboard
  • White-labeled branding
  • Custom features for your company’s needs

Start Small: Launch Your Giving Campaign

Once you’ve set up your charitable giving program, it’s time to launch your first philanthropic campaign.

For the best results, you want to set up a public campaign that everyone can be a part of, from employees to their friends and families to strangers. Campaigns that whole communities can participate in have many benefits, such as

  • Removing barriers that hold back giving programs
  • Increasing the charitable impact
  • Building a giving network
  • Fostering a workplace culture of philanthropy

Smaller businesses can use Givinga’s Philantech® resources to learn how to plan charitable strategies and engage communities during campaigns. These strategies don’t have to be complicated, and the campaigns don’t need millions of dollars backing them to be effective. You can also use the technology to track campaign engagement and easily update any initiative.

For instance, Stoa, a fast fix-and-flip real estate transaction platform, launched a campaign using Givinga’s Philantech® platform as part of their effort to provide greater support to the causes they care about. Specifically, they have two employees currently living in Ukraine and felt the urgent need to support aid and relief services for those affected by the war. The campaign directed relief funds to on-the-ground organizations. It was a great starting point for expanding their giving program, and they are now working on integrating employee engagement initiatives into their corporate giving program and platform.

Get Ready for Giving Season Now With Givinga

Giving doesn’t happen just during the holidays—it should be top of mind all year round. The upcoming Giving Season is the perfect time to start preparing your charitable giving strategy and working with Givinga to set up philanthropic infrastructure for the following year. 

Our mission is to make charitable giving more straightforward and accessible for businesses of all sizes. In addition to helping companies of all sizes create Corporate Giving Funds, Givinga can help companies operate pre-existing corporate foundations more efficiently. Businesses use our platform’s tools and capabilities to reduce costs and administrative time while maximizing their impact and enhancing their giving potential through employee and community engagement.

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