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Tips for Charitable Giving

The season of giving is just around the corner! Additionally, your company may be inclined to donate to the recent Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. Have you planned accordingly? If not, the spirit of giving can end up hitting you were it hurts... your bottom line! Below are some tips to considering for charitable giving.

Set an Annual Charitable Giving Budget

When preparing a budget for the year, set aside funds for charitable giving. If you participate in the same charities and fund-raising events annually, then allocate funds to those from the start. Be sure to leave some room for unforeseen giving opportunities such as disaster relief funds, an employee’s hardship, or client requests.

Keep in mind, there is always time that you can give as well. Organize a service day amongst your staff and volunteer with a local charity.

Evaluate Charities

It can often be difficult to sift through the millions of charities, and they are all quite literally knocking on your door with their hands out (not throwing shade… it’s their job). Here are a few ways to sift through them and set your priorities:

  • Personal Impact or Involvement – Are there any causes near and dear to your heart? Having a genuine connection to a cause can make it that much more rewarding.

  • Client Involvement – Are there any causes near and dear to your clients’ hearts? Supporting causes that your clients support not only puts you in good graces, but it lets them know that the money they spend with you isn’t all going directly into your personal Land Rover fund.

  • Most Bang for your Buck – This one is kind of icky, makes-my-skin-crawly, but the fact is small businesses need to use every dollar as wisely as possible. Many charities provide sponsorship packages with great exposure opportunities. Try and find one that makes the most sense to you. Also, research who is on the boards of these organizations. Are there any potential clients or good connections to be made? Your involvement may be a great introduction.

Create Policies

Participating in charitable giving opens the door for everyone to ask (including employees), and it can be awkward or hard to say no sometimes. Look, if you can say yes and want to say yes to everything, awesome! Do it! But if you can’t, develop policies to help with the “No.” Make it clear that you are sticking to your pre-determined budget and allocations. Consider not taking personal employee requests (otherwise you will be on the back of every little league jersey from here to Timbuktu). This may seem harsh, but you can get nickeled and dimed here and there to the tune of a few thousand dollars (or more) if you’re not paying attention.

Promoting Your Involvement

It is ok to promote your involvement with charitable organizations, but make sure you are coming from the right place. I have seen some companies spend more money advertising that they’ve donated money than the actual money donated. That is pretty transparent and, in my opinion, in poor taste. (Rawr… Hiss!!! But for real, gross!) However, telling your story as to why you are involved, showing your team coming together to help others, promoting fund raising campaigns or raising awareness for the causes you support are all great options.

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