There’s no doubt the nationwide recession has made a serious impact on corporate giving. With layoffs, reduced sales, and increasing costs of operation, many small businesses have been forced to reduce or eliminate charitable contributions from their budgets.
The New York Times recently featured several companies who found creative ways to keep giving through hard times while cutting back on actual cash donations. A moving companies used its trucks to collect supplies for the victims of Haiti’s earthquake; an IT company sponsored a golf tournament, helping a local charity and gaining an opportunity to entertain clients at the golf outing.
Serving charities helps others, but it also boosts employee morale and can help businesses create valuable relationships and increase visibility in their communities.
The Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance offers several tips on how to maximize your company’s charitable giving:
- Check out the charitable organization – before giving, verify your target charity is a legitimate organization. Use the Better Business Bureau or Guidestar to review charities’ history, leadership, and strategy.
- Take the tax break – talk with your accountant about taking the tax deduction allowed when donating to a charity with 501(c)(3) IRS status.
- Plan it out – with so many worthy causes and reputable charities needing help, it may be hard to choose how best to use your limited resources. Put some standards in place about what’s important to your company, or solicit feedback from employees about what they would like to support. Having a plan for focused, directed giving helps your budget and means you make more of an impact with your donations.
Supporting our communities has always been part of Blytheco’s culture – for years we have worked with groups like the American Cancer Society and others to raise money and awareness for important causes. We have integrated community support into our recent 1,000 Hours initiative, while also creating a spirit of the “rising tide” that lifts all our business boats.
The goal of 1,000 Hours is to create $1,000,000 worth of measurable results in our clients’ businesses with free consulting work, and to generate $100,000 in donations from our business community to our selected charities from companies who receive free consulting.
How has the recession impacted your company’s giving strategy? Let us know in the comments!