For companies looking for simple, cost-effective ways to give back to the community, it’s hard to beat a donation program. Providing products or gift cards to local community groups is often the first step a company takes in launching a corporate giving program. It’s relatively easy to get started and the benefits for corporate donors are significant:
Donation programs don’t require a large budget to get started. Your giveaways are right on hand; in the form of the products and gift cards you already sell.
You can support lots of groups with small donations, meaning your reach is greater without a big investment.
Donation programs deliver big dividends when it comes to brand reputation and loyalty. Employees and consumers want to be engaged with companies that make a difference. Quick tip: let your employees help you decide where you will make your donations and they will be even more committed.
Icing on the cake – there are some nice financial gains to consider, including tax benefits!
Companies of all shapes and sizes use donations as the core of their giving programs.
Take Cabot Creamery for example. The co-operative works to support organizations that provide the greatest impact on the fabric of their community, both in the communities in which their 1,100 members farms live and work, and where their products are sold. While Cabot’s donation program may be considered a bit modest by some standards, they field thousands of requests each year and are able to provide critical support to community groups, organizations, and individuals in their backyard. To us, that is hardly a modest outcome by any measure.
Check out this piece to learn more about Cabot’s Giving Program.
One of our favorite corporate donation programs comes from Panera Bread. Among Panera’s giving programs is Day-End Dough-Nation, the company’s initiative that gets all unsold bread and baked goods into the hands of local non-profits – a retail value of approximately $100 million annually. That’s an impressive number. Here’s another impressive number: One. That stands for one person. One person manages the process for Day-End Dough-Nation and that includes:
That’s a lot of logistics, but Panera’s streamlined donation process makes it not only possible, but simple - for Panera as well as for the community groups requesting support.
Many organizations find it most impactful to donate to causes that have a direct connection to their mission. For example, Oakley donates products such as athletic bags and sunglasses to non-profits hosting sports-related fundraising events, building not only the Oakley brand but enhancing relationships in the communities where they do business. Here are a few more examples:
Don’t assume that just because you don’t have a consumer business, you don’t have something to donate. Waste Management provides much-needed garbage disposal services to support fundraising events. Get creative!
It’s no problem if you don’t have a big budget to work with. Small programs can still yield significant results and give you an opportunity to promote your company’s corporate giving program and its value to your community. You can always contact Versaic and we’ll walk you through the process and share some best practices for setting up a successful donation management system.
This article from Inside Philanthropy about mini-grants is a great reminder that when it comes to charitable giving, small can be beautiful.
An in-depth look at progress in the areas of corporate philanthropy, volunteerism, employee giving and more.