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3 Reasons to Work With a Corporate Philanthropy Consultant

Corporate philanthropy programs are growing in popularity. From sponsoring nonprofit events to developing a matching gifts program, more and more businesses are extending a helping hand to charitable organizations. However, corporate philanthropy isn’t only beneficial to nonprofits. It can help businesses grow their reach, improve their public perception and enrich their employees’ experience as part of a comprehensive corporate social responsibility (CSR) program. 

CSR is a broad heading for initiatives that include corporate giving, employee engagement, sustainability and DEI. There are many ways your business can build a CSR program, and that’s where a CSR, or more specifically, a corporate philanthropy consultant can step in. A corporate philanthropy consultant is a CSR expert that will get to know your business in-depth and help you develop goals and strategy for getting there. 

As you consider whether your company is ready to bring on a corporate philanthropy consultant, explore the many ways a consulting service can improve your overall strategy. A corporate philanthropy consultant will help your corporation: 

  • Define your philanthropy goals and values. 
  • Find gaps in your current approach to philanthropy.
  • Lay out an ideal partnership model. 

A successful corporate philanthropy program can empower your company to make a positive social impact and create a socially conscious reputation. Let’s dive into how a corporate philanthropy consultant can help you make philanthropy a fundamental part of your business. 

Define your philanthropy goals and values. 

With the support of a corporate philanthropy consultant, you can set philanthropy goals that are closely aligned with your company’s purpose. These goals should act as a set of guiding principles to shape your corporate philanthropy programs and the type of impact your business wants to make on the community. 

To set clearly defined goals, your business should consider the following elements:

  • The nonprofit sector(s) you want to support (education, healthcare, etc.) 
  • The type of support you’ll provide
  • How your employees can get involved
  • How extending this support will reflect on your company’s brand

A corporate philanthropy consultant will help you pinpoint your company’s purpose and how you can expand it to support the greater good. As the economy becomes more purpose-driven, It’s not enough to simply frame your company around profits. Instead, your business will need to define its social purpose, values and impact. 

A consultant can guide your company through a values exploration to identify what matters most to you and your community. For example, if you’re a technology company, you may identify one of your values to be education. You can then tie this value into a tangible goal to fund STEM extracurricular opportunities for students. 

Find gaps in your current approach to philanthropy

Even if your business is currently leading a corporate philanthropy program, there likely are ways you can improve it to maximize impact. A consultant can analyze your existing approach and assess how you can create a stronger foundation for your philanthropy program that’s aligned with your other business operations. 

When reflecting on the effectiveness of your program, your business should consider questions such as: 

  • Are you engaging employees with your corporate philanthropy program?
  • Is your corporate philanthropy program creating positive social impact?
  • Do your corporate philanthropy initiatives align with your business goals? 
  • Do you have a mutually beneficial partnership model set up with your nonprofit partner? 

If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” your business can revamp its corporate philanthropy program with the help of a consultant. According to Aly Sterling Philanthropy’s corporate philanthropy guide, a corporate philanthropy consultant can conduct program evaluations and stakeholder assessments to review your current program and recommend ways to optimize your approach. 

There are many ways you can adjust your corporate philanthropy strategies and better meet the needs of the communities around you. A corporate philanthropy consultant can help your business integrate one or more of these programs to support nonprofits: 

  • Volunteer grants. Your company can donate a predetermined amount to a nonprofit for every hour your employees volunteer. This is a win-win for the nonprofit and your company; the nonprofit will earn volunteer support and additional revenue, and your employees will get to make a fulfilling impact through corporate volunteering. Plus, by offering volunteer grant programs, employees will appreciate that you care about the causes that are important to them. 
  • Matching gifts. With matching gifts, your business will match an employee’s donation to a nonprofit. This will incentivize employees to give more to charitable causes to make a bigger impact. According to 360MatchPro, 1 in 3 donors indicate they’d make a larger gift if matching is applied to their donation. As a result, your corporate philanthropy program will be able to make a significant positive impact and increase employee satisfaction. 
  • Sponsorships. Your business can offer to sponsor a nonprofit’s event or special program. This can be done in several ways depending on your nonprofit partner’s needs (and the context of their event), such as by covering the cost of reserving a space or supplying a nonprofit with items to auction off. In exchange, your business will be able to get its name out and grow its number of clients. 

These initiatives can be shaped according to your company’s size, giving capacity and its philanthropy goals. Even if your company has a limited budget, you can still successfully set up a corporate philanthropy program capable of enacting change. A corporate philanthropy consultant can help you identify the forms of support that make the most sense for your business. 

Lay out an ideal partnership model. 

If either the nonprofit or your company becomes unhappy, the partnership will likely not last long. A corporate partnership should be beneficial to both parties and promote both of your goals for the long-term. A corporate philanthropy consultant will help you determine ways that a partnership can amplify the success of your business and its nonprofit partner. 

While there are many clear benefits to a corporate partnership for nonprofits, such as an increase in revenue, the benefits for your company may not be as obvious. A corporate philanthropy consultant can help you create a partnership model that will provide advantages to your business as well. By launching a program, your company should realize benefits such as: 

  • Boost in reputation. A business with a corporate philanthropy program is more likely to be seen as trustworthy and socially responsible. As a result, consumers will want to buy their products, knowing that their funds will be used in some way towards powering charitable causes.
  • Advertising opportunities. At your fundraising events, your nonprofit partner can pass out business cards or branded merchandise advertising your company to increase its brand recognition. The nonprofit can also include your company’s logo and information on their website and monthly email newsletters. 
  • Engaged employees. Employees are more likely to feel motivated and passionate about their place of employment if the company has strong values, including giving back to communities in need. In fact, employees who work in a purpose-driven workplace report 1.7 times higher job satisfaction and 1.4 times more engagement at work. Happier employees therefore mean higher productivity, which benefits the company as a whole. 

Work with a corporate philanthropy consultant to build a partnership that can offer your company these benefits and more. Remember that a well-designed corporate philanthropy program will not only help your company embrace its potential to do good, but will also empower you to fully realize your company’s brand and gain exposure.

Defining your philanthropy goals and setting up an effective corporate philanthropy model can be difficult, but a support system can streamline the process. A corporate philanthropy consultant is just what your company needs to build itself into a socially responsible enterprise. Work with a corporate philanthropy consultant to create a program that engages employees, reinforces your company’s purpose and supports social change. 

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Fundraising
Nonprofit Fundraising
Aly Sterling

Long before Aly Sterling founded her eponymous consulting firm, she was solving the unique yet similar problems encountered by nonprofit organizations. Her decision to start her own business in 2007 was driven by her belief in leadership as the single most important factor in organizational success, and her determination to work with multiple causes at one time to scale societal change. Aly’s expertise includes fundraising, strategic planning, search consultation and board leadership development for the well-positioned nonprofit. She is regularly sought for comment by trade and mainstream media, including the Chronicle of Philanthropy and U.S. News & World Report. She has contributed to publications of BoardSource and The Governance Institute, as well as the Toledo Chamber of Commerce and The Giving Institute.Long before Aly Sterling founded her eponymous consulting firm, she was solving the unique yet similar problems encountered by nonprofit organizations. Her decision to start her own business in 2007 was driven by her belief in leadership as the single most important factor in organizational success, and her determination to work with multiple causes at one time to scale societal change. Aly’s expertise includes fundraising, strategic planning, search consultation and board leadership development for the well-positioned nonprofit. She is regularly sought for comment by trade and mainstream media, including the Chronicle of Philanthropy and U.S. News & World Report. She has contributed to publications of BoardSource and The Governance Institute, as well as the Toledo Chamber of Commerce and The Giving Institute.