A practical guide, Corporate Giving aims to lay out best practice for business-sector philanthropy. Read its key points here
A practical guide, Corporate Giving aims to lay out best practice for business-sector philanthropy
This booklet provides practical guidance for corporate funders to help them make the most of their giving while also meeting their strategic and business objectives. It should be a useful tool for a range of corporate funders at different stages of development, from funders who are just starting out to those who are updating their approach.
Using this guide, you can develop a coherent funding strategy that has clear aims, a solid framework for delivery and realistic milestones. It can also help you review your corporate giving strategy to make sure you are maximising your impact.
We have identified five steps to effective giving: defining objectives, identifying focus areas, selecting effective charities, developing a package of support, and measuring impact. This guide takes you through this step by step and we encourage you to dip in and out of it depending on your specific needs and interests.
Objectives are central to any funder’s success, and it is particularly important for corporate funders to be able to communicate what they would like to achieve, as charitable funding is often diverting resources from the company or shareholders.
What is more, corporate funders are often trying to achieve several different things through their giving. Objectives need to be compelling to a range of stakeholders—such as their board, employees, clients and shareholders—and aligned with the values and vision of the company.
Identifying focus areas
A clear focus on particular social issues or geographical areas makes it easier for funders to build up specialist knowledge, decide which charities to fund, and take a strategic approach to achieving change.
To identify focus areas, corporate funders should first think about how to align their business and charitable objectives, by finding issues or locations that fit with their corporate identity and strategy. They should then think carefully about where their money is needed, and consider what they have to invest, perhaps donating staff time and skills alongside money.
Selecting effective charities
Taking time to choose good charities means that funding can be used to make the greatest possible difference in people’s lives. We recommend that corporate funders consider the six elements of our charity analysis framework when deciding which organisations to fund:
• Activities: What does the charity do and why?
• Results: What impact does the charity have on the lives of the people it supports?
• Leadership: Does the charity have a clear vision and strong management and governance?
• People and resources: Does the charity use its resources as effectively as possible?
• Finances: Does the charity manage its money well?
• Ambition: Does the charity have realistic, achievable goals?
Developing a package of support
Corporate funders should think carefully about how financial and non-financial resources fit together and what would be the best mix for each charity and its beneficiaries. Funders are often more reactive about allocating non-financial resources such as donations in kind, and we would urge them to take a more strategic approach.
Well-structured funding helps charities to be strong and sustainable. It can give them the ability to recruit the best staff, plan ahead and innovate, and the flexibility to respond to changes. When structuring grants, funders should ask, will restrictions on the grant limit its impact? What size of grant is appropriate for the charity? And is multi-year funding feasible?
By measuring their impact, corporate funders can assess the value of their funding programme to the company and understand what difference their giving is making in people’s lives. They can then learn from experience to make the best use of resources and communicate the impact of their work to stakeholders.