Many businesses support a cause or charity as part of their CSR program. But how is this charity chosen?
In 2017, charitable contributions to U.S. charities from businesses, foundations, and individuals totaled over $390 billion (Source: Giving USA).
Sometimes it’s a charity that holds a special meaning for the business, for example, if a current or former employee or their family member is suffering from an illness.
In some organizations, the decision is made by the owner or management with little consultation with their employees. You may want to let your employees select your chosen charity or even your customers.
Here’s what businesses need to consider when picking a cause to support.
Decide why you’re doing it
If we’re being very honest, most companies will expect to benefit in some way from their charitable efforts. This can be through PR, employee engagement or piggybacking on the brand reputation of the more popular causes. Who could forget the ice-bucket challenge?
Do you want to support a local charity or a larger, global cause such as Habitat for Humanity (https://www.habitat.org/emea), The Prem Rawat Foundation (https://www.tprf.org/prem-rawat/) or Médecins Sans Frontières (https://www.msf.org)
You also need to decide how involved you want to be. Local charities provide opportunities for employees to get involved with initiatives and events. You won’t get these opportunities with larges charities unless you live in a big city, and even then it’s not guaranteed.
If getting closely involved is important to you, stick with a local cause. If you’re happy to run some events within your company and send a big cheque at the end of the year, then you can broaden your scope.
Do your research on your shortlist
You may think there are no bad choices when it comes to deciding on which cause to support. Not exactly. There have been a number of scandals in recent years regarding funds not getting to those in need or workers engaging in illegal/immoral behavior in countries they operate in.
By doing some due diligence, you can ensure you are supporting a well-managed organization. You don’t want to be associated with a huge media scandal.
A quick Google search should give you an overview of the charity and any recent press. Do the same the main social media platforms too by searching for their handles or hashtags.
Look through their website and annual reports to see just how much progress is being made on tackling issues.
Let employees have a voice
By seeking recommendations or votes on which cause to support, you’re giving employees a real say in the social impact of the business.
People want to work for ethical employers, and those with strong CSR policies have been shown to attract and retain the best talent.
Supporting a charity as a business is a great thing to do, and can bring a real sense of camaraderie to a team.
Is your business looking for a charity to support?