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Living and Giving:

Stories And Causes You Care About

​8 Must-Take Steps Before Launching a Corporate Giving Program

By Leo Ramirez Posted on January 31, 2017

Corporate social responsibility has gone from a buzzword to an expectation.

Companies of all sizes are recognizing job seekers, employees, and consumers are demanding that corporations give back and help their employees give back as well.

Given this environment, it can be tempting to try and get corporate giving programs up and going as soon as possible.


At least not unless you have taken all 8 steps outlined below first.

Step 1: Figure Out the Why

Why are you launching a corporate giving program? You can’t expect employees to give without knowing why.

Effective corporate social responsibility, including corporate giving initiatives, should be part of the company culture. Ask yourself, how does corporate giving align with company mission and core values?

Figure what is important to your company and why. You will need to clearly articulate this to your employees. It’s also a lot easier, for both employees and employers, to get excited about something that is clearly defined.


Step 2: Assess the Technology

Corporate charity is a lot more than just passing an envelope around the office. The right technology can help you manage your corporate giving initiatives easily.

Start by finding out what you have to work with already. What is currently being used to track corporate philanthropy?

Once you know what you are using, it’s time to figure out if it’s going to work for the corporate giving strategy you envision. What capabilities does it have to facilitate charitable giving?

Then it’s time to find out if the technology you currently have is working. Is it effective at encouraging charitable giving? Are employees and administrators using it? After all, it doesn’t matter what technology you have, if no one ever uses it, it’s useless.

Step 3: Assess Other Options

Whether you have good technology that no one uses or terrible technology that no one uses, if it’s useless you should look for other solutions.

We all intuitively know to compare costs when considering two or more products. Cost should be on your radar when assessing your other technology options.

In addition to cost, however, be sure to consider effectiveness. Does it have a good track record of successful use? What does it offer that will encourage employee engagement?


Step 4: Work with HR

Corporate giving technology is HR technology. Any new corporate philanthropy solution will need to integrate seamlessly with your current HR technology.

HR can also help you figure what functionality your employees will need from the new technology. There is no one size fits all corporate giving strategy and the technology you use should reflect that.

Step 5: Assess Your Brand and Image

Whether you are a small local company with regional reach or a large corporation with nationwide recognition, you should know your company’s reputation within your community. The more your company’s image aligns with your chosen corporate giving strategy, the better it will be received by the community.

You may even want to consider doing some external surveys on your brand image. After all, we don’t always see ourselves the way others see us – for good or bad.

Once you know your brand image, you can better understand the lens through which any new corporate social responsibility initiatives will be viewed.

Step 6: Talk to Your Employees

Employee engagement begins with employees feeling heard. With a corporate giving solution like WorkHero, you don’t need to find out which causes your employees are interested in at this stage – because they will have the opportunity to give to the causes they want.

There’s no need to try and find out which one or two charitable organizations will yield the most engagement when employees can select from any of them.

Instead, find out what your employees are hoping to get out of your corporate giving strategy. Ask what they believe the company’s role and responsibility should be in corporate philanthropy.

When employees and employers are on the same page, corporate giving truly becomes part of the company culture.


Step 7: Consider Participating

If your company has a corporate social responsibility program in place, chances are you already have a specific dollar amount set aside for corporate giving.

Rather than giving a lump sum to one or two specific charities, why not let your employees chose which causes should benefit from the company gift?

For example, assume you have set aside $100,000 for charitable giving. You can deposit a percentage of that, such as 30%, into your employees’ giving accounts to donate where they want.

Empowering your employees with the ability to designate corporate giving demonstrates a real commitment to employee-led corporate philanthropy.

Step 8: Plan a Launch


Once you’ve completed steps 1 through 7, you’re ready to start your corporate giving program. Set yourself up for success by communicating information about the launch to the company.

Explain how to use new corporate giving technology - the nitty gritty details like how to and day to day use.

Convey in advance of the launch how corporate giving is a core part of your company culture.

Let employees know they are empowered to give directly, without fees, to causes that matter to them. Explain that they can track volunteer hours, see which causes interest their co-workers, and even the impact their money and time are having in the community.


A successful corporate giving program is one that is integral to the company culture. In order to ensure your corporate social responsibility initiatives are engaged and effective, you need to be prepared.

Take the time to find out the whys – for both company and employees. Assess your current technology as well as available options and work with HR to find the right fit. Assess public perception of your brand and lead by example with company participation.

If you have done all that, you are ready to launch a successful, long-term corporate giving program that will engage employees and delight job seekers.


Benefits, CSR

Author: Leo Ramirez

Leo is the co-founder and CEO of Encast, an organization dedicated to improving the way CSR professions create, manage, and measure CSR programs. Leo is passionate about the role that culture plays in business success. Leo has launched and managed social ventures, lead multi-disciplinary teams, and built solid relationships with civic and corporate leaders. His 25-year career has spanned executive management, business development, consulting, nonprofit management, technical support and engineering positions with Southwest Key Programs, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Coremetrics, Trilogy and Apple.

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