Consistency in Giving Practices Avoids Ill Will

Corporate giving and community support have become more important than ever before in an environment where need is great—and growing. Organizations benefit not only from the goodwill generated through their giving efforts from those they support, but also from the loyalty and goodwill these efforts generate among employees. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG)are major focuses today for companies, for investors, for employees, and for others.

The world is watching.

But, unfortunately, because resources are always limited and organizations—and individuals—can’t support every organization in their community/market, they must be strategic about their goodwill efforts. Decisions need to be made based on considerations of both employee and customer needs and preferences—and the organization’s mission. The point where these two considerations meet is the “sweet spot” for corporate giving.

Giving Guidelines Provide Direction

It’s always important to create, and adhere to guidelines, to be consistent in terms of the contributions and support being made. This is especially important to avoid ill will among the organizations asking for support. If you explain your philosophy and approach, organizations are more likely to understand and respect a “no” decision. If, however, they see you supporting other organizations like theirs, and not following the guidelines you espoused, you will certainly create ill will.

Some Best Practices

Some best practices we have discovered over the years that we recommend to our clients include:
  • Have an application process and solicit applications on an annual basis, making decisions for the subsequent year. This can help to manage the inflow of requests and also help with budgeting considerations. It also provides some insights into community/service area needs which definitely shift from time to time (as should your giving guidelines). Set aside some budget allocation to accommodate unanticipated requests/needs that may arise during the year.
  • Appoint an internal committee to help make these decisions comprised of both leaders and front-line employees. This is both a good way to avoid any one individual being the “bad guy/gal” and also serves to educate employees on just how challenging this process can be.
  • Promote your giving guidelines and decisions widely—both internally and externally. Continue to reinforce how your giving decisions align with your mission and the guidelines you’ve established.
  • Revisit your guidelines at least annually, making and communicating any changes, along with the “why” behind those changes. For example, since 2020 with the emergence of the pandemic it’s likely that many corporate giving policies and practices have needed to shift. Documenting and communicating any shifts is important. Don’t simply shift approaches without communicating what you’re doing, and why, to both internal and external audiences.
Here’s some additional information from a blog post we published a few years ago.
What have you found to be most effective in managing your goodwill giving and community support efforts?

About Us

Strategic Communications, LLC, works with B2B clients to help them achieve their goals through effective content marketing and management with both internal and external audiences. We work with clients to plan, create and publish high-quality, unique content. Whether on- or offline, or both, we’ll help you achieve desired results.

(Strategic Communications is certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise through the Wisconsin Department of Administration.)

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