Is variety the spice of corporate philanthropy?

Every company consists of a diverse group of individuals who contribute to an organic company culture. Company leaders work hard to develop a company culture that reflects the values of the organization and its people. Because no two companies are the same, it is important to offer variety in your corporate philanthropy programs.

If you try to fit your programs into a pre-determined box, your employees will view this type of corporate philanthropy as solely ticking off a box. Today, employees demand authenticity in CSR programs. If you purposefully reflect your company’s and your employees’ values, your programs will be unique and impactful.

How can you ensure your CSR programs are authentic and unique? Here are three ways to get started:

1. Map your CSR initiatives to your core business.

Do you publish textbooks? How about promoting education in low-income areas through mentoring or tutoring? Do you provide financial services to wealthy individuals? How about offering a volunteer program that matches your employees with single moms who need assistance in organizing their finances?

When your CSR programs reflect your core business, your employees feel impassioned to contribute, and nonprofits benefit more from your core competencies.

2. Survey your employees to determine their passions surrounding giving and volunteering.

Your employees bring their passions to the workplace. If you allow them to participate in causes that reflect their values, they will feel connected to your organization and appreciate the ability to give back.

3. Engage your consumers in social justice issues.

Now more than ever, corporations are uniquely positioned to raise their voices surrounding the biggest social issues of our time. Take for example, Airbnb who recently launched their #weaccept initiative. In response to the immigration ban, Airbnb offered free housing to refugees and individuals who cannot enter the United States. They received such a positive response to this campaign that they decided to raise the stakes and offer short-term housing to 100,000 needy individuals over the next five years. Furthermore, they agreed to contribute $4 million over a four-year period to the International Rescue Committee.

Airbnb’s commitment to displaced persons not only corresponds with their business but also current social issues that affect their consumers and society at large.

#weaccept AirbnbAfter you develop a CSR program that reflects your employees’ and company’s values, you must determine measurable objectives and goals. With current initiatives such as the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, measurement and goal tracking are more important than ever.

As you create tailored campaigns, ensure your goals and objectives correspond with the purpose of the campaign. Your campaigns and efforts become more meaningful when you are working toward a common goal and tracking your progress.

Program uniformity is a thing of the past. No longer will employees accept bland campaigns that do not align with your company culture or mission. Once we move past seeking program uniformity and focus on delivering programs that are results-driven and meet our employees’ desires, we will achieve the greatest impact for our employees and nonprofit beneficiaries.