01 Aug How Purposeful Giving Through Good360 Can Build Up Your Brand and Your Communities
When it comes to philanthropy, does your organization just write a check to its favorite charity every year because it’s the way it’s always been done?
It may be time to take a more strategic approach to your philanthropic initiatives. At Good360, we have long encouraged our partner companies to create purposeful giving programs that match their business goals and core competencies with the actual needs of target nonprofits and a vision for the impact that they hope to make.
The ultimate goal of purposeful giving is to implement meaningful, sustainable improvements in the communities that you want to serve. This requires companies to truly consider where and how they can make the biggest difference. By tying your philanthropy back to your company values and goals, and the long-term needs of target communities, you have a much better chance of creating giving programs that will be supported internally and drive a bigger impact externally.
Purposeful giving also helps to cut waste — both in terms of physical product donations as well as the human cost of ineffective philanthropy.
As companies look to get started in product donations, here are some key questions to consider to make your philanthropic efforts as meaningful as possible.
How can giving best align with your business goals?
Setting and committing to clear goals is a hallmark of strategic philanthropy. What does success look like for you? By having a good understanding of what your company hopes to achieve through product donations and other philanthropic initiatives, you’ll have guardrails to help guide your decision making. Ultimately, you want to align your business strategy with the impact you’re hoping to make.
For example, your corporate goals may be to increase your brand awareness and the size of your customer base. A strategic giving program can help accomplish both of these objectives. Through donations that help improve the local economy and the quality of life for people where it does business, the company is helping to support a healthier community. In turn, this can lead to customer growth as more people are able to patronize the business. The giving program could also serve to burnish the company’s image, helping to increase brand awareness and further attract customers.
But a scattershot or autopilot approach to giving likely won’t produce these kinds of results. A good practice is to apply the same rigorous analysis to your philanthropy as you do to your other business activities. Be intentional about the way you want to achieve the impact that you’re hoping to make.
One study found that corporate philanthropy driven by innovation, sincerity, and genuine engagement outperformed higher-dollar giving by 2.8 times when considering the impact on a company’s financial performance and public perception. In other words, how a company gives is just as important or maybe more important than what it gives.
How can you make the most impact?
You can give to nonprofit organizations that come asking. You can give to causes that you like and agree with. But in purposeful giving, you want to be more strategic. Consider how your core competencies and resources can be best leveraged to make a significant contribution.
Tempur-Sealy is an excellent example of a company that’s matching its core business with its philanthropy. The mattress maker is “dedicated to improving the quality of life for people around the world by providing bedding products.” Through Good360, Tempur-Sealy has given away thousands of new, high-quality mattresses to families in need. Mattresses are a huge expense for people who are struggling to rebuild and regain their financial footing, so the company’s donations make a big impact.
By donating its core product, Tempur-Sealy reinforces its brand promise of better living through better bedding, as well as its commitment to helping communities. The company also reduces waste by ensuring that it’s only donating critically needed products to families who can put them to good use.
Does it support your corporate values?
The business case for product donations is clear. In many cases, donating product can be more economical than either liquidation or disposal.
But when you’re being purposeful about your giving, you can also use product philanthropy to highlight your company’s values.
Grainger provides a robust example of this strategy. In 2016, the equipment company offered 162 “Tools for Tomorrow” scholarships of $2,000 each to students in skilled trade and public safety programs at community colleges across the country. In addition to the scholarship, Grainger gives toolkits to recipients who successfully finish their certificate or associate’s degrees. The company has also partnered with Good360 to donate tools and equipment to nonprofits in need.
Grainger’s corporate values include creating a “culture of service” to benefit local communities. The company’s donations of tools and scholarships fit perfectly into this strategy. So are the 50,000 smoke alarms it has donated (Grainger says these alarms have actually saved 130 lives).
Clearly, Grainger has created a donation program with a lot of purpose and strategic value — for both internal and external stakeholders.
How Good360 can help
As the worldwide leader in product philanthropy, we can collaborate with companies large and small to create purposeful giving programs. Our program specialists can work with you to identify the most needed products in your inventory and make them a part of a strategic giving plan.
One of the biggest benefits of working with Good360 is the ease of making donations through our platform. We manage the entire process so you can maximize your impact and focus on your core business.
Additionally, we give you access to our network of 57,000 prequalified nonprofits. Instead of trying to vet individual causes and programs, you can hand over this responsibility to us, freeing up valuable internal resources.
Our goal is to be the go-to resource for companies seeking to implement a more thoughtful approach to their product philanthropy. After all, it’s been our mission for more than 30 years.