4 Giving Strategies You Should Pitch to Your Boss

Photo courtesy of marsmet546 via Flickr

It may seem like every company does something to support nonprofits, but there are still many hold outs. Is your company one of them? Here’s the good news. Companies are more likely to start a giving program when employees ask for one.

Here are four giving programs you should tell your boss about.


Nothing brings more publicity than a competition to improve our world. Companies are thinking big by providing huge cash incentives for our world’s brightest minds to solve our generation’s biggest problems.

Google’s Global Impact Challenge, for instance, offers British nonprofits half a million pounds for coming up with the most innovative solution to big problems. One project provided a digital solution to widespread fraud in infrastructure development in the developing world. Another project connected unemployed youth with short “microwork” projects to bring in much-needed cash flow.

Perhaps the most well-known example of a corporate philanthropy competition is the Chase Community Giving Program. Through the annual contest, individuals can vote for their favorite nonprofit to receive a grant.

But you don’t need to be Google or Chase to inspire change in your community. Think about problems plaguing your community, and provide a cash incentive for eager thinkers to solve them. Google invites the public to vote on the winning project, and you should too.

As many contests are held on Facebook, you should visit CafeGive for more information on how to get started. They can literally have your contest up and running in minutes!

Matching Gifts

A company with charitable employees looks charitable. It’s that simple. Your company doesn’t need to be cutting every check to become well known as a force for good in the community. So when companies decide to match employee donations to nonprofits, it’s good for employers, employees, and nonprofits.

Employees get more satisfaction knowing they could give twice as much to a nonprofit they’re eager to help. Employers get more bang for their buck by not only supporting nonprofits, but also seeing business benefits as well. And, of course, the nonprofit benefits from the financial support.

Cause Marketing

This is my personal favorite. Cause marketing is a partnership between a nonprofit and for-profit for mutual profit. A great example of cause marketing is Product Red. Spear-headed by U2’s Bono, Product Red licenses out its brand to companies like Gap, Armani, and American Express in exchange for a portion of revenue going toward the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa.

Your business may not have access to celebrities or be as large as a company like American Express, but you can still run an effective cause marketing campaign. Try partnering with other local businesses and nonprofits to tackle a specific issue in your community.

More and more, consumers are looking for goods that provide an “experience” in addition to the product. Consumers are eager to buy into good causes.

Volunteer Grants

There’s no better way to support your employees’ ongoing volunteerism than by providing cash grants to nonprofits when employees volunteer on a regular basis. There are a variety of ways companies structure their volunteer grant programs. Some companies provide an hourly monetary donation to nonprofits, while others provide fixed grant amounts when employees volunteer over a certain threshold.

For example, Microsoft provides grants of $17 per volunteer hour ,while ConocoPhillips gives $500 grants once an employee volunteers for 20 hours.

Many companies host a day of service where employees get to leave the office, and work outside cleaning up parks or volunteering for a nonprofit. These programs are not only great team-building exercises, but can plant the seed of volunteerism in your employees.

A day of service might also be a great time to remind your employees that they can earn cash grants for a nonprofit of their choice by volunteering their time throughout the year.