Fall: The Season of Corporate Giving

Fall: The Season of Corporate Giving

Fall is my favorite time of year. The air gets crisp, kids are back in school and the season of corporate giving kicks off, much of it around 9/11. These days, corporate giving is big business and a great opportunity for companies to reconnect employees who have been off on summer holiday.

It’s intriguing to see how different companies have such unique strategies.

With national charities such as United Way, Habitat for Humanity and EarthShare, there are opportunities for employees to give of their time, treasures and talents on both a local and national scope.

So, what do the companies get out of it?

  • Team building opportunities. At Caterpillar in Northeast Georgia, more than 300 employees recently took part in their “United Way Day of Caring” spread out across communities to help schools, parks and local nonprofits.
  • Networking. Through EarthShare NC’s Corporate Challenge, companies were invited to an “After Party” for celebrating the end of a day spent trail-building and rock crushing. Free food and beer combined with good deeds was a great way to meet people from like-minded organizations.
  • Impact. On another level, BGC Partners recognizes “Charity Day” on 9/11 to commemorate the 658 employees who lost their lives in the WTC attacks. On this day, BGC donates all of its global revenue to the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund and select charities throughout the world. This year, they raised approximately $12 million for charities that they support.
  • Local gratitude. Everyone wants a neighbor that will pitch in. Companies that contribute locally are appreciated and well-regarded in their local communities. For example, donations of supplies and labor for building Habitat for Humanity homes create stronger, more resilient communities. These opportunities give behemoth organizations a chance to put a face on that large corporate name at the local level.

At the same time that these events around the communities are happening, there are already 2016 budget talks going on in conference rooms across the country. Now is a great time to make sure that, if you’re including community-supported relations in your budget, you’re also including these considerations in your planning:

  • Budget accordingly and make sure you get the invoicing and payments in the proper fiscal year. Is this a global partnership or a local effort?
  • Invite others from within your organization to be ambassadors for your cause and to help rally volunteers.
  • Build a communications plan that tells the story. Help connect the dots for employees and customers on why you support this particular organization and why their mission is aligned to your business. Make sure your plan includes social media, capturing imagery and highlighting key milestones. Develop a plan to share these highlights on Intranets, Town Halls, newsletters, etc.

It’s always the right time to help your team, your business unit, your organization or your family make a difference. You’ll be glad you did.

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Ann Camden is Managing Director, Client Service, G&S Business Communications. As a business strategist, Ann believes that strategic planning is the foundation of all communications. Ann plays an integral role in developing strategies to build and enhance corporate reputations and strong brand identities for clients in agribusiness, advanced manufacturing, technology and professional services. She also manages external and internal communication efforts on a broad array of organizational needs ranging from change management and employee outreach to marketing programs. She has led GSU, the G&S internal management training program, and is a member of the Midtown Raleigh Alliance and the International Association of Business Communicators. Ann is a long-term member of the Advisory Board of Communications at Elon University, and an active board member for EarthShare NC. Ann was honored as a Triangle Woman Extraordinaire by Business Leader in 2011 and received the Horizon Award from National Agri-Marketing Association in 2012. Ann has a degree from Purdue University. Ann applies her life philosophy of “go above and beyond” to both her client service and her training for road races.

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