Sixty-four percent of consumers are “extremely likely” to buy from a company that takes a stand on social issues. That’s part of the reason many companies are developing corporate social responsibility (CSR), strategies and integrating them into their overall business strategy.
In addition to consumer and sales benefits, CSR (also known by the broader term, corporate responsibility, or CR) initiatives can help companies attract top talent, engage employees, and improve their brand equity.
To help you build your CSR strategy, we’ve gathered five corporate philanthropy examples that you can use for inspiration. Each of these examples uses a unique tactic to engage employees and increase impact on the local, national, or international community.
Kraft Heinz’s Rise Against Hunger Partnership
Several years ago, Kraft Heinz began a digital giving campaign called Huddle to Fight Hunger. The campaign donated a meal’s worth of money to food banks every time someone liked their Facebook page, combining philanthropy with social media marketing and brand awareness.
After a successful first campaign the arrangement evolved into a permanent partnership with Rise Against Hunger, an international nonprofit that’s working to end world hunger. Together, Kraft Heinz and Rise Against Hunger have held an annual meal packaging event for the last three years. This year, Kraft Heinz gave $2.5 million to fund food for the meals and the event itself packaged over 20,000 meals.¹
Kraft Heinz’s charitable campaigns combine marketing, charitable donations, and non-cash volunteering activities to make a positive impact on their community. By combining multiple types of corporate giving in your own corporate responsibility strategy, you can increase your ROI while making a bigger impact on your community.
Microsoft’s Volunteer Grant Program
Microsoft regularly makes the lists of top companies engaging in corporate responsibility initiatives and their volunteer grant program is just one of many CSR activities. The program donates $25 per hour of volunteer work to a charity of the volunteering employees’ choice.² Microsoft employees often donate over 3 million hours to volunteer work every year.³
Microsoft’s volunteer grant program is successful for several reasons. First, it encourages employees to actively engage in corporate philanthropy by rewarding them for their volunteer times. Second, it empowers employees to choose the causes they benefit. Microsoft may make bulk donations to a charity chosen by the corporate office, but their volunteer grant program allows employees to select their own charity, which increases buy-in and employee engagement.
Incorporating employee choice into your CSR strategy could have a significant impact on your program’s ROI. Consider implementing programs or philanthropy tools that give employees the freedom to impact the causes they’re most passionate about to increase engagement and results.
Penguin Random House’s Student Loan Reductions
The old adage tells us that “charity starts at home” – and some companies put the saying to practice by helping employees pay off their student loans. Penguin Random House is one company that contributes this way, helping individual employees repay $1,200 in student loans each year.⁴
Helping employees pay off their student loans is a different kind of workplace giving strategy, but can have an incredible impact close to home. Currently, outstanding national college debt adds up to $1.5 trillion,⁵ and many of your employees are likely a part of that. By helping them improve their financial situation, you provide a strong incentive to participate and build a stronger relationship with them that helps increase retention.
ExxonMobil’s Employee Matching Gift Program
Employee matching gift programs are some of the most widely recognized corporate philanthropy tools. With matching gifts, companies match all or a portion of charitable gifts given to nonprofits by employees. ExxonMobil is one example of a company with an active matching gift program. They donate up to $3 for every $1 given by employees, with a cap of $22,500 annually.⁶
Matching gift programs can be incredibly engaging, but not all are effective. Today, almost two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies have matching programs, but median employee participation rates hover at only nine percent.⁷
Much of the problem is due to complex programs and lack of employee awareness. To successfully incorporate a matching program into your CSR strategy, make things simple. Use workplace giving software that makes it easy for employees to choose their charities and request matches, then develop a communication schedule to ensure employees are aware of your program.
Walmart’s Resource Donations
Organizations with physical assets often loan or donate these to charities in lieu of giving money. Walmart, with a large fleet of refrigerated food trucks nationwide, partners with Feeding America to distribute fresh food to people in need.² As part of the arrangement, Walmart donates the use of their refrigerated food trucks as well as logistics experts to help coordinate the charity’s needs with Walmart’s regular operations.
Resource donations can be a great way to increase exposure and increase your impact without making additional cash donations. To incorporate resource donations into your CSR program, consider the business assets at your disposal and where you may have additional capacity that could be used by local charities.
Build Your CSR Strategy on Successful Corporate Philanthropy Examples
There are many ways to contribute that both engage your employees and increase your impact on your community, the nation, and even the world at large. Use these corporate philanthropy examples as a starting place for building out your program, whether you’re starting from scratch or enhancing existing initiatives.
None of these corporate philanthropy examples are mutually exclusive. Corporate responsibility more important than ever – most workers and 76% of millennials take CSR into account when choosing a workplace – so you should combine multiple philanthropic strategies to create the most engaging program possible.
If you’re not sure which tactic is best for your company, consult with your employees and local charitable organizations. They’ll be able to provide feedback on what they care about most and how your organization can make the biggest impact.