Beyond canned goods: Crafting your corporate giving strategy

What would you do if a customer paid an invoice with $500 in pennies? What about 100 used pencils or a truckload of pumpkins? For nonprofits in our community, these are real situations that community leaders have had to contend with. I can tell you the stories.

Things like this happen from a place of good intentions but are executed with a lack of thought and strategy that results in a tough situation and undue burden for the nonprofit receiving the unrequested gift.

As we approach the holiday season and many business leaders are planning ways to give back before year-end, now is the time to pause and consider how corporate giving can go beyond an annual collection of canned goods to ongoing partnerships with as many benefits for the giver as the recipient.

Thanks to the critical role the nonprofit sector plays in strengthening our community and economy, strategic business partnership offers corporate leaders the opportunity to align with their customer base, enrich the lives of employees, generate positive publicity and reach target demographics, in addition to helping the local community, just to name a few.

As you evaluate how to be an effective corporate partner for the nonprofit sector, consider the following strategies:

Ultimately, if you want better social outcomes, nonprofits need room to evaluate existing efforts, room to experiment with new approaches, investment in scaling proven services and freedom to undertake new bold efforts to move the bar.

Successful corporate partnerships help nonprofits do just that while paying dividends to the business.