Skip to main content

Over the past few years, the business world has been making a much-needed shift toward “Business with a Conscience.” With this shift comes a greater focus on giving back, making a difference, and doing “good” wherever you can. 

As businesses shift their focus to making a difference, you’ll likely have heard the term come up time and time again… and that’s for good reason! 

For all kinds of businesses – from the very small to the very large – engaging in corporate philanthropy presents a meaningful opportunity to give back to the communities and people that support your business regularly. 

However, despite the great impact it can have on all involved parties, many businesses haven’t embraced corporate philanthropy yet. 

Whether your hesitation stems from a misconception about what corporate philanthropy is or simply being unsure of where and how to get started, Hope Factory is here to change that with 3 easy ways to start engaging in corporate philanthropy. 

But, before we explore how you can start, let’s answer one important question: what does corporate philanthropy even look like? 

What Does Corporate Philanthropy Look Like?

At its simplest, corporate philanthropy looks like for-profit businesses supporting non-profit causes; think McDonald’s (for-profit) and Ronald McDonald House (non-profit), or a real estate agent or car brand supporting a charity or cause.

However, like so many aspects of owning a business, there’s no template for what “perfect” corporate philanthropy looks like. Your business’s approach can look completely different from another business’s approach — and that’s the beauty of it. 

Whether your business is mature and looking for a revamp or it’s nascent and just getting started, as long as you’re working to make a difference, you’re already engaging in corporate philanthropy! 

3 Ways To Get Started

With the flexibility of corporate philanthropy in mind, here are 3 easy ways for your business to start (or re-start) giving back and making a difference. 

#1. Get Involved with Your Local BIA, Chamber of Commerce, and/or Tourism Board

Getting to know the members of these organizations is helpful when you’re just getting started because many of them likely have experience in corporate philanthropy themselves and can offer support and advice. What’s more, members often have connections to other organizations and associations that they can connect you with for opportunities or resources. 

Involving yourself in these kinds of organizations also presents a unique opportunity for networking and developing future corporate partnerships. Networking in these groups can help develop relationships between your business and other like-minded organizations that share similar values and goals.

Once you connect with someone that aligns with your business, it opens the possibility of a corporate partnership. Whether that means you join their pre-established program – like joining an existing Hope Factory ecosystem – or you join forces to start together from scratch, these kinds of partnerships are incredible opportunities for corporate philanthropy. 

#2. Connect With An Organization That’s “You” Sized 

Our second suggestion to start engaging with corporate philanthropy is to connect with a non-profit or charity similar in size and values to your business — an organization that’s “you” sized. 

Similar to the connections you can make by being active in your BIA, Chamber of Commerce, and Tourism Board, reaching out to organizations that are similar in size and/or mission to your business can also facilitate meaningful connections and partnerships. 

However, what makes connecting with “you” sized organizations completely distinct from connecting with chamber members is your capacity for impact. 

While large entrepreneurs, group members, and business figures are still great connections to have, you risk getting lost in the vastness of their network. Because the reach of large organizations is so large, the impact you have may be less noticeable than it would be in a small- or medium-sized organization. 

Making a difference is something to be proud of, no matter how big or small. But, if you want to truly see the impact of your business’s engagement in corporate philanthropy, connecting and working with an organization that is more on par with your business is the key. 

#3. Work With Your Employees to Make a Difference 

Our third and final tip to start engaging with corporate philanthropy is to actually turn your focus inwards, reaching out to your employees to guide your endeavors in making a difference. 

While your employees are loyal to you and your business, they’re still individuals, with unique values, hidden passions, and a dedication to causes you might not even know about. 

By working with your employees to decipher what’s important to them, you can empower your whole team to increase their philanthropic involvement while being able to give back to the causes they feel are most important. 

Not only is this kind of employee engagement great for retention and work culture, but it gives you – as a business owner – an opportunity to show up for, listen to, and support the people who matter most to your business. 

Adding corporate philanthropy or adopting a “Business with a Conscience” model doesn’t have to just fall on you alone as the business owner — after all, teamwork makes the dream work! 

While corporate philanthropy can look like different things for different people, the bottom line is the same across the board. 

To engage in corporate philanthropy is to do whatever you can to make a difference. 

So, whether you try our tips for engagement or you find other new avenues to explore, actively working to develop your definition of corporate philanthropy is good for everyone: it’s good for your bottom line, it’s good for your partners, and it’s good for the world.