Sometimes it’s an obvious one and sometimes not. However, spending some time planning and thinking about which charity is right for your business is time well spent.
Here is just a handful of questions to consider when choosing:
What’s the size of your business?
Both in people and in money – it’s worth thinking about your own scale when choosing. This can help with two things:
Calculating how much you’re hoping to raise (there’s no short answer to this one)
How much resource will it take to manage this effectively.
What size charity should we support?
Don’t by any stretch underestimate charities just because they’re charities, some of these organisations will have huge turnovers – possibly larger than you own. Charities are under a lot of pressure to run with the efficiency and effectiveness of a slick business but to behave like a friendly social project by nature. It’s a delicate line to balance on. It doesn’t really matter what size charity you go with, there are always going to be pros and cons for either, but it is worth just being aware. I’ve heard of businesses putting caps on the size of charity that can apply, and other businesses are happy to support a larger charity for years and years on end there’s no right answer - but it’s worth thinking about.
How do you want to work with the charity?
The relationship will end up falling under one of two pillars; fundraising and volunteering. As a rule, the former normally at the preference of the charity, and the latter the preference of the business. This is, of course, a drastic over-simplification; I say this only to make a point.
Fundraising helps a charity achieve its objectives. Volunteering at best offers charities the chance to engage employees with the charity, in order to later raise funds to achieve its objectives. We’re working at the moment to combine the two for a mutually beneficial program in order to give staff the benefit of engaging with a charity and each other, and ensuring the charity gets the benefit of having the business with them, quite simply by ensuring it’s paid for. Additional fundraising is, of course, a great add on.
What value can the charity bring to a business?
Irrespective of the size of the charity, they come with huge benefits packages, and I don’t need to highlight them all. However, the potential is there to make great PR stories, engage, motivate and inspire staff, humanise the workplace, build bridges and network, show your commitment to “doing good” and so much more.
Whether you choose your charity through staff vote to engage teams, through a committee or your CEO to look at a more strategic partnership, or you choose a number of charities to support over a year where you can make a difference. But don’t be afraid to ask if what you’re proposing to your charity is actually going to help.