Before I switched to corporate philanthropy, I spent seven years in the nonprofit world and became very familiar with the slogan, “Time, Talent or Treasure.” If you’re not familiar with it, charities use it to describe how companies can get involved with their organization – by allowing employees to volunteer (time), by involving senior leadership on a board of directors (talent) or by giving away their money (treasure). And while it’s a fairly popular saying in the nonprofit arena, I often find myself using it to describe a holistic approach in corporate giving.
For a corporate giving program to be successful, everyone needs to feel invested in the cause – from the janitor to the CEO. Devise a corporate volunteer program where employees are encouraged to volunteer for the designated charities the company has selected to fund. This allows employees to experience all of the good work the charities does. Some employers give Volunteer Paid Time Off (VPTO), while others may do a weekend volunteer project. Either way, employees are a company’s biggest advocates so get them involved in your corporate giving efforts.
A nonprofit can gain a lot by having employees volunteer for them (time), but for them to continue do the amazing work that they do, cash is still king (treasure). If you’re going to have a corporate philanthropy program, then companies need to put their money where their mouth is. Investing in a charity that aligns with your business goals and objectives is a win/win for everyone involved. Consider corporate philanthropy like any other line of business and invest in it. If the money is allocated in the right areas your company will receive great social and business returns.
The best way to get your dollar to go even farther is to get your senior leadership on the board of directors of the charity you are funding. An executive from your company not only brings knowledge and expertise to a nonprofit but also can be an integral part in the nonprofit’s overall strategy which can also help your business. If a company is aligning itself with a charity that meets their business goals and objectives then it will want to have their top talent involved as well.
While nonprofits are seeing that companies are giving to fewer charities and being more strategic about their dollars, in doing so companies are having a bigger impact on the charity and the cause they fund. By allocating their resources (time, talent and treasure) to specific charitable organizations, companies can help take a nonprofit to the next level while also benefitting their bottom line.
When is comes to a charity, do you give your time, talent or treasure?