How can businesses meaningfully support charities this holiday season?

If there was ever a time to prioritize charitable giving, it’s now. Here’s how companies can maximize donations, boost engagement and spread goodwill.

Why and how to give to charity this year

In addition to the tragically high number of illnesses and deaths, COVID-19 has hammered the global economy, leaving many unemployed, evicted, or otherwise struggling to make ends meet.

In many areas, it falls to nonprofits and charity organizations to help get people the aid they need. If your business is fortunate enough to be doing well during this difficult year, donating some of your time, talent, or treasure is a great way to close out 2020.

Why businesses should contribute to charity

Of course, gifts should be given without the expectation of receiving anything in return. But with corporate giving, it’s typically a win-win situation for both parties. When a business donates to a charity, everyone in the company gets the satisfaction of taking part in a good deed. Some employees may even take their talent elsewhere if a prospective employer doesn’t support or encourage nonprofit contributions.

In one survey, 71% of employees said that it’s “imperative” or “very important” to work for a company where the culture is supportive of giving and volunteering for charity. Plus, it’s worth noting that 84% of American consumers say they’re more likely to support businesses that give to charity, which has the added bonus of boosting brand image and loyalty.

Finally, employers that offer workplace giving programs can make a big impact on their nonprofit(s) of choice. Companies have the power to inpsire their employees and get them involved to make a tangible, positive difference. Approximately $5 billion is raised through workplace giving each year, which shows just how much power corporations and their employees have to create meaningful change in the world.

Important charity giving dates for 2020

There are plenty of great opportunities left in 2020 for corporate giving to charity. Here are two to be aware of:

#BuyBlack Friday. As part of Facebook’s Season of Support, they’re promoting #BuyBlack Friday in an effort to boost Black-owned businesses that have been affected by the pandemic. While they’re encouraging support of Black-owned businesses through the end of the year, there’s a special push to do so on Black Friday itself (November 27).

As a business, you can support this initiative by sharing the campaign hashtags, buying items from the Buy Black Gift Guide, promoting Black businesses on social media, sharing the stories of Black entrepreneurs, and encouraging your employees to do the same. You can also focus on supporting Black-owned businesses in other ways, such as buying employee or client holiday gifts from Black-owned shops and working with Black-owned vendor companies.

GivingTuesday. GivingTuesday always falls on the Tuesday after Black Friday in order to encourage holiday shoppers to give something back. This year, it takes place on December 1. See GivingTuesday’s list of resources to help find a charity for your business to support this year.

Businesses can choose a nonprofit to donate to this GivingTuesday, and should invite their employees to do the same. It’s also common for businesses to offer matching contributions to the chosen charity, so the organization can get even more of the funds they need.

Some businesses might even pledge to donate a percentage of sales of a certain product or during a certain period to the nonprofit they’ve selected. All of these methods accomplish two important goals: Help charities do crucial fundraising, and spread the word so more people might donate too.

Other ways businesses can support nonprofits

In addition to donations and workplace giving programs, there are other ways businesses can help support charities this year, such as:

  • Donate services. If your company provides a service that could help nonprofits or those they serve, you might offer them these services at a discount or pro bono. For example, a printing company could give certified nonprofits 30% off printing for their holiday mailers. A marketing agency could do a bit of free consulting to help a charity improve their social media presence so they can attract new donors.
  • Donate physical goods. If you choose to support a charity in your business’s local area, donating physical goods may also be welcome. Organizations like food banks and homeless shelters are typically always in need of canned goods, warm clothing, and other donated items. Check with your local organizations for lists of things they need. Then, set up a collection box in your office where employees can contribute.
  • Donate time. Many companies now offer employees one day of paid time off per quarter or per year to do volunteer work. This might mean employees find their own charities to volunteer for individually, or it could take the form of a company-wide day of service where everyone goes to help out at the same event or initiative. While in-person volunteering generally isn’t safe or possible now because of COVID-19, this is a good tactic to keep in mind for when the pandemic ends.

Spread holiday cheer by supporting a charity

Nonprofits desperately need help this year. If your business is in a position to contribute in some way, now’s the time to do so. Find an organizations that resonates with your employees, and make a plan to help support them this holiday season.

Billy Shipp leads marketing at Chatfuel, and is broadly responsible for content, community, and customer acquisition. 

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