4 Ways to Incorporate Philanthropy Within Your Business

We often dismiss the alternate ways to make a positive impact as a business, outside of just finances.

Corporations now have the opportunity to become huge proponents of social change. Startups are making social responsibility the core of their business model and bigger businesses can incorporate this aspect to maximize their impact as well. As the market continues to support these initiatives, how can you make your business more socially responsible?

Choose a Cause

Defining a cause that your company hopes to support on a higher level is the first step in becoming more socially responsible. In the bigger picture, which world problem would you like to help solve? Which world social issue is best supported by your resources? Picking the cause you want to assist helps you determine where/how you will be charitable within the confines of your business model.

Tyson Foods inherits the social goal of ending hunger and their main business lends itself to this mission. Through KNOW Hunger, Tyson’s program donates large quantities to food banks and overall raises awareness around world hunger.

By the end of 2010, Tyson had donated 78 million pounds of protein and just recently they’ve pledged $50 million in cash and in-kind donations over the next five years to help fight hunger in the U.S.

Target New Talent

Startups are capitalizing on hiring trends and identifying the elements that please millennial workers. Young workers want to help initiatives that are making impactful changes amongst their communities. Adding the social focus to your workforce can reward your employees in a different way than compensation or equity will.

New businesses and an increasing amount of corporations are steering away from daunting, menial work for young employees. Instead they’re allowing their role to directly affect social outcomes and contribute to the greater good.

TOMS, one of the first startups to lead with their social change, has created a lifestyle out of their mission that is said to attract engaged, loyal employees.

Measure Your Impact

Addressing your social impact in the same manner that you do other business campaigns is the right way to approach your social responsibility mission. Metrics are used everyday to gauge the impact of different strategies and evaluating social investment should be the same way.

Strategic investments are forecasted by applicable metrics and in order for decision makers to assess the value of social responsibility to a corporation, you must have numbers to support.

In some cases, finding a positive impact through data could mean increasing your support to give your social partners more capacity to grow their efforts. Use data to evaluate how well you’re impacting charitable causes and communities.

Already Philanthropic? Redirect Your Giving

Sometimes your business is already committed to philanthropic giving but they’ve yet to see the value in social investment. Redirect your giving to support organizations that have clear ways to solve social issues and have results to support. Social impact organizations tend to operate with the same intensity as many startups. Investing in these causes can help exponentially grow your charity. Traditional philanthropic giving doesn’t always correlate your investment to a clear vision or tangible results.

In 2013, the Giving USA Foundation reduced philanthropic contributions by almost 50% of what they are today. This move created an annual pool of social finance capital of almost $8 billion in the U.S. alone.

How can you business help address world issues and actually have a hand in changing our communities on a massive scale?