Create a corporate giving program that aligns with goals and engages the community.
One of the most important things you can do for your business is to establish a corporate giving program. This type of program offers multiple benefits: it can increase your exposure and reputation in the community; it can boost employee morale, making it easier to recruit and retain top talent; it can have tax benefits; and it can provide you an opportunity to partner with your customers, suppliers and community, which is always a good thing.
Engaging your employees
Employees will be key to the success of your program and should be involved in creating it. Here’s a five-step approach:
Structuring the program
You’ll need to decide how to structure your program. Here are some common ways companies donate (select one or all of them):
Determining the budget
Knowing how much to donate, and what’s appropriate for a company your size, may be the most difficult part of creating a corporate giving program. Start by researching what other companies similar in size, revenue and industry are contributing. A great resource for this type of information is from the Giving in Numbers, 2015 Edition. It’s an annual report developed by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) in association with The Conference Board. It can be downloaded for free and incorporates data from 271 companies, including 62 of the largest 100 companies in the Fortune 500.
If you don’t have the funds to contribute your full target amount your first year, develop a three- to five-year plan that will get you there over time. The important thing is to get started, and I hope these steps will help you.
Stories have captured our imaginations from childhood through adulthood. They have taken us on exciting journeys, taught us new lessons and made otherwise dull facts into something memorable.
Storytelling has become a powerful communications tool and an integral part of how businesses are telling their brand story and connecting with their audiences.
Everyone loves a good story
How is your product or service important in the lives of your customers? A good story is authentic, creative, makes an emotional and personal connection, inspires action, and takes an audience on a journey with your brand. Your purpose for story telling is to create a memory.
One of my favorite teachers in high school was a great storyteller. Instead of having us memorize fact and figures about world history, she brought the events to life by sharing exciting stories that we remembered.
In the same way, creating a memorable story about your brand is the best kind of story to share.
Facts not fiction
Whatever your brand story, it needs to be based on facts, not fiction. Not to say that you can’t illustrate your point creatively, but exaggerated fish stories are not allowed. You should never mislead anyone about what’s true and what’s not in your story telling. Your stories need to be rooted in the reality of your brand, products and industry.
Mastering the art of storytelling
Just like any fictional story, your brand stories should have three parts: the situation, the conflict and the resolution. Open strong by establishing your story setting and introducing the characters. In the middle, you should be setting up your main character’s problems and present conflicts that he or she can resolve in the end.
It is important to make sure that your audience doesn’t feel manipulated, but gently led down a road that arrives at the desired destination.
My husband has worked for Allstate for most of his career. When the company introduced the anti-hero “Mayhem” in a 2010 national television campaign, it got our attention. By depicting the uncertainties of everyday life, the advertising reinforced, in a humorous way, why consumers need the protection of Allstate insurance. “Mayhem," played by Dean Winters’ has become one of the most recognized brand characters in the country.
Telling your story
When telling your story, your main character should be a client, employee or brand character with your company serving in a supporting role that offers tools to help the main character create successful resolutions.
For example, if you are trying to increase participation in the company 401(k) plan, the story should focus on how the benefits have led to real-life impacts in the lives of employees. Concentrate on one or two recipients, illustrating their situation, the conflict and the successful resolution.
A powerful way to demonstrate customer loyalty is through the use of testimonials. They need to be more than a few sentences, or they will be forgettable. You’ll need a story that highlights a customer’s personal challenges and then illustrates how the company helped solve them. The positive outcome will stay with your readers longer than any marketing material.
Sharing my thoughts, industry insights, and recent client successes. I would love to hear what you think.