Best Practice Corporate Philanthropy

On the 13 September 2018, Good2Give CEO Lisa Grinham moderated an AICC panel discussion on ‘The Future of Corporate Philanthropy’ with a number of experts in the field; including Andrea Comastri from the Payce Foundation, Sarah Davies from Philanthropy Australia, Rob Koczkar from Social Ventures Australia, and Caroline Stewart from the UBS Australia foundation.

Navigating a healthy balance between profit and purpose can be a challenge for business, but there has never been a more exciting time to be involved with corporate philanthropy.

It’s not only an investment in our society, but also in our workplaces, in our future talent, in our pride as employees and in our optimism as individuals.

So how do you go about building a strong, engaging, impact-led, corporate giving program that delivers lasting change, ensuring we leave the world better than we found it? Here’s some of the key insights we gained from this event.

Finding Best Practice

The characteristics of good practice corporate philanthropy involves the genuine integration of the core DNA of business with all its activities.

This includes:

  • Partnership and trust, understanding your power, thinking long-term, transparency and accountability and having fit for purpose tools.
  • Making sure your objectives are clear – how they link to your business is imperative.

And philanthropy isn’t about the money or who has the biggest wallet. It’s about the design, the intent, the purpose, the relationships, the change and the opportunity that is being created.

Profit and purpose should work together as a synergy.

Westpac were named as one of the leaders of best practice philanthropy at this event. Check out our case study with the Westpac Foundation, to see how they manage their giving, and what impact it has.

Where to Start

A successful giving program starts with the right culture. It comes from the top and sifts down throughout the whole organisation. Important first steps are:

  • Start with your employees and lead from the top
  • Get clear on what you want to achieve
  • Identify strategic charity relationships, that meet business objectives and values; collaboration is key
  • Provide employees with charity choice for their personal giving
  • Talk to your peer groups
  • Work out your structure, the budget and time commitment
  • Seek community champions within your organisation
  • Don’t try to do everyone from day one

If you are a small organisation, talk to the local community – often this is where you will have the most impact. Think about what you want to achieve and what resources you have available to make that happen. Small companies can make impact if their employees are engaged as well as their business networks.

Opportunities for Business

Business has a terrific opportunity to be leaders in the philanthropic space; to introduce their employees to the concept and impact of giving and to take them on a purpose-led journey which creates lasting positive change.

Corporate philanthropy drives trust, longevity and engagement in employees, and increases sales and attractiveness of a brand from a consumer perspective. It has assets that no other part of the system has, for the potential of money, content, products, services, relationships, networks and understanding how influence works. Tap into those assets.

Technology has enormous potential to help solve some of our biggest challenges as well as to make giving easy. And cross-sector collaboration is vital to leverage resources, find solutions and deliver greater impact.

Read more on the opportunities giving provides business here.

Employee Engagement

Corporate employees, customers and beneficiaries are the community – they are the same people. Be careful not to segment them too rigidly.

Take time to analyse what drives your employees. It could be fundraising activities or supporting a charity close to their heart. Their donations, no matter how big or small, all matter.

When it comes to corporate volunteering ventures, whilst they work for some charities, they can become almost burdensome for others. Some companies are moving away from established volunteering programs and instead choosing to support individual employees’ volunteering activities, by donating the equivalent wage they would earn to the charity.

If you do ask a charity to accommodate your employees, you should be prepared to pay a fee.

If you are looking at establishing a workplace giving program, take a look at our guide on ‘How to build a vibrant workplace giving program’ for more tips.

Forming Partnerships for Shared Value

Partnerships take hard work, research, relationships, resourcing, intelligence, networks – people give money to people and it takes time. If you’re a charity looking for corporate support, activate all your network champions, be clear about what you are looking for, and do the ground work.

Already have a corporate partner that you would like to invite to join Good2Give’s workplace giving platform. Click here for our ‘How to refer your corporate partners’ guide.

If you want to get your corporate giving program off the ground, or would like to develop best practice, get in touch with Good2Give at or book a demo on the platform here.