Is COVID-19 changing Corporate and Charity Relationships?

COVID-19 has changed corporate and charity relationships. Find out about the changes that impact you and which ones are here to stay.

It’s great to see corporates creating positive opportunities out of the many crises we have experienced this year. While we are encouraged by corporate responses to the pandemic, the realities of how COVID-19 is changing corporate and charity relationships are still evolving. Our Global Alliance partner, CAF America recently hosted a webinar explaining how corporate and charity relationships have changed and which of these changes are here to stay – here’s what they found;

Corporate employees want a stronger voice around giving

Corporates who usually give to a specific cause area are broadening their areas of interest, with employees taking a more active role in deciding which charities to fund. This has meant less-known organisations are making their way up the corporate priority list as employees are supporting them. The crossover of personal charitable support into the workplace is predicted to become more common, with employees using their influence to support recipients of charitable funding such as grants.

This is a great opportunity for charities, truly emphasising the value of building strong donor relationships at every level. Connecting with existing donors and encouraging their continued support is a powerful way to spread your charity’s message. Check out our website for some easy ways for charities to build their relationship with donors, and then further your connection by using our Volunteering Solutions. Skilled volunteering is an excellent way to access a different kind of volunteering – instead of physical tasks, charities can outsource business activities while also building relationships with them.

Is your corporate or charity actively supporting causes?

The webinar describes the biggest emerging cause area in America to be racial justice, with some US corporations even increasing CSR budgets solely to address these areas. While this emerging cause area is more prominent in America, it still has relevance in Australia. Australian charities can show support by promoting their diversity and equality schemes on their website. Corporates and donors want to ensure the organisation they give resources to are on the same page about these issues.

In the same way, social distancing and lockdowns have increased the need for both mental health services and support for small businesses. Active support of social issues will ensure your organisation, be it a corporate or charity, is really stepping up and addressing donor concerns. Be proactive about ensuring employee well-being, donors want to see you actively supporting widely acknowledged issues. If at all possible, use small businesses for service or goods provision, and be confident it letting your donors know your position.

COVID-19 is changing charity needs and inspiring new ways of corporate giving

COVID-19 has created a need for charities to access funds quickly and efficiently. The webinar describes an emerging trend of grant making to be ‘make a difference now and report later.’ This method of trust-based philanthropy has seen some corporates giving grants faster, however, the panel stressed the importance of charities still collecting and reporting on data. It is important to remember that all businesses are impact focused, and in order to continue receiving grants in the future, non-profits will have to report on how the grant has made a difference.

Although many corporates are struggling at the moment, many are still looking for more opportunities to expand their employee’s opportunities to give. The webinar discussed the new trend in volunteer matching specific jobs and campaigns rather than the hour for hour approach – particularly relevant as in-person volunteering is challenging at the moment.

Overall, while it appears in the US that COVID-19 is changing corporate and charity relationships to innovate and strengthen in response to some challenging current market conditions, there are also indications of increased pressure on Australian employers to acknowledge and support employee beliefs on political, environmental and social causes. With employees holding an increasing share of the giving power, it is important to consider supporting causes that are meaningful to them. Continuing the conversation around giving, and adapting to those circumstances as they evolve, will mean both sides will benefit from an open dialogue and a commitment to continue a solutions-driven working relationship.