Giving Back? What’s my ROI?

By Rhonda Newman, CFRE

In this day and age corporate responsibility, public image, brand recognition, social impact, and corporate philanthropy are always in your face as a business. But what’s the big deal? Corporations work hard to make a profit and everywhere you look someone wants a piece of your pie. With increased overhead, decreased revenue, and a brutally competitive economic environment, why does it make sense to open the cheque book and give back.

Where many companies fall short is in their understanding of why giving back matters on a corporate level. Think of philanthropy as an investment not just as money that is ‘gone for good’. Philanthropy is an investment in the community, in brand recognition, in relationships with the employees, and in sustainability.

If you ask your neighbor if giving a donation is a good idea, just about everyone will share they have a desire to help someway somehow. We don’t always welcome the door knocking representative inside our homes but I know we have a positive physiological response to giving. It’s the human thing to do, right?

Bingo, GIVING is the HUMAN thing to do.

We are interacting with people and companies everywhere we go. I’m not sure about you but I’m constantly doing subconscious comparisons, calculations, and characterizations.

When I see TIMBITS on the back of my nephew’s soccer jersey in the name bar. Bam, Timbits = Tim Horton’s, and Tim Horton’s supports my family’s soccer so obviously, we share a common interest, therefor Tim Horton’s is a GOOD company in my eyes without even making a conscious thought.

You can see this everywhere, or at least you should. We are looking at two major factors here.



This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to corporate philanthropy. I’m going to back up for a moment and discuss a few terms.

Corporate philanthropy ranges from financial contributions to employees volunteering time on the clock, expertise, and tangible goods. Companies can donate to charities and nonprofits by giving directly from the company’s cash or assets, fundraising through its employees and fundraising from others. Philanthropy costs the company money. There is no way around it, but the return on corporate philanthropy can quite quickly outweigh any cost.

  1. Giving feels good. We all know this inherently. Knowing you’ve impacted someone’s life has an instant emotional return. I’m not going to bother going into how us humans work. I’m not a psychologist and I’ve never stepped foot inside a neuro science lab but I can share from hundreds of experiences. Giving may not always be natural in our society, but it always has a positive response in peoples’ spirits. Not to mention, those gifts, whatever they may be, can have a significant impact on the community your business is based, and in the community your employees live. Let’s set the touchy feely stuff aside now.
  2. As we have already noted our culture is personifying corporations left right and center. Is the company good or bad? Do they care about what I care about? Do they make good products? Do they make a difference? The company’s brand recognition and public image is more important than ever. Without a doubt, increased public brand recognition, and positive imaging will increase business over time but there are other benefits of corporate philanthropy.
  3. How about we try increased employee engagement on for size? Many corporations use their employees to drive the philanthropic actions and just put the company title on it. This has a surprising impact. The employees feel support, as the company and the employee share in a common cause. We are talking about a relationship between a brand and its employees. Weird, but it exists. If the company supports the employee the employee will in turn support the company. There are many ways to engage the employees of a company with the corporate philanthropy plan and all of them will have a return for both parties.

At the end of the day giving matters not just to us as humans but also for the corporations we represent and are interacting with every day.

See you at the Summit4Change and let’s leave our mark and help others win.

About Rhonda Newman : A mom, friend, joy enthusiast, and trusted advisor within the fundraising world. With a life-time of working with people, Rhonda has helped many organizations achieve their impact goals. Matching donors and non-profit organizations has become her greatest passion outside of her family and beloved doodle Kona. Rhonda is always excited to see people, groups, and organizations succeed and surpass their goals and live out their vision.



Summit 4 ChangeNovember 16th, 2017
The big day is here.