Four people in matching green shirts are outside planting a tree. They crouch around a hole in the ground smiling. The man and woman on the left lower the small evergreen tree into the hole. The young man in the middle leans over the hole with a shovel, moving a bit of dirt out of the hole into a pile. The older man on the right observes them.
Once your charitable initiative is underway, make sure to document it. Get quotes from and photos of participants, and encourage participants to take photos of their own. — Getty Images/Jose Luis Pelaez Inc

Organizing a company-wide charity initiative can bring an entire team together to support a great social cause. However, without a well-thought-out plan, businesses may find that their corporate social responsibility efforts don’t make as big of an impact as they were hoping.

Whether it’s virtual, hybrid, or in-person, the keys to a successful company charity activity are team input, awareness, and collaboration toward a common goal. If you want to organize and execute a company-wide charity initiative, here are seven steps you can follow.

1. Nail down the details.

Start by determining the rough number of employees who will be participating in your charity initiative and how often it will take place. Some companies strive for annual events while others host monthly or quarterly activities.

Consider your company’s budget, accounting for your employees’ time (if you are offering paid volunteer time off) and any additional expenses you may incur, such as hired transportation or vendors for the event.

[Read more: Should Your Business Donate to Charity?]

2. Survey employees to choose your cause and activity.

Your company charity initiative will likely feel disingenuous if employees don’t feel passionate about the cause. Additionally, employees are more likely to participate in a charitable initiative if they feel some personal connection to the charity they’re supporting.

Survey employees to understand their preferences and to inform your decision regarding which charity to support and how. Ask questions about their interest in charitable measures at-large, their preferred charitable activities, and any specific areas of interest or charities they would like to support. Doing so will empower employees and make them feel like part of the process.

3. Research and select a charity.

Once you’ve selected an overall cause to support, you can then select a local, national, or global charity as the recipient of your team’s time and/or financial donations. It’s important to research your chosen charity to ensure the funds you may raise on their behalf are going toward the cause and not primarily overhead expenses. Sites like Charity Navigator and the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance may offer more transparency into a charity’s finances and activities than the organization’s own marketing materials.

You may also wish to look up whether the organization has a legitimate tax-exempt status from the IRS and whether any monetary donation you make might be tax-deductible for your company.

[Read more: How to Choose Charities to Support at Your Business]

Your company charity initiative will likely feel disingenuous if employees don’t feel passionate about the cause.

4. Organize logistics.

Once you choose a cause, sort out logistics regarding transportation, financial needs, sponsorships, donors, and any other specifics (e.g., the best time for the charity or nonprofit to receive you, who will handle work while employees are volunteering, and whether the company will partner or look for sponsors).

If your company is considering partnering up with another company to host the initiative, set up a charity event planning committee during this stage to begin delegating tasks.

5. Consider alternate ways to participate.

Not all employees will be able to commit to the charitable initiative. To account for this, find innovative ways to include all workers, regardless of their location or availability. Involve each employee through a company-wide vote on where all the proceeds will be donated to or a volunteering competition where employees get a day off to donate their time in whatever capacity they choose.

6. Gather pictures and quotes during the initiative.

During the event, take photos and get quotes from employees about what the charity means to them and how they are feeling; if possible, get a quote from a beneficiary of the charity your company is supporting as well. Encourage employees to submit and share photos with their own networks on social media to promote the company’s charitable efforts and further their potential impact.

In doing so, businesses can gain marketing assets to strengthen their brands and involve more people in future initiatives.

[Read more: How to Market Your Charitable Involvement]

7. Analyze your success.

After the initiative, businesses should take stock of how the event went by reviewing results and polling employees. Companies can gain insight into how employees felt about the initiative by asking questions such as:

  • How did you think this initiative ran?
  • What, if anything, would you change about the initiative?
  • Do you have any suggestions to improve this the next time we do it?

Asking employees to reflect can get them excited about future events while also providing insight to initiative planners as to what can be improved.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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