For businesses seeking to more efficiently manage their philanthropy and employee volunteer programs, there’s been a veritable explosion of corporate giving software programs. (Google this term and you’ll see what I mean.) These programs are terrific tools for tracking and managing nearly every aspect of your giving program. But in the end, these are just tools. Their effectiveness rests entirely on whether you have the people, process, and tools (including the aforementioned software) already in place.
Before investing in a giving software program, ask yourself three questions about your giving program. (And if you don’t already have a program established, work on that first before buying software to track something that doesn’t yet exist.)
- Does your company have the PEOPLE in place to manage and administer your giving program? If yes, move to Question Two. If no, then identify who in your company has the knowledge, capacity, and interest to manage the program. Whoever you select, make sure they have the right TOOLS (see Question 3) and support to be effective, clear guidance and/or training as well as the time needed to be successful, the freedom and respect to do their work, and a clear PROCESS in place (see Question 2) to guide both their work and the program’s evolution.
- Does your company have a PROCESS in place for your giving program (and the people managing it) to succeed? If yes, move to Question Three. If no, then carefully develop and implement a process that has clearly defined goals and procedures in place for identifying nonprofits or causes and the most appropriate way to support those nonprofits/causes given your businesses’ goals and financial and staff capacity. The process should also provide for the necessary training and support (including time) of both the employees who manage the program and the employees who donate or volunteer for maximum effectiveness and engagement. And make sure your process includes communication channels and identifies the basics of who does what, when, where, and how.
- Does your company have the right TOOLS to support your giving program? If yes, great. You’re ready to go! If not, take a step back and identify what tools your giving program needs to succeed. These tools run the gamut from software programs, assigned staff to manage and administer the program, office space and transportation (for volunteer events), and marketing support to promote your company’s charitable endeavors. All of the tools in your giving program arsenal should complement each other vs. operating in isolation.
With the people, process, and tools in place, your giving program – and the nonprofits whom you support – will likely be one of your most joyful, happy programs! Happy giving!