Participating in corporate philanthropy has long been an effective strategy for many businesses and executives. Not only does charitable giving benefit the people and organizations on the receiving end, but it also substantially benefits the firm that donates its time, money, or other resources such as volunteer labor or in-kind contributions.

Recently, several technology companies and organizations have made a name for the industry by taking the initiative to generously give to causes they believe in. Is your company joining this trend and enjoying the mutually beneficial results associated with charitable giving?

Leading the way in corporate charitable giving

The best way to understand the benefits of corporate charitable giving is to study some of the companies and organizations that are leaders in giving. While Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer of the Harvard Business Review claim that "corporate philanthropy is in decline," The Chronicle of Philanthropy argues that plenty of organizations are still giving considerable amounts of time, money, and resources.

While it did not exactly increase proportionally to the surge in profits reported by U.S. corporations last year, total corporate giving did increase by 17.2 percent to a collective $18.7 billion. Of that amount, Walmart contributed $312 million, and New York-based Alcoa gave away 12.1 percent of its total profits. For technology companies, Google is one example that is leading the way. Each year, it reportedly donates $100 million in grants, 80,000 hours, and $1 billion in products. In fact, the tech giant is currently focusing on causes that include "fighting Ebola," "improving computer science education," and "empowering women and girls."

Other companies have exhibited a commitment to improving the future work force through career-development initiatives and programs. These companies include Intel, which has reportedly given $215,000,000 in worldwide charitable gifts since 2012. In November, Intel also launched its Code for Good social media campaign, during which it will donate up to $45,000 on the public's behalf to computer science education. These funds will support three nonprofits: Code.org, Codeclub.org.uk, and GirlsWhoCode.com. Intel aims to encourage future generations of developers to work hard and pursue careers in the industry--a goal it has facilitated through its Android Field Guide for developers. The hope is that more young people will become involved in coding and developing before they enter the work force.

 

In the name of giving

While the external benefits of corporate giving are the most easily seen and understood, there are plenty of benefits to be gained within organizations that give as well. From raising company morale and promoting teamwork to securing tax breaks and building a sense of pride, corporate philanthropic initiatives can effectively transform the way your tech company operates.

Corporate giving will provide a heightened sense of purpose and vitality to an organization, even one that has lost its zeal.

 

Five external benefits of charitable giving

The precise benefits of corporate philanthropy may vary, depending on the circumstances and situation-specific details, but the following are typical examples of the benefits that may occur externally:

Public relations
Sponsorships
Networking
Talent acquisition
Profits

 

Making a difference

When people think about charitable giving, they typically focus on the direct impact it has on the target service population of the charitable organization. While helping that population is certainly the ultimate goal, it's also worthwhile to note that corporations that give their time and money often receive benefits in turn.

If your organization isn't currently working with a charitable organization or social cause, now might be the time to get involved. Not only can you and your colleagues serve as a driving force of change, but you can expect your tech company to reap a range of benefits.

Consider discussing a strategic-giving strategy with your team, and find a way to give back that benefits everyone involved. The best charitable initiatives are those that boost the community, the charity, and your business at the same time.

Published on: Dec 2, 2014
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.