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Giving Back is Good Business - Corporate Giving

September 29, 2018

In today’s business world, corporate citizenship is an integral piece of the overall strategic plan to grow and enhance businesses, large and small. Savvy business leaders recognize giving back to the local community is an essential part of a smart business model. It creates consumer confidence, attracts and retains employees, creates positive community impacts, and builds good will for your organization. In fact, there are over 2,600 companies worldwide who believe so deeply in this model they have become Certified B Corporations, meaning they meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance. While you don’t have to become a B corporation to make a difference, the importance of being a socially conscientious business has become an incredibly important piece of the corporate landscape and is here to stay.

The Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa works with businesses across its 20-county region to create the impacts they want to accomplish through corporate charitable solutions. Through charitable contributions, businesses can gain stature and visibility in the community, earn the loyalty of customers and employees, and take leadership roles to address important community issues. There are significant tax advantages available to businesses through philanthropy as well.

According to the 2018 Giving USA report, corporate giving accounted for $20.77 billion of a total $410.02 billion donated in 2017. These corporate gifts were up 8 percent from 2016. This is good news for the nonprofits and projects benefiting from this upward giving trend, and shows corporations and businesses are committed to continued enhancement of giving programs.

Many local businesses are already doing incredible things to give back to our community through philanthropy and volunteerism, but there are many options to consider when creating an effective corporate giving plan. The Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa is a resource for businesses to create corporate giving programs that make giving easy, cost-effective, eliminate the administrative burden, is organized, and meets the needs of the company.

Here are some ways to get your business started:

  • Start a matching gifts program. This allows your company to add to employees’ donations designated for nonprofit organizations. Encourage charitable giving while showing appreciation for your workers.
  • Encourage volunteerism. Show employees you care about their causes. Consider allocating volunteer hours, as you would sick time or vacation time.
  • Give to nonprofits making a difference. Businesses align their giving with nonprofits that match their values and to community causes they care about. Research local charities whose work and philosophy align with your business goals and passion. The best way to get started is to write a check, but also consider a plan for future giving. CFNEIA knows the nonprofit landscape and can help match your charitable goals with an organization or organizations creating impacts you believe in and support. 
  • Establish a corporate fund. The Community Foundation works with businesses to establish corporate charitable funds. We provide professional investment and charitable gift program management. A committee of leaders from your organization can recommend where gifts are distributed through a corporate advised fund, or you can leave your gift unrestricted allowing the Community Foundation to address the community’s most pressing needs. Your organization receives immediate tax benefits, even if you decide to distribute the funds at a later date.
  • Invest in your employees’ families through a corporate scholarship fund for employee’s children to further their education.
  • Network with other businesses about philanthropy. Sometimes, the best way to start the process of building a corporate giving plan is by learning from one’s peers. Many businesses in the Cedar Valley are committed partners to local nonprofits and can offer invaluable insights into the benefits of corporate philanthropy as well as strategies for including philanthropy in your overall business plan.

Giving through the Community Foundation also provides special tax advantages for your business. By establishing a permanent endowment fund, or giving to an existing fund, your business is eligible to receive a 25% state tax credit on the donation through Endow Iowa. This is in addition to the normal federal deductions for charitable gifts. 

The new tax law changes including the flat 21% corporate tax rate may have impacted your bottom line. Have you considered using the tax savings for good? We invite you to explore the possibilities of enhancing your corporate giving program. Creating a world-class community includes investing in it and the people who live here. Giving back is just good business. 

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