Why Every Organization Should Share Charitable Giving Data

Every organization should consider why they might want to collect charitable giving data and share it, as the benefits are massive.

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January 14, 2019
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In today’s world, a growing number of companies realize how important it is to donate to charitable causes. Those entities recognize they can do good through that decision. However, it’s evident that companies should go beyond mere generosity and collect and share data about charitable giving.

The Public Appreciates Details Associated With Giving

A known problem associated with charities is that people often aren’t sure how their money is used after they contribute it. Fortunately, there are resources to minimize that issue. One of them is a database called GuideStar. It features details about millions of nonprofit organizations and attracts more than 7 million people annually who prioritize well-informed giving. In the same way people want assurance their money goes toward worthwhile things when they donate, they like knowing precisely how businesses have positively affected charities with their giving. One straightforward technique for describing that is to include information on a company’s website. For example, Stitch is a company that specializes in data migration tools. It published a blog post about the total cash donations given by its employees, as well as voluntary hours spent and some other statistics. However, Stitch doesn’t require employees to give to a particular organization chosen by executives. It allows them to contribute to whatever charities they see fit. The specifics associated with the company’s publication emphasize that Stitch takes giving seriously and understands the importance of keeping track of the various ways its employees benefit others.

Prospective Employees Could View Charitable Giving as a Perk

People weigh various things when deciding whether to work for a company or even apply for an open position. Some of them could be persuaded to pursue a position if it’s clear a company is committed to charitable giving. According to a survey of more than 380,000 employees from several hundred companies, charitable giving on behalf of employers made employees more enthusiastic, willing to act as brand ambassadors and likely to stay with a company. So, the people that are already working at a company benefit when workplaces give. When those entities share data, prospective new hires get the impression that generosity stands out in the organization’s culture.

Shared Data Could Reveal the Progression of Annual Impact

When organizations opt to share their data, they could reveal how charitable giving has paid off for several years or longer. The Virginia Lottery acts on the part of the state constitution that directs all lottery profits to go toward educational purposes. A dedicated page highlights a distribution of more than $9 billion to public education. Moreover, there is a more specific breakdown via a chart that shows things like the sales data for lottery tickets versus the proceeds given to schools each year. That approach is a smart one to take because it gives people insights on how the Virginia Lottery’s program has assisted schools through the years. It’s only one example of how an organization could report data, but it works well in this case given the longstanding nature of this initiative.

Publicly Accessible Data Gives the Opportunity for Positive Media Coverage

Companies should not primarily share their data out of a desire to get positive recognition, but it’s arguable that when the public is aware of companies’ charitable giving decisions, those organizations may get favorable press coverage. In a recent instance, Kaiser Permanente donated $10,000 to help a high school band play at the 2019 Rose Bowl. That decision made local headlines. Besides specific cases, going public with data about charitable giving allows companies to be recognized as among the most generous.

Charitable Efforts Should Be Featured in Annual Reports

An ideal annual report gives stakeholders thorough information about how a company’s doing and what it’s accomplished over the past 12 months. Many of today’s companies feature sections of annual reports that go in-depth about charitable giving, often in portions devoted to corporate social responsibility. Stakeholders love hard facts, but companies can’t provide those about their charitable giving unless they collect such data first. Beyond giving percentages, companies can offer details such as: “The $20,000 the company provided to the local domestic violence refuge helped that agency remodel its bathrooms to make them accessible to disabled users.” Then, stakeholders get realistic perspectives about how the company uses its resources to give, including the particular charities and needs the organization prefers to support.

Businesses Could Inspire Other Entities to Become More Charitable

Another reason why companies should gather and share their data is that by doing so, they may encourage other businesses in the area to do the same. Some enterprises may feel encouraged to give back but balk because they’re not sure where to start. However, if a small organization with a modest number of employees publishes a press release on its blog post about a charity campaign and explains how it went about getting started or what it achieved, that information could be what’s necessary to urge others to follow suit. Highlighting hard data about the number of company employees who helped out in a soup kitchen or ran in a marathon to support breast cancer could also prove how it’s not always necessary to have a huge company or hundreds of employees to impact the world in a positive way. A company could also choose to be charitable by sponsoring something such as a hospital gala or a championship golf tournament. While doing that, it could discuss things such as the amount of money the event raised overall. Drawing attention to that detail could emphasize that if the business were not involved, the event might not have been so successful. If an enterprise has a charitable matching program, it could use a section of its website to mention how much employees gave, and therefore how much a respective charity benefited by the company’s decision to match donations.

Final Thoughts: Making Data Available Makes a Business Well-Positioned

Today’s society is one where people often assess a company’s desire to help others when they choose whether to support that business as customers or even to apply for jobs at the organization. Data that’s carefully compiled and later shared helps the public conclude that a company is not merely saying it’s charitable to boost its image. Data also provides statistics that show what happened due to the company’s choice to give back. As such, a business that shares information about its charitable efforts gains prominence in the marketplace and could energize other entities to focus on meaningful causes, too.