Greetings from GrantLessons!
So what is this “corporate social responsibility” thing? Let me step back for a second. By now, those that have been following this blog understand that I just like to figure out something I don’t understand. As I started looking at ways to find money for my local chapter’s philanthropic programs, I realized I was going to need a different approach to finding opportunities for coporate contributions than when I was looking for foundation grants. Let’s face it, we have three different databases that we can use to find grant opportunities that we have examined over the lst couple of years on GrantLessons: GrantStation, Foundation Directory Online, and GuideStar. We can simply look at a Form 990 for a public foundation and we have lots of information about them or their website. I have not explored them deeply for corporation data but I do not believe they have much to offer.
What is corporate social responsibility? Well I went to one of my favorite resources, Wikipedia for an answer. In a nutshell, corporate social responsibility is corporate philanthropy. Corporate contributions provides inkind and cash contributions as well as volunteer opportunites. Corporations make contributions to demonstrate support to the local community where they work.
But the big question how do I find out which ones may be interested in helping our chapter out? Corporate contributions are generally made to a community where the corporation has some presence. If for instance you have a large corporate headquarter in your community, bingo you have a big chance. Likewise, if you have a corporate branch in your community you still have a chance except not quite as big.
Corporate contributions have a different goal than public foundations, therefore, the information they ask for in an application is also different. Public foundations desire to give a certain small percentage of their wealth in order to avoid high taxation. Corporate contributions are made to buy local community and national support for their missions.
You have several options to find corporate contacts. First, a simply way is when you are driving around make it a contest with one of your passengers to look at billboards and identify corporations that have a presence in your town. Now I am talking about large national corporations, the local cleaner or florist will probably not have a corporate social responsibility policy. Now that you have your list, get some tea and several of your members together and go to the Internet and type in the name of the corporation and your local city name.
Once you get to the corporation’s website look for wording like “corporate giving, social responsibility, giving”. Be sure to look at the bottom of the page. When you find the link, read and determine if their is an opportunity for your chapter’s program.
Today I am having fun at my chapter’s thrift store.
Catch me when you can and I will catch up with you soon. Sandie