Editor’s note: The following is a guest post from our friend Adam Weinger, president at Double the Donation. It has been gently edited for the RW blog. Enjoy!

Nonprofits typically have their own ways of raising money and recruiting volunteers. However, corporate social responsibility (CSR) can be a major component in helping organizations accomplish their missions and complete their projects.

Although many companies already have corporate giving and volunteer programs in place, they could all use a little updating every now and then. Additionally, it’s wise to look at improving your company’s CSR from the viewpoint of a nonprofit.

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Nonprofits and companies alike can benefit from robust corporate giving and volunteer programs. The two sectors can help each other and learn from one another by effectively communicating and forming partnerships.

When nonprofits and corporations work together and have strong partnerships, both parties win. Companies get to demonstrate their philanthropy to the community, and nonprofits benefit by receiving volunteer time and donations from people who care about their cause.

Here are the top three things that nonprofits want out of CSR.

There are many other ways for companies to strengthen their CSR initiatives, but these three tips may help broaden your perspective to include the nonprofit point of view.

1. Easily accessible information

One of the biggest criticisms that employees have of their employer’s corporate giving programs is that pertinent information is simply too hard to find. An employee shouldn’t have to go on a half-hour hunt for a form to submit a matching gift or a volunteer grant request.

Why should companies keep this information buried? Everyone benefits if the information is readily available to both employees and nonprofits who wish to promote such programs to their donors and prospects.

If your company already has a CSR section on its website, make the details of your corporate giving and volunteer programs public or more prominent. Not only will this reduce the amount of time that employees spend searching for information about the programs they want to participate in, but it also allows nonprofits to effectively market those programs to their existing and potential donors.

On the nonprofit side, make sure your team is promoting corporate giving programs to your supporters. Donors and volunteers are often unaware that they can make their monetary donations and volunteer hours go even further with the help of corporate giving programs. Nonprofits and corporations can work together to effectively promote and market these types of programs to individuals.

Corporate volunteering is important. Don’t stifle it by keeping your employees in the dark.

2. Lowered required hours for dollars for doers programs

Many companies offer some type of dollars for doers program that rewards employee volunteering with donations to the nonprofit at which the employee volunteered.

However, less than 10% of employees actually take advantage of these programs. Due to inefficient application processes, lack of awareness, and countless other reasons, employees simply don’t make use of the dollars for doers programs that their employers offer.

Employees who regularly volunteer are often more engaged at work.

One way to solve this problem is to lower the required hours for dollars for doers and extend the program to part-time employees. Your company’s standout volunteers are going to donate their time to nonprofits regardless of whether or not you offer a dollars for doers program.
But you need to capture the attention of the two-thirds of your employees who don’t volunteer enough to meet the existing requirement. When these employees know their volunteer efforts can go much further, they’ll be more likely to start volunteering more and more. Plus, employees who regularly volunteer with each other and on their own are often more engaged at work. Your company benefits in many ways when you lower the required hours for dollars for doers programs.

Additionally, nonprofits reap the rewards of lowered required hours for dollars for doers programs. More volunteers and more donations mean that organizations can accomplish their projects and missions more effectively and efficiently.

3. Consideration for what the nonprofit needs, not just what your company wants to do

This last tip isn’t as specific as the previous two, but that doesn’t make it any less important. In fact, it may be more vital than any other CSR related suggestion.

Essentially, your company needs to consider what nonprofit organizations want and need out of your CSR initiatives. While it’s still important for your corporation to find out what types of programs your employees respond best to (do they prefer matching gifts to volunteer grants? What are their thoughts on team volunteering at events and fundraisers?), it’s also vital that you talk to the nonprofits you’ve partnered with to find out what they need.

When you have solid communication with members of nonprofit organizations, you will better be able to anticipate their needs and create programs that both your employees and the nonprofits benefit from. And when individuals from the corporate arena and the nonprofit sphere regularly communicate with each other, aware of the types of programs that are needed and which ones can be reasonably implemented, corporate giving and volunteering programs are more effective.

CSR has many benefits for companies, nonprofits, and employees. By making information easily accessible, expanding your CSR initiatives to include changes to dollars for doers programs, and discovering what nonprofits need from you, your company can boost its program culture.

A strong relationship and communication between nonprofits and companies is essential throughout the entire process. Without clear direction, companies might offer programs that nonprofits find less than useful. Additionally, companies must let nonprofits know what types of resources they are capable of offering. When the two sectors work together, everyone wins!

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