What to consider when designing a corporate giving and community involvement strategy

Developing a corporate giving and community involvement strategy provides an opportunity to strengthen, clarify and amplify your organization’s community impact.

“When designing our strategy, we combined our existing strengths with being strategic about where we can make a difference and align with our purpose as a blended health organization,” says Kenya T. Boswell, Senior Vice President Community Affairs at Highmark Health. “If someone asks what we stand for, we now have a clear answer — our focus is on improving equitable access to care, quality of life and economic resilience in the communities we serve.”

Smart Business spoke with Boswell about how to design an effective corporate giving and community involvement strategy.

What are some best practices used to design a corporate giving strategy?

You do not need to design from scratch. Design a strategy to make the legacy and your collective impact even stronger.
Being a major employer comes with a social responsibility. That’s why a worthwhile goal is improving economic well-being and quality of life by contributing to initiatives that support strong local economies, safe neighborhoods, diverse communities and healthy environments.

When thinking about community giving, it’s not just financial support, it’s about leveraging your expertise; providing on-the-ground support, skills-based volunteerism and showing up to support the community where they need you most.

Consider creating an umbrella platform to convey your values, what you are trying to achieve and your impact. Some organizations focus on a specific population or issue. For example, a company in the health care space could seek to improve health outcomes, economic well-being and quality of life for everyone.

While larger organizations might have an enterprisewide strategy that covers multiple states, look to empower and equip local leaders to be responsive to issues in their community.

Organizations should also look to deploy a collaborative, partner-driven approach that includes community partners, executive involvement, employee engagement programs and cross-functional collaborations.

How can organizations determine the impact of their corporate giving and community involvement?

True impact will take time to measure. Regular reports that leverage qualitative storytelling can highlight what you’re achieving. Develop key performance indicators to outline what measurable impacts you work to achieve. Also consider a data integration, analysis, visualization and reporting platform to get real-time insights on your communities, with the ability to overlay factors like demographic, individual and community health outcomes associated with your philanthropic investments. This will provide more accurate feedback on whether you are reaching the right populations, and if their needs are being met and outcomes sustained.

Corporate entities, through thoughtful strategic planning, can leverage their entire enterprise to make an incredible impact. ●

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Kenya T. Boswell

Senior Vice President Community Affairs
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To learn about Highmark’s Bright Blue Futures corporate giving and community involvement strategy,