Good Business: The State of Corporate Philanthropy in Colorado

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While Colorado companies represent some of the best-in-class corporate social responsibility efforts, the need to align business goals and community investment strategically continues to increase as consumer and employee demands change. Businesses are expanding how and why they give beyond traditional funding, including engaging employees through service and contributions of involvement and in identifying collaborations to address complex social issues. According to the Giving USA report , in 2016, corporation giving is estimated to have increased by 3.5 percent (2.3 percent adjusted for inflation) in 2016, totaling $18.55 billion. This represents nearly 5 percent of total charitable contributions, and compares to individual giving totaled at an estimated $281 billion, rising 3.9 percent (2.6 percent adjusted for inflation) in 2016. Giving by foundations increased 3.5 percent (2.2 percent adjusted for inflation) to an estimated $59 billion in 2016. 1

Cone Communications2, a national corporate social responsibility, public relations and marketing agency, says “86 percent of Americans believe companies should do more than simply make a profit but also operate responsibly to address social and environmental issues.” Millennials, who will soon represent half the workforce, also want to make a difference at work. In fact, according to Cone Communications, 75 percent of millennials say they would take a pay cut to work for a socially responsible company (versus 55 percent U.S. average). To help accelerate the good work of Colorado companies, B:CIVIC, an organization that promotes and advances corporate social responsibility for the betterment of all communities and businesses, has partnered with the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, the University of Denver, TIAA and DaVita to produce this first-of-its-kind report to understand more about how and why businesses are involved in the community. GOOD BUSINESS: The State of Corporate Philanthropy in Colorado examines how businesses of different sizes and from various industries give back to their communities. Through research conducted by Corona Insights, and survey results gathered from companies in and outside of metro Denver, we’ve captured motivations for giving and barriers to doing more, as well as case studies showcasing promising practices for increased impact. We hope this report will serve as a benchmark for companies seeking to expand their community engagement for the highest return on their investment. 1


Giving USA 2017: Highlights 2016 2016 Cone Communications Millennial Employee Engagement Study.

The University of Denver

has partnered with businesses and their leaders from our very beginning. Our Daniels College of Business is one of the oldest schools of business in the nation. And we were among the first to require ethics in our core business curriculum in 1989. The tradition of corporate giving in our state is inspirational. On our campus, generous businesses support scholarships, cuttingedge research, and faculty who are educating tomorrow’s workforce.

Rebecca Chopp, Chancellor University of Denver


Colorado has always inspired a sense of stewardship and a collaborative barn-raising spirit. As the birthplace of the first United Way in the country, our state has long understood the importance of engaging all sectors in strengthening our communities. Colorado’s nearly 1 million businesses, from start-ups to Fortune 500s, reflect this generosity toward the people and the places they serve.

Insights Into The Data Captured In This Survey

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COLORADO BUSINESS Employees Create Opportunities For Impact Trade, Transportation & Utilities

454,800 Employees


427,300 Employees

Professional & Business Services 405,300 Employees

Education & Health Services 326,700 Employees

Leisure & Hospitality 323,300 Employees

Financial Activities 163,600 Employees


155,100 Employees


142,500 Employees

Other Services 105,200 Employees

With nearly one million businesses across the state, and more than 2.6 million workers, businesses have a powerful opportunity to impact complex social issues, support nonprofits and engage their employees. According to the Colorado Business Economic Outlook 2018, each of the sectors across our state are growing, and their employment force is a powerful opportunity for impact. From entrepreneurs and small businesses to large, global corporations, Colorado’s force for good is growing through its employees. Source: 2016 Nonagricultural Employmnet Colorado Business Outlook 2018 Published by the Leeds School of Business University of Colorado — Boulder Legend: One

= 25,000 Employees

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY A goal of this first-ever research was to capture the pulse of the Colorado business community’s philanthropy, corporate social responsibility and volunteerism efforts. We learned about how companies give, how they plan for giving and how they evaluate what they have accomplished. Some of our key findings about how philanthropically engaged businesses within Colorado are engaging with and giving back to their communities are:

• Giving was on the rise for 2017.

While most companies intended to hold their giving to the same level as 2016, more companies plan to increase philanthropy than decrease it. This is true for all types of giving as well as allowed volunteer hours for employees.

• Colorado’s small businesses and large businesses are similar in their philanthropic work.

The three most common types of corporate giving are cash donations, in-kind donations and buying tickets to fundraising events. This is true of companies of all sizes – large, medium or small.

• Larger companies tend to have — and benefit from — more philanthropic leverage among their employees.

They are much more likely than smaller companies to support employee philanthropy, with an emphasis on flexible scheduling for volunteer or board time, paid time or incentives to volunteer, and matching gifts.

• Regardless of size, the executive leadership of companies is involved in determining philanthropic efforts.

A significant number of companies have executive involvement in decisions, and in larger companies, employees are involved. For a majority of companies under 25 people, corporate philanthropy is intertwined with the owner’s personal philanthropy.

• Companies want to know the impact of their corporate social responsibility.

Among companies who engage in CSR, many do some sort of evaluation of their efforts, whether it’s charitable or company outcomes, or both.

• Planned giving varies by business size.

Of respondents to our survey, 41% of small businesses with 10 to 49 employees and 76% of large companies reported beginning the year with a plan for giving to and engaging with the community.

• How companies give and their CSR strategies are changing.

For example, providing funding is the most common investment from businesses, but serving on a nonprofit board is ranked as the action where they made their greatest investment of funding, time, resources, etc. These giving trends are evolving, suggesting the dynamic interaction between businesses and nonprofits.

• Obstacles to giving are primarily time and money.

Not surprisingly, money matters to companies, with 69 percent of companies stating that budget limitations have been a barrier to giving more, followed by 39 percent citing staff capacity to participate. That said, 49 percent of companies opt to provide a flexible schedule to allow for volunteering and board service.

• Promoting the accomplishments externally is rare, particularly among small - and mid-sized firms.

Only about 2 percent of small- or mid-sized firms publish a report of their philanthropy or CSR, compared to 45 percent of large firms.


What We Discovered, And Why Companies And Nonprofits Should Care

COLORADO CARES Examining How, Why And Who Gives In Colorado’s Business Community One of the goals of our research was to understand more about the nuances of business community engagement and similarities between industries and sizes of companies. Each business has specific objectives and issue areas, but across industries, we found that executive leaders drive decisions; 8 out of 10 companies gave funding to charitable organizations; Colorado companies are dedicated to local impact; and more companies are offering flexible volunteer scheduling to provide methods for their employees to be engaged in the community.


Executive leaders drive decisions. 93% of companies say executive leadership decides which causes to support.


79% of companies report giving a cash donation to a charitable organization.



93% of companies that gave inkind services did so in the state. 90% of companies that gave to their associated foundation did so in Colorado.

Of non-cash giving, 49% of companies provide a fl exible schedule for volunteering.

Colorado Companies Are Engaged In Their Communities: Giving Cash, Time And Talent There’s no doubt that Colorado companies large and small are giving back to their communities. And they’re doing it in a multitude of ways, from cash and inkind service donations and ticket purchases for corporate fundraisers to goods donations, event sponsorships and employee volunteerism. Giving matters in Colorado, with a number of companies sharing that they employ multiple giving strategies in our state. The larger the company in terms of employees, the more likely they were to report engaging with and giving to the community. And, businesses represent a diverse array of industries and interests, suggesting that businesses have been and continue to be involved in a wide spectrum of initiatives, based on their company focus, stakeholders, employees — and the nonprofits with whom they work.

One of our goals with the survey was to understand the ways companies have given back to or engaged with the community. Whether it is to help with disaster relief, local fundraisers for schools, service on a board, in donating product or generally, as a corporate citizen, we asked companies to prioritize the ways they give back to the community. In many ways, we see that Colorado’s large and small companies are similar in their philanthropic work. Companies of all sizes, from one employee to more than 1,000 employees, reported the same top three giving methods: cash donations, inkind donations and buying tickets to fundraising events.



Companies give in hopes of having both short-term and long-term impact, and of respondents to our survey, 41 percent of small businesses with 10 to 49 employees reported beginning the year with a plan for community engagement, as compared to 76 percent of companies with 50 or more employees. Direct funding or donations are oftentimes the first step for companies to be engaged with charitable organizations, and as the research suggests, companies then add in other methods, oftentimes providing an even more important perceived investment. For example, while nearly 80 percent of businesses provide direct funding to charities, only half rank it as the category in which they invested the most resources. Conversely, only about 5 percent of businesses reported serving on boards, but more than 70 percent said that’s where they invested the most resources. Other findings from businesses, the percentage who do the action and, of those, who rank it as their greatest investment:

ACTION COMPLETED / INVESTED THE MOST RESOURCES • In-kind services: 66% / 61% • Bought tickets to a fundraiser: 61% / 15% • Donated goods: 55% / 32% • Provided flexible scheduling for employees to volunteer: 49% / 42% • Sponsored an event: 34% / 32% • Provided use of their company’s infrastructure: 31% / 15% • Marketed a charitable cause through company’s products or services: 27% / 40% • Support opportunities for pro bono service: 32% / 13% • Support board leadership programs: 19% / 18% • Held a corporate fundraiser to raise money for a charitable organization: 16% / 8% • Organized a company-wide day of service: 10% / 17%

Our 3000 members care deeply

about Colorado and we carry a strong

sense of responsibility for this place we call home. Colorado companies give

tens of millions of dollars and thousands of volunteer hours to nonprofits and

charities each year collectively having a powerful impact. And, our workforce

Companies Take Differing Paths In Their Giving

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loves work for companies who care so deeply about their communities – it’s a win for everyone and ensures Colorado continues to be a great place to live and do business for generations.

Kelly Brough President and CEO Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce

Case Study: PCL Construction

Over its 110-year history, giving back to the community has run deep for PCL Construction. As an employeeowned company, “sharing with employees is sharing with the community,” said Stephanie McCay, manager of U.S. communications for PCL Construction.

Charitable giving is included in their budget. It’s not just when PCL is profi table. “We support them regardless,” said Mallory.

For 50 years, PCL has donated to the United Way across North America. Locally, PCL and its 200 employees, donate roughly $1 million a year through its giving campaign.

PCL has implemented a program that encourages 18 volunteer hours per employee, per calendar year, with the nonprofit organization of their choice. PCL also provides numerous company-sponsored volunteer opportunities throughout the year for its employees. If employees achieve their 18 hours, they are entered into a raffle where the charity of their choice receives a financial contribution if they win.

Giving is more than a line item, “it’s part of our lexicon,” said Lucas Mallory, director of project development for PCL Construction.

This is how PCL is incentivising positive relationships between their employees and nonprofit organizations in the communities where they do business. Employees are also encouraged to serve on community boards. McCay is a board member of Florence Crittenton Services in Denver, a nonprofit high school for teen moms and early learning center for their children. It was a connection she made through colleagues at PCL and felt compelled to give back after her sister became a teen mother. “We need to be out in the community and give back our talent,” said Mallory, who sits on the board of the Mile High Youth Cor board of the Mile High Youth Cor Corpp. p. s.

PCL Construction


Building Communities PCL Construction has left

“In terms of employee base, we are the smallest number of employees who’ve donated the greatest amount to Mile High United Way,” McCay said.

At a national level, PCL Construction supports three large nonprofits: United Way, Red Cross, and Habitat for Humanity. At a local level, employees are empowered to decide which local charities they will support.

a lasting impact on the

communities they served.

PCL isn’t only building through steel, they are building hope through our community.

Christine Benero President / CEO Mile High United Way


A History of Giving

GIVING LOCAL 90% of Donations Stay In Colorado The vast majority of these donations are staying in our state. In fact, companies who gave cash donations to their associated foundations kept 90 percent of that money in Colorado. And, companies who made cash donations kept 85 percent of their money in the state, strengthening our state’s robust nonprofit sector. Giving is on the rise. Most of the companies surveyed


Nonprofit Organizat ions in Colorad o

reported they expect giving to stay stable or increase in the coming year.

Source: The Independent Sector: The Nonprofit Sector in Colorado

Trends In Philanthropic Focus In our research, it was important to us to understand which causes or organizations receive business contributions and involvement. Causes are aligned with executive or employee focus, a giving plan if in place, specific needs in the community, stakeholder expectations, proactive and responsive plans for communities in which the companies serve, business CSR pillars and executive and employee direction. Both larger companies and smaller businesses reported more of their philanthropy directed toward schools, universities or other educational organizations. Interestingly, all categories of companies reported more of their philanthropy directed to this category, from small entrepreneurs to larger global corporations. Of the choices, the chart below highlights the higher causes with the highest percentage of philanthropy, while companies in Colorado also gave to six additional causes, as well as a category called “other” that represents a spectrum of needs:

• • • • • •

Health and medical causes Environmental causes or organizations Animal-related charities or causes Disaster or emergency relief Community resources such as the zoo, library or parks Broad-based funds that contribute to many different charities

Colorado companies are aligned with national giving trends as reported by the CECP Giving in Numbers annual edition. According to that national research, companies across the U.S. are aligning strategic goals and focus areas to include health and social services, community and economic development, education, civic and public affairs, culture and arts, the environment and disaster relief. Contributions “are often made based on businesses’ core competencies and alignment between causes and companies’ social purpose,” according to CECP.

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Percentage Of 2016 Philanthropy That Went To The Following Causes A school, university, or other educational organization

14% 11%

An arts or cultural group


Any social cause to help people who need help with basic necessities of life


Any religious causes or organizations


A youth group or organization that helps children or teenagers Any health or medical causes Broad-based funds which contribute to many different charities, such as The




According to Giving USA 2017: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2016, overall total giving in the U.S. (individual, foundations and corporations) rose 2.3 percent. In the same report: • Giving by individuals grew at a higher rate than other sources of giving, outpacing giving by foundations and by corporations and offsetting the sharp decline in bequests. • Giving by foundations rose more slowly in 2016 compared to the stronger increases seen in recent years, according to data provided by Foundation Center. • Corporate giving increased modestly in 2016 in the wake of slower GDP growth and little movement in the share of pre-tax profits directed to giving.

In our research, most companies anticipated increasing their contributions for the next year or for those contributions to remain the same. Few respondents said they intend to decrease their contributions. This aligns further with national research that suggests that large and small businesses expect spending and philanthropy to stay the same or increase, while also acknowledging that unplanned disaster philanthropy and specific societal needs will impact exact numbers.

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of companies who operate foundations expect their donations to their company’s foundation to stay the same or increase.


of companies who raised money for a charity via a corporate fundraiser expect to repeat or increase their efforts.


of companies who gave cash donations to charitable organizations expect to repeat or increase their efforts.


of companies who gave money to a disaster relief fund expect to repeat or increase their efforts.

We give because it’s the

right thing to do. It starts with one donation, one customer, or one

employee asking you to give back to your community, and then it becomes part of your culture and you can’t imagine not giving back. A lot of small businesses don’t know where to start because they think they don’t have a big enough checkbook or the right staff or aren’t sure how much it will matter.

Philanthropy Is On The Rise

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I think what really matters is to start with knowing why – that you want to do good – now. That will help you take the first step and set an example for the next generation.

Mark Berzins, Owner Little Pub Company Founding Board Member, B:CIVIC

Case Study: Xcel Energy

Xcel Energy connects communities not just through power plants and utility lines, but also by giving back.

“We connect the community through our electric lines and we feel the responsibility to connect the communities through our charitable giving,” said Liz Gardner, social investment representative for Xcel Energy. Xcel Energy has a strong philanthropic culture – it’s ingrained in their values. As an energy company, their core function is keeping the lights on, but their role is bigger than that – protecting the environment, driving economic development and giving back to their community. As a company they give $1.2 million in grants through their foundation; 22,000 hours of employee volunteer service; and $1 million in donations to nonprofits.

But, the company isn’t just focused on offering financial support to nonprofits; Xcel Energy dedicates a day each year to give back to its community, their annual Day of Service. It started as a way to celebrate, honor and remember those affected by 9/11. Gardner said it was prompted by the “strong tie and culture of military service within our company.” In its first year, nearly 500 employees took part in that day of service; today almost 3,700 employee and customer volunteers participate, giving back side by side.

“It’s 50 percent employees and their families and 50 percent customers … It’s a really unique way for our customers to get to know the people and faces of [Xcel Energy],” Gardner said. This year was no exception; Xcel Energy served 70 nonprofits with 12,000 hours of volunteer time – that’s close to a $350,000 investment into local communities. And, it’s not just the Denver metro area. They served nonprofits across the state in 25 cities and towns. It’s a true reminder of how collaboration can make an impact, Gardner said: “When a community comes together on a single day and focuses their energy and attention to make a community better a powerful difference is made that extends beyond that one day.”



Volunteer Time

In 2017, Xcel Energy served 70 nonprofit entities with 12,000 hours of volunteer time – that’s nearly a $350,000 investment into local communities.



WHY COMPANIES GIVE Time Is Money To Colorado Nonprofits


Colorado is home to the second largest concentration of nonprofits per capita, mobilizing more than 1.2M volunteers in 3.5 billion hours of service.1

Our research shows that for non-cash giving, companies tended to contribute the most by giving in-kind services or products to charitable organizations. Regardless of size, nearly half or more of surveyed companies who give in non-cash ways allow flexible scheduling to support employees interested in volunteering or serving

on a board. Beyond support for volunteering and pro-bono services, small companies are less likely to support employee philanthropy during work hours, perhaps because of limited options for volunteering to happen on site or because of small teams and limited resources. Once businesses have 50 or more employees, they tend to have — and encourage — more philanthropic involvement through their employees. They are much more likely than smaller companies to support employee philanthropy, with particular emphasis on flexible scheduling for volunteer or board time, paid time or incentives to volunteer and matching gifts.

••••• • • • • • • •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Percentage Of 2016 Non-Cash Contributions That Went to Causes In Colorado

Gave in-kind service or product to a charitable organization


Donated goods to a charitable organization


Marketing a charitable cause via your company’s products or services (i.e., cause marketing)



Incentives for volunteering or board service


Any other donation of in-kind

Gave to a disaster relief fund (time and/or in-kind)


If we can make a positive

impact in our community, we see that as being successful. Our

charitable giving is impacted by our company profitability and grows as our

profitability grows.

Leann and John Saunders, Where Food Comes From


While financial contributions rank as the most common way to engage in the community, companies are innovative in the ways they give back. By offering flexible scheduling for volunteer time, or organizing a team-building company-wide day of giving, Colorado companies are giving their time and talent to their communities.

How Non-Cash and Employee Support Is Evolving

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WHY COMPANIES GIVE Reasons For Making A Cash Donation To A Charitable Organization Now that we understand more about how Colorado companies give, why do they do it? Ninety percent of companies cite having a long-term positive impact on the community as a major reason for their cash contributions. We know other factors are at play as well, including a belief that it’s the right thing to do and improving organizational culture, which both rank high for companies.

And, they identify challenges to overcome too. B:CIVIC reports that over the last three years, its members rank measuring impact in their top three challenges, alongside reporting efforts and scaling social impact and commmunity efforts.

“Almost 25 years of data show a consistent increase in consumers’ willingness to purchase products with a social benefit. Most consistent over the years is that 9 in 10 consumers expect companies to do more than make a profit.” Cone Communications 2017 CSR Study

As businesses look for ways to demonstrate value to stakeholders through philanthropy and the broader corporate social responsibility, consumers and stakeholders are highly receptive.

Companies also want to gauge the impact of that philanthropy. Among businesses who engage in philanthropy, many do some sort of evaluation of their efforts, whether it’s charitable outcomes, business outcomes or both.

••••• • • • • • • • ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Reasons For Making A Cash Donation To A Charitable Organization 90%

To have a positive impact on the community


It’s the right thing to do



Organizational culture



For PR/reputation



Business development



To build brand loyalty



To build employee loyalty




37% 55%


48% 94%


Stakeholder relationships














To attract a particular target market

Our investors expect it


11% 5%




87% 100%

It’s required by law 0%

25% Major reason

50% Moderate reason

Minor reason

Not a reason



Case Study: GroundFloor Media Supporting families and children in need has always been close to GroundFloor Media Founder Laura Love’s heart. That’s because within the span of a year, she and her husband faced a real challenge as they both experienced layoffs and welcomed their first child. When she launched her public relations firm, GroundFloor Media, in 2001, her business plan was literally on a napkin.

“I realized as crazy as my life appeared on paper, I was so fortunate,” Love said. Even then, as she worked in her home’s unfinished basement, she decided that giving back – whether through donations of dollars or pro bono services – would be a cornerstone of her company. And as that giving has evolved over time, including the founding of the company’s Get Grounded Foundation in 2015, the focus has remained on at-risk children.

“Everything we started to invest in the community was really built around these kids who often fall through the cracks and don’t have a community around to support their growth,” she said. Today, GroundFloor Media has given more than $80,000 in cash grants through their foundation, supporting nonprofits that focus on youth behavioral health, child abuse and neglect and children’s hunger. Those grants are all designed to provide seed money to help entrepreneurial programs get off the ground, like creating an animal-assisted art therapy program at the Tennyson Center for Children or launching a trauma-sensitive yoga program for the children served by The Denver Children’s Advocacy Center (DCAC). CAC). In addition to financial giving, volunteerism is embedded at GroundFloor Media and its sister agency, CenterTable – they allow personal volunteer time and their team can provide four hours per month in pro bono services to nonprofit organizations through The Get Grounded program. This program offers team members paid time off and cash grants to nonprofits, up to $400 each calendar year for their organizations – serving organizations like Colorado Outward Bound School, Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver and SafeHouse Denver. It’s in thinking creatively about how small businesses can give – today GroundFloor Media employs less than 35 people – that’s important. “Every little piece matters, and if everyone could give even an hour, all the small businesses in town, imagine the impact that could be made,” Love said.

GroundFloor Media •••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Cash & Volunteer Time GroundFloor Media has given more than $80,000 in cash grants through its foundation,

supporting nonprofits that focus on youth behavioral health, child abuse and neglect and children’s hunger.



GOOD PEOPLE = Good Business Employees, Measurement and Obstacles to Overcome

So with all of that great news, what are the obstacles that prevent companies from giving more time, money or in-kind? Key findings from the research suggests it’s primarily budget limitations, followed by staff capacity to participate, volunteer or manage projects; uncertainty that the charitable organization is run well, having an impact or the mission doesn’t align with the business; the economic forecast; difficulty in deciding who or what to give to; or finally, not receiving requests.



In Colorado, companies are offering employees about 11 hours/month of paid time for volunteering, and 85 percent of the businesses surveyed tell us this number has at least stayed the same; another 14 percent tell us it has increased.


According to The Civic 50, 64 percent of the nation’s most civic-minded companies offer employees volunteer time off to support their service to the community. 1 Twenty-six percent of volunteers are skills-based, and, 62 percent of the businesses include community engagement as a formal component of employees’ performance reviews. This is up from 50 percent in 2016. 2 http: top-50- community-minded-companies

Colorado companies are donating thousands of hours of work to our nonprofit community, from volunteering time to partnering to solve complex social problems.

Case Study: IMA Financial Group

It started with a simple idea: Create employee-driven teams, which IMA calls community action committees, to allow employees to share ideas for community engagement. This notion started in Denver and has been replicated in all of IMA’s major markets. That engagement is key, Rohs said, because it aligns with their values as an employee-owned company, adding, “that allows everybody to be able to speak … they can truly be community ambassadors for us.” And, it provides an opportunity for employees to give financially as well as employer matching for donations.

With a foundation focused on community give-back in place since 1974, IMA Financial Group, a pioneer in corporate social responsibility, has embedded giving into their workplace culture. Though the tone has been set by the organization’s leadership, it’s how IMA’s employees have carried that mantle that has made a unique impact at each of its offices across the country.

In Denver, the community action committee organizes volunteer activities, from weekly tutoring at a partner school each spring to their annual corporate day of service, I Make a Difference Day. Each office has their own traditions, too, Rohs said. In Denver, they host a ping pong tournament that benefits nonprofit partners, while in Dallas and Wichita it’s sand volleyball and pickle ball in Kansas City.

“They help support our overarching CSR efforts, but they also really take care of employee engagement,” said Ruth Rohs, executive director of the IMA Foundation and vice president of corporate communications for the IMA Financial Group.

It creates a different sense of ownership for giving back as a team, Rohs said: “There are just so many different ways … they’re able to truly say, ‘Hey, I did this.’”




IMA Financial Group is a diversified financial services company focused on protecting the assets of its widely varied clients through insurance and wealth management solutions. Because IMA is 100-percent employee owned, the company’s nearly 700 associates in Colorado, Kansas, Michigan and Texas are empowered to provide customized solutions for their clients’ unique needs.

They help support our

overarching CSR efforts, but

they also really take care of that employee engagement.

Ruth Rohs Executive Director IMA Foundation



One in Four Americans Volunteer Each Year

14 in

Source: Corporation for National Public Service, 2016 report.

COMMIT TO DOING MORE For Nonprofits: How to maximize your relationships with businesses


Before you approach a business, research what they have done for the community in the past. Be ready to articulate how a relationship with your organization will benefit them and align with the mission of their business.


When you approach a business, prepare well. Bring materials (e.g., reports, documents, brochures, etc.) that demonstrate that you have a clear mission and that you are having an impact in your area of focus.


Create a deep set of relationships between your organization and your business donors year-round.


Consider offering giving level options for different sizes of sponsors.

When a donor gives to an event, report back on how the event went; following up after a donation is critical to developing a relationship.

Measure the results, highlight outcomes and thank them or offer other tangible types of recognition.

Businesses often commit to the same charitable events year-after-year. If you’re a new organization, it might be helpful to partner with established charitable organizations to build lasting, long-term relationships.

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Recruiting employees as volunteers and board members can help develop an ongoing donor relationship between the business and the charitable organization.

Volunteer opportunities are a great way to get employees interested in a nonprofit and to provide team-building for the company.

Be sure your business donors know about your volunteer opportunities. A regular listing or outreach mechanism advertising potential volunteer opportunities could be useful.

Consider following up a donation with an invitation for employees to volunteer.

We are so proud of our more than 5,800

employees’ involvement in the community, and in 2016,


for example, they volunteered more than 16,000 hours to help hundreds of nonprofits in the communities we serve. In that same year, our company and employees supported more than 750 nonprofit organizations and donated more than $2.2M to nonprofits.

Christina Frantz AVP, Corporate Social Responsibility, Diversity, Inclusion and Talent Acquisition Great-West Financial


The following tips will help nonprofits connect with businesses and businesses maximize their community engagement. Many of these tips come directly from the businesses responding to the survey.

EFFECTIVE ENGAGEMENT Aligning Business Goals With Community Impact No matter the size or type industry, every business can find ways to engage in the community and align with the business goals.


Determine what your philanthropic and business goals are for community engagement. Do you want to make a difference in a particular area of community need (e.g. early childhood education, the environment, hunger)? Do you want to build employee morale? Do you want to strenthen your company’s public perception? Each of these goals require strategies for engagement. Be authentic and open in your relationships with community organizations. Let them know what your goals are and make them your partner in achieving those goals.


Explore maximizing the many ways your company can give back from leveraging employee time and talent, to in-kind gifts or services, fundraisers and direct cash.


Ensure that your leadership is involved and aligned with your community engagement strategy.

If C-suite executives have a passion for a particular cause, consider how to give them media exposure among key audiences for spearheading the business’ contributions.

Even if your business is small, learn from the “big dogs” — join an organization like B:CIVIC and network with professionals on the cutting edge of corporate social responsibility strategies and impact measures.


If you want to build employee morale and productivity, consider engaging your employees in deciding what causes to support and how to get involved. Establish a corporate foundation, or a corporate fund at a community foundation. This allows your business to bank dollars in good years for distribution in years when profits may be lower.

Partner for a greater good. Find like-minded companies (clients and partners) to grow your community impact through joint initiatives.

It may be possible and preferable to align your community engagement with the goals of your business. If your corporation seeks to grow business, consider what community causes are most important to your potential customers and invest there. If employee retention is key to your success, align your giving with employee interests. As with any program your business might undertake, be sure to have a plan for measuring the community impact you’re achieving… then communicate that impact to key partners, customers and influencers.

BY THE NUMBERS METHODOLOGY The survey instrument for this study was developed through a collaborative process between Corona Insights and a committee of representatives from B:CIVIC, University of Denver, the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, DaVita and TIAA. All surveys were conducted online in October and November of 2017. Sample sizes for each question may vary due to nonresponses. B:CIVIC began in 2014 to promote and advance corporate social responsibility for the betterment of all communities and businesses.

ABOUT B:CIVIC / WWW.BCIVIC.ORG 1. Develop a culture in Colorado — and beyond — where all businesses and business associations know that investing in the community is a smart, viable business strategy. 2. Provide a strong and effective voice showcasing and inspiring business engagement. 3. Assist with increasing the resources (including dollars, time and in-kind) invested by companies in support of local causes and community organizations. 4. Serve as a strategic forum and meeting place to bring businesses of all sizes and levels of experience together to share knowledge and expertise about effective community engagement strategies and programming. 5. Create an enabling environment for impact initiatives so that businesses and community organizations can engage effectively together to address critical local needs.

For more information about effective community engagement, go to:

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