From the surface, corporate philanthropy appears easy. Choose causes that matter most to your employees and communities, then support nonprofits in those areas with time, money, or both. If only it were that easy. Finding the right charitable solution for your company is imperative. Not only does it affect the philanthropic impact you can make, but also your employee recruiting and retention strategies, job satisfaction rate, consumer reputation, and the overall success of your charitable program(s).
Greater Horizons helps hundreds of businesses across the country further their corporate philanthropy with comprehensive charitable solutions, including disaster relief, finding nonprofits focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), employee assistance funds, scholarship programs, matching gift programs, and corporate foundations or donor-advised funds.
Business owners and corporate leaders count on the team at Greater Horizons for answers to their complex questions about charitable solutions. The following are a few of the ones we field most often, and you may be wondering about, as well.
How quickly can Greater Horizons help a company provide funds for disaster relief?
Time is of the essence when a disaster or tragic event occurs, and many companies are compelled to send aid to those affected as quickly as possible. It is within your power to swiftly help relieve suffering. Here’s how…
Greater Horizons can have an online disaster relief donation portal set up and ready to go within 24 hours. Anyone can visit your portal and contribute money via a debit or credit card.
Disaster relief funds are very donor-driven. You choose which 501(c)(3) nonprofit to support during the disaster and direct the Greater Horizons team where to send the funds. You can support emergency assistance for national or international disasters; however, international aid is usually sent through a U.S.-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
When an organization wants to support diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts, what are the charitable solutions available?
For our corporate donors interested in focusing on DEI, Greater Horizons centers our work on looking for nonprofits that focus on the following:
- System-level change as opposed to direct delivery of services to individuals or families.
- Grassroots organizing, movement building, and advocacy.
- Building leadership within those communities most directly impacted.
These are just a few national best practices associated with DEI nonprofits and social justice initiatives. Based on your corporate values, Greater Horizons helps your company support DEI-driven nonprofits that are creating change for the better in your community and the world.
What is an employee assistance fund? And how can a company establish one?
First, it’s important to understand the types of charitable solutions available to support your employees in their time of need. Your company, your employees, and others may donate to these programs through a variety of means.
Employee Disaster Relief Funds are to support employees who are victims of “qualified disasters” as defined by the IRS.
Employee Hardship Funds are to support employees who have suffered a personal hardship (examples may include, but are not limited to, employees who have been a victim of a crime, natural disaster that is not a presidentially-declared disaster, house fire, automobile or other accident, or have experienced a medical emergency or a sudden death in the family) and demonstrate financial need based on objective criteria.
Greater Horizons can assist corporate donors with Employee Assistance Programs if they use our other services, such as a corporate donor-advised fund, employee matching gifts, grantmaking competitions, etc. Our Employee Assistance Program services include:
- Assistance with establishing an assessment checklist for employees needing assistance.
- Creation of an online application for employees to submit requests for assistance.
- Maintenance of objective criteria for assistance, online application, and award and denial notifications.
- Management of all applications for assistance and supporting documentation of need.
- Confirming applicants for employment verification prior to reviews.
- Serving as the review committee for all applications.
- Providing a list of applicants chosen to receive assistance.
- Preparing and sending award and denial notifications to applicants.
- Processing and verifying payments to employee or to vendor on behalf of employees.
- Maintaining a database of all applications for assistance, awards and status.
What is the best way for a company to approach charitable solutions for scholarships?
Setting up a scholarship program to help students reach their educational goals is easy to do at Greater Horizons. Here are steps you take to set up your company’s scholarship fund:
- The first thing you’ll need to do is name your fund. This could be the easiest or the most difficult part of creating your fund. Whatever the name you choose, the one rule is that it must be followed by a descriptor, such as fund or foundation. Generally, funds are named after a person(s) or an aspiration, be it from a phrase, goal, book, poem, dream, etc. Get more guidance on naming a scholarship (or charitable fund).
- The minimum amount required to open a scholarship fund at Greater Horizons is $100,000. Contribute to your fund with tax-deductible gifts of cash, stock or other assets. Contributions can be made at any time, and others who wish to support your fund can also make tax-deductible contributions.
- Choose how contributions to your fund are invested. Your trusted financial advisor can manage your assets, or you can select a custom mix using one or more of Greater Horizons’ investment pools.
- Determine the scholarship criteria, including student eligibility, financial need and academic requirements, and the number of scholarships and amounts you will award annually. The minimum annual award for each recipient is $1,000.
- Recommend a scholarship advisory selection committee to choose the recipients.
Greater Horizons can work with you every step of the way as scholarships are awarded. Our involvement can include:
- Assistance determining scholarship criteria, designing the scholarship application, and working with the selection committee as they review applications and select recipients.
- Publishing scholarship details (requirements, deadlines, etc.) online. Students submit applications electronically, and selection committee members review applications through an online scholarship portal.
- Verifying the eligibility of recipients before issuing checks.
- Providing instructions to the recipient and school or university involved in activating the scholarship.
- Processing all scholarship payments and award letters, and sending written denials to those who did not receive a scholarship.
- Maintaining records for the fund and a history of recipients.
- 24/7 access to your fund’s activity through Greater Horizons’ online donor portal, which is set up with a general application that matches eligible applicants with other scholarships.
How do matching gift programs work?
One of the most impactful ways for companies to align with the causes that matter most to their employees is to add a matching gift program to the benefits package. Since a matching gift encourages donations, many companies offer matching gift programs to motivate employee contributions to nonprofits. Ultimately, employees feel more engaged with their employer and the charity.
A matching gift is a charitable donation that is tied to a separate contribution to the same nonprofit by another donor, in this case your employee. Here is how a matching gift program works:
- Your company sets up a corporate donor-advised fund and determines match guidelines.
- Employees log on to the Greater Horizons employee giving portal and submit match requests.
- We review requests and send approved matching gifts to charities.
Watch a video about how companies expand their corporate philanthropy programs through matching gifts.
How does a company establish a corporate foundation to support a mission?
Private foundations. Corporate foundations. Donor-advised funds. All are terms used when talking about corporate philanthropy and a means to an end of supporting charities.
A corporate donor-advised fund can serve as your company’s corporate foundation. It is a popular option as it increases your company’s visibility in the community and encourages others to see your company in a positive light, not to mention the tax advantages. More importantly, giving back is important to you and your employees because you want to make a difference.
Greater Horizons establishes corporate donor-advised funds to help companies fulfill their philanthropic missions as easily and effectively as possible. Not only can we help establish a corporate foundation that maximizes the tax and budget aspects of corporate philanthropy, we:
- Can organize corporate giving under one structure.
- Do not require minimums for contributions to funds or grants to charities.
- Keep fees low, starting at just $21 a month.
You can review our sample Corporate Donor-Advised Fund Agreement to see the information we will need to create your custom fund.
How do I choose between a corporate donor-advised fund or a private foundation for my company?
Learn about the differences between a corporate donor-advised fund and a private foundation by watching a helpful video.
Have Complex Questions About Corporate Charitable Solutions?
Greater Horizons is happy to go over charitable solutions for your company. If you have questions, even the most complex ones, feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org or 866.627.3440 for the answers.