Chris Hammond of Corporate Giving Corporation sat down with WashingtonExec to discuss the importance of philanthropic endeavors for corporations and working with nonprofits to serve the communities where they reside. Hammond’s company is dedicated to this mission with the broader goal of bringing about positive change through nonprofit and corporate collaboration. He also outlined the strategies they implement in reaching this goal and the mistakes corporations make in attempting to implement Corporate Social Responsibility programs on their own.
What is CGC?
Corporate Giving Connection is a full service development and corporate social responsibility consulting firm focused on two areas. We work with nonprofit organizations to supplement their resources by offering a broad range of marketing, fundraising and other services based on their specific growth goals. We also give philanthropic guidance to corporations to enhance their CSR programs and maximize their corporate giving efforts.
CEO Chris Hammond who has an extensive background in the nonprofit space, and Chief Operating Officer Brandon McCarty who served in the special forces, both have a passion for serving their communities and share a philanthropic vision of global change through the strategic collaboration of nonprofits and corporations.
Why should our readers be interested in the services you offer?
As the world becomes more socially conscious than ever, CSR programs are no longer optional for corporations that want to be successful. It’s becoming a requirement in order to be competitive for talent and for sales. CGC provides innovative, strategic approaches to CSR so that corporate giving becomes mutually beneficial to the nonprofit and the corporation by choosing the right programs, engaging employees, and communicating efforts to key audiences.
What makes CGC different from all of the other marketing consultant agencies?
Each approach we create is built and catered 100 percent to the specific client, so we can choose from our diversified team of innovative experts and scale accordingly depending on the size of the company and the desired outcome.
We personalize the experience to understand exactly what the client needs and then deliver an innovative strategy to achieve it. For example, the Vicente Ferrer Foundation is launching in the U.S. and CGC created a virtual reality video shot in India putting a personal face on the people that VFF helps. This video will premiere at the VFF USA launch party in D.C. giving the press a unique angle that shows how cutting-edge technology can serve socially conscious efforts.
What strategy do you use when advising a nonprofit client about where to invest?
We do our best to become a part of the organization in order to truly understand and address the issues and maximize the potential. We use a Four Phase approach with clients:
1. Diagnose – Understand their goals through structured diagnostic conversations.
2. Collaborate – Identify the right experts from the team to achieve those goals.
3. Strategize – Work with the client to build a roadmap for implementation.
4. Implementation – Put the strategy into action.
What mistakes do you see nonprofits making most when marketing themselves?
Nonprofits should think strategically like any other successful business. This means they should be consistently looking to innovate the implementation of their mission and involve their donor base in ways that drive engagement. The most common mistake is that nonprofits don’t always seek the help they need, so they require valuable internal team members to wear too many hats which can slow down their growth and the impact of their mission.
Where is the biggest growth opportunity for nonprofit organizations in the U.S.?
Nonprofits should enthusiastically embrace new technology. For example, the new crowdfunding platforms can be an amazing tool for nonprofits. Organizations with a potential for large amount of individual donors that they can reach through communication efforts often remain untapped. Also, nonprofits should market themselves more like for-profit companies. There’s not much difference between marketing a product and marketing a mission.
What are the benefits to a corporation in having an effective CSR program?
According to SustainableBrands.com, “more than nine in 10 millennials would switch brands to one associated with a cause (91 percent vs. 85 percent U.S. average).” Millennials are now the biggest consumer market in the U.S., so a socially responsible corporation that effectively markets their efforts will see an ROI increase. Tom’s Shoes is a great example of this trend. Another huge benefit is talent acquisition and retention. Corporations that engage their employees in their CSR efforts will see an improvement in recruiting, especially of millennials.
What mistakes do you see corporations making most when they implement a CSR program?
Similar to what we outlined above, there are three areas where we think many corporations can improve their CSR approach.
1) Market your efforts. Strategically communicate with consumers, employees, investors and other key audiences to make sure they know about your CSR commitment.
2) Make sure you’re being strategic with where you invest your resources. Find a cause that matches the vision of the corporation to enable more organic marketing.
3) Engage employees. Focus on programs that can be managed from the bottom up and then have employees execute the programs for the most impact.
Why did you decide to expand from your nonprofit focus into corporate CSR implementation?
Corporations have a lot of resources and are able to make a significant, lasting impact for good on the world. It’s their responsibility to be socially responsible and give back in a consistent way, but we also believe that with the right programs and the right marketing, a corporation will benefit from their giving as much as the recipients do.
When you’re working with both sides like CGC does, it’s easier to connect companies that align well with each other and to coordinate that connection in a way that makes it mutually beneficial to both, and maximizes ROI for both. To us, these are complementary efforts, so it was a natural expansion.