'How much does it cost?' How to budget for Corporate Community Involvement

When looking at your company’s community expenditure, consider it from both the holistic perspective of what the entire company spends – this is what you will need to report to your stakeholders; and from the operational view – when you are running a team or department responsible for Community Involvement.

A Corporate Community Involvement budget could cover all of the following areas:

·         Community Involvement projects

·         Employee Involvement – including elements of Employee Volunteering,  
          Matched Time and Matched Funding

·         Community Involvement staff and training costs

·         Corporate and In-kind Giving

·         Expenses for Consultants

·         A budget for Communications activities

·         Expenses for Measurement & Evaluation

·         Memberships in local or international Community Involvement
          organizations

·         Developing your organization’s Community Involvement further, including
          technical or product R&D

This chapter gives some outlines of how much to budget in each area and issues to look out for. It will always depend on the industry and country in which you operate when deciding whether where you are investing money in the community supports your overall Community Involvement strategy. Consider the guiding principle of ‘Fewer, Bigger, Better’ when deciding how to focus your projects.

Tax, law and accounting are all critical when budgeting for any community projects for your company and your charitable partners. Speaking to experts in these areas will help maximize the amount of money that can be spent on the project.

If you do this financial planning alongside your community partners, it helps lay the foundations for a successful relationship by making sure money does not become an issue of disagreement or dispute.

And if ever you or your partners suspect there has been an abuse of money anywhere connected to your project, act fast, transparently and comprehensively to stop it from contaminating the rest of your work together or your company’s – and/or your partnership’s – reputation.