Bridging the for-profit and non-profit world

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Corporate social responsibility is an exciting area creating growth in social impact, but getting going can also feel daunting, especially for a small to medium size business. To help your business embrace corporate social responsibility, we have listed ten tangible ways you can help create a bridge between the for-profit and non-profit world to increase your positive social impact and enrich your corporate image, work culture, and employee satisfaction at the same time.

1. Choose a cause to champion in your corporation 

When choosing to incorporate a sense of corporate social responsibility in your for-profit business, a bit of research, brainstorming and deliberation is needed to ensure a right match is established between your business and chosen charitable cause.  Typically, businesses often choose a cause related to their for-profit.  Do you sell bicycles?  Support a charity providing bicycles to underprivileged children.  Your customers or clients will easily understand why you chose to support the cause, and your corporate social responsibility strategy will easily configure with your business brand.

Corporate social responsibility requires a plan
Corporate social responsibility requires a plan

If your cause does not jump out at you right away, take an employee survey to see what causes your team cares about most, or even ask your customers. Both employees and customers will appreciate the ability to offer suggestions, and they will even feel a connection to your chosen charitable cause by weaving them in as part of the deliberation process.

2. Shine a spotlight

With over 86,000 charities across the country, there is boundless philanthropic work taking place in each and every neighbourhood across the country.  With budgets stretched thin, many small and medium sized charities are limited to the way in which they are able to share their story and impact through marketing, communications, and outreach.

Businesses can easily shine a spotlight on a variety of community organizations doing great work in their community through easy and creative means.  Hosting a networking event?  Invite local non-profits to attend free of charge and set up a booth to help them share their charitable work and gain new corporate support from attendees.  Your business can help make an impact by helping charities spread their story and reach a wider audience willing to support their amazing charitable work.

3. Say thank you

Your employees work hard and your clients are loyal; every once in a while, it’s great to thank them just for that.  Using a CanadaHelps Charity Gift Card, you can give the gift of giving by allowing your recipient to allocate gift card funds to the charity(ies) of their choice on  Give thanks and give back – what could be better?


4. Pay what you can

Similar to what our friends at PayPal and Jimmy’s Coffee did way back when on GivingTuesday 2013, inspire your customers to pay what they can in lieu of the typical price of a product.  Pick a specific product and select a day to host the promotion, then all that’s left is to ask your customers to pay what they can to your chosen charity. Oftentimes, your customers will be compelled to give more than the actual price of the product, causing your business to generate an even greater impact through your corporate social responsibility strategy.

5. Become an Affiliate

Recently launched at, businesses and online content creators now have the ability to encourage charitable donations from their generous online visitors as a CanadaHelps Affiliate Partner.  As an Affiliate, your business registers at no cost and gives back in a unique way by lending us your online audience to help us work towards our charitable mission: we make charitable giving easy for all Canadians and ultimately strive to increase charitable giving in Canada.



6. Set up a volunteer program

With the rise in corporate social responsibility strategy in big business, many organizations implement volunteer programs as part of their strategy to get employees giving back.  As part of such strategies, employees are oftentimes allocated a few days per year to venture offsite and volunteer for a charitable cause of their choice, all while representing your business.  Employees can choose which cause to support and lend their knowledge, skills, and valuable talent to –- a contribution any charitable cause will undoubtedly appreciate, and an opportunity employees will enjoy as they feel great giving back.

7. Give a corporate grant

It is incredible to see how impactful a small grant can be.  Projects can finally be put into motion, an unaddressed need can finally be met, or a movement can be sparked.  From playgrounds to murals, a small sum or large grant will surely make all the difference.

Announced by businesses big and small charitable do-gooders can pitch a grant project, or granters can put out the call for projects and ideas specific to one social issue or topic.  But businesses can also make it mean even more. Consider naming the grant in honour of a hard-working and generous long-term employee, or a loyal customer making a difference in your community.  This investment will leave a lasting and noticeable legacy in your community, all credited to your charitable efforts.

8. Spark social innovation

Entrepreneurs in the for-profit sector are risk-taking, innovative, visionaries willing to go the distance even if there is only a possibility of reaching success.  It takes guts to start a venture on your own, and these qualities are not exclusive to the for-profit sector; non-profit leaders are just as gutsy to take a risk and start something new.

Imagine what could be done when these two sectors, as well as their leaders, collide.  Collaboration would finally ensue and issues typically tackled by non-profit leaders would finally be undertaken by two sectors, together.  Knowledge and information would be shared and a will to solve our most pressing societal issues would supervene.  These partnerships can link a business with expertise in distribution to help a small charity working to efficiently distribute medication and bed nets to various regions affected by malaria in sub-Saharan Africa.  Corporations investing in green roof research and development can partner with a local environmental charity to share knowledge and research with the intention of developing something even better than either could solely do on their own.  Imagine all of the possibilities that can arise when the for-profit and non-profit sector collide to spark innovation when addressing our most pressing societal issues.

9. Be kind and give in-kind 

As a business, charitable giving doesn’t always mean issuing a cheque to your chosen charitable cause.  Giving can easily involve doing what you do best: give your business products and services in-kind.  From printing, to website management, signage, fundraiser cupcakes, or even technology, countless non-profits rely on in-kind business donations to support their charitable cause.

10. Get involved with GivingTuesday

As a member of the for-profit sector, you surely know of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but have you heard of GivingTuesday?

Following two days good for the economy and your business, GivingTuesday is the following Tuesday which is focused on giving back.  It is a day where we celebrate and partake in both philanthropy and acts of kindness, and there are countless ways to get your business involved in the fun.


Do you have an idea when it comes to corporate social responsibility and how to get businesses giving? Join the conversation and tweet them to us @canadahelps!

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