Susan Hyatt, author of Strategy for Good, offers tips and strategies to enhance the effectiveness of your company's community involvement and corporate philanthropy programs.

January 5, 2012   Posted by: Susan Hyatt

Your 2012 Action Plan for Good

Did you get your New Year’s Resolutions set for your company’s 2012 strategy for good?  Did you set specific goals?  Did you develop or revisit your written strategy and action plan with goals, tasks, and responsibilities clearly defined?  If you did not do a plan yet, it is definitely not too late…start one today!

The beginning of a new fiscal/calendar year is a perfect time to revisit your company’s strategy for good and to make specific plans for the coming year.  If you don’t have a written strategy and action plan, it is way too easy to dilute your impact by being all over the map with your contributions, become overextended with your scarce resources, and cause confusion among employees and other stakeholders about the focus and true commitment of your company’s philanthropic actions.  Also, without a written plan as your map, it is hard to know when you have achieved what you set out to do.  While the feel good part of giving back and supporting causes is great, there is the potential for much more significant impact for all concerned with just a bit more planning and strategy.

The following are the two minimum steps we suggest all businesses take at this time of year.  

1.  Revisit last year’s contributions – even if only briefly.  

  • What organizations or causes did our company support over the past year?
  • What process did we use to select them?  How did that work?
  • How did we support them (dollars, in-kind, people, commerce)?
  • What was the total dollar value of all of our contributions (not just the tax deductable amount)?
  • What percentage of either our gross revenue or net profit was our total contribution?
  • What significant benefit did our support leverage for the community?  For our company?
  • Were our community involvement efforts consciously tied to our business goals?
  • What lessons did we learn this last year?  What do we want to be sure to do again?  What do we want to change?

2.  Set goals and targets for 2012. 

The following series of questions are meant as food for thought as you or a committee of employees and/or other stakeholders make your 2012 plans.

  • What resources (cash, in-kind, people) do we anticipate sharing in 2012? How much of each?
  • Do we have options for engaging in commerce-based activities with nonprofits?
  • What is the target percentage for our overall contribution? (1%, 2%, 3%, 5%, 10%, 100%,??)  Of sales? Profit?
  • What is the targeted total dollar value?
  • Are there financial trends for our company that we need to pay attention to when thinking about our community involvement?
  • Given this projected level of resources, what strategy will we use to allocate our resources this year?
  • What causes or organizations will we focus on working with or supporting this year?  Why?
  • How will we select them?  Is there a process or is it first come, first served?
  • Do any of these link with our other business goals for 2012?  If so, how?
  • Are there times of year that are not good for heavy involvement due to existing commitments and work flow?
  • How will we time our various types of involvement for this year?  One big project?  Something each quarter? Ongoing?  Or…?
  • What are our specific goals?
  • What action steps do we need to achieve our goals?
  • Who (person, department, team or??) will have responsibility for which pieces?
  • What are our tracking and reporting expectations?
  • How and with whom will we share information about our effort?

Hopefully, you already have instituted in-depth systems for both these processes.  If not, this should help get you started.  If you need help, send us an email at

Comments Off on Your 2012 Action Plan for Good
About the author

Susan Hyatt -