Hawai‘i Community Foundation
Professional Advisors



Corporate Philanthropy for Family Businesses: Questions to Get Started

Family-owned businesses generate more than half of the country’s GDP. And yet, profits aren’t the only priority for most of these companies. Culture, community, and charity are also important values for this group.

Helping your clients ask the right questions can make a big difference in the success of their corporate philanthropy programs. Here are some sample questions to get started:

Getting Organized

  • Does the company have a strategy for prioritizing sponsorship requests, charity event invitations, and requests for donations?
  • Is the strategy based on the owners’ values, along with employee input?
  • What is the strategy for maintaining positive relations with charities whose requests the company turns down?
  • How are requests from employees handled?
  • Could a corporate donor-advised fund help streamline administrative load and better leverage tax strategies?

Engaging Employees

  • If the company has a community engagement program, how popular is it? For example, is there a matching gifts program and is that program being utilized?
  • Are employees eager to attend community events or sit at the company’s tables, or is it sometimes hard to fill seats?
  • Are there opportunities for employees to volunteer together at local nonprofits?
  • Has the company surveyed employees to learn about their favorite causes and the ways they prefer to give back?

Spreading the Word

  • How is the company letting employees and other stakeholders know about its community giving?
  • Is civic engagement publicized, or is the company’s approach to stay under the radar?
  • Do the employee handbook and recruiting materials describe community engagement opportunities for employees?

Hawai‘i Community Foundation can help you serve your family business clients by setting up a corporate donor-advised fund, assisting with a matching gifts program, creating donor-advised funds for employees, collaborating on a philanthropic component of a business sale, and more. To learn more, contact Jen-L W. Lyman, Director of Planned Giving & Advisor Relations, at (808) 566-5596 or jlyman@hcf-hawaii.org. We’re always available to answer your questions about philanthropy or schedule a personal consultation with you and your clients.