Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is growing in popularity, from the largest multinational companies like Procter & Gamble or Unilever to small firms like Give Realty or Hotels for Hope.

In order to ensure that giving back is most fulfilling, businesses should take the five steps below for meaningful philanthropy.

  1. Be strategic. Being strategic is hard work because it is natural to want to support everything, but narrowing down to just a few areas of support creates more impact and avoids spreading energies too thin.
  2. Choose carefully. There are many cautionary tales of nonprofits that have undervalued, misused or squandered donations. Take the time to investigate recipient nonprofits for a better chance of making a good investment.
  3. Time is money. While cold, hard cash is always a welcome gift for a nonprofit, two other forms of business philanthropy are also valuable: volunteer time and donated products or services.
  4. Evaluate your gifts. No company would neglect to evaluate its own results, and a business should not invest hard-earned resources in philanthropy without knowing the impact.
  5. Tell your story. Humility may lead to keeping philanthropy anonymous or not “blowing your own horn.” However well told stories about the positive results of giving back can be very inspirational for other businesses and very engaging for employees.

Whether giving time, money, product, service or all of the above, be sure to invest wisely to get the most for the business and its employees alike.

Read the full article about five meaningful philanthropy tips for businesses by Debbie Johnson at Texas CEO.