Marathon Strategies


By: Eli Scheinholtz, Senior Communications Associate

Amid the near-constant stream of negative news brought by the coronavirus pandemic, corporate America has provided a glimmer of hope. Companies of all sizes have risen to the occasion through extraordinary giving and social impact initiatives, helping to take a leading role in the response to the crisis and lifting up their communities.

The way that companies react to this crisis will become a part of their lasting legacy. But even before the coronavirus pandemic upended our lives, some corporate leaders did not understand how to make good on their company’s mission and purpose, and now even the most well-intentioned companies find themselves scrambling to find ways to effectively make a difference.

The simplest way to give back is to make financial contributions to nonprofits in need. And many companies are showing tremendous leadership with their charitable donations during this crisis. However, while large corporations receive worthy praise for their multimillion-dollar donations, there are many other ways that companies, especially those with smaller budgets, can make meaningful contributions. Here are a few ways companies can give back.

1. Consider in-kind contributions.

Financial contributions help give organizations flexibility to purchase needed goods and services, but non-monetary contributions can also play a critical role in supporting nonprofits. Consider what problems your company is equipped to help solve and turn those skills and resources into valuable in-kind contributions.

2. Offer your expertise.

Like other companies, many nonprofits and community organizations may find themselves without answers on how to meet the ever-evolving needs of their clients and communities during these unprecedented times — particularly as many are facing increased demand for their services.

Offering your technical expertise or access to your network of stakeholders can help nonprofit partners navigate some of the new challenges that they may be facing. Providing assistance with website management, for example, can help nonprofits that are overrun with demand, and can often be as valuable as financial contributions.

3. Think local.

Given the all-encompassing scale of the coronavirus, helping everyone in need across the country or even the world can seem overwhelming. But focusing on those facing hardship in your own community can be a great starting point.

Donating meals for healthcare workers at your local hospital, for example, can help those on the front lines of the pandemic while also providing an opportunity to support independent restaurants that are struggling to stay open.

4. Engage your employees for virtual volunteering.

With social distancing and stay-at-home orders keeping many companies dispersed, it can be difficult for employers to engage their workforce for social impact initiatives. However, many nonprofits are turning to virtual volunteering to help meet the needs of their clients and allow people to help from the safety of their homes.

Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service, has developed a new platform to connect people with ways to help virtually, such as translating texts into different languages for NGOs and nonprofits or tutoring children who are out of school and have limited access to their teachers.

5. Get creative with your CSR

The coronavirus has created a new normal — and your company’s social impact response can be equally unconventional. Many companies are taking creative approaches to meeting the growing needs of community-based organizations and nonprofits.

Dozens of distilleries across the country have transitioned their operations to manufacturing hand sanitizer, while other brands have transformed their retail production lines to developing personal protective equipment like gowns and masks for healthcare workers.

The coronavirus pandemic has become a defining moment for business leaders across the country. Make sure that your decisions today will be remembered tomorrow.

For companies thinking about how they can meet the moment in combatting the coronavirus, Marathon Strategies offers a daily roundup of giving opportunities for nonprofit organizations and state governments and spotlights corporate contributions in our daily newsletter, COVID-19 Covered.