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I am in the process of trying to raise funds for the Jimmy Fund as part of an event that I am participating in (with another subsidiary of the parent company). I have been considering asking the CEO if the company can make a contribution to this cause; however, I don't want to put my career at risk if this is inappropriate. The company often gives money to charities and good causes; otherwise, I wouldn't be considering asking.

My questions are:

  1. Would this be considered a donation solicitation, as far as HR is concerned, since I am asking the company and not individuals?
  2. Would this be an inappropriate thing to ask if I have no personal relationship with the CEO?
  3. Should I ask my supervisor instead even though I know he will have no authority in the matter?
  • Should a CEO be obliged to donate to a charity? – Jim G. Jul 9 '13 at 17:17
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    It is not the ceo donating but the company... – BlueBird Jul 9 '13 at 19:12
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If it was me I would ask HR or my supervisor what the correct procedure is for this and if they allow you to fund-raise whilst at work.

To expand a little on this, each company will normally have some sort of policy on charities or fund-raising at work - doing the wrong thing could result in disciplinary action or similar because you haven't followed the company procedure, so it's always best to ask first and get it right first time.

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    Agreed, individual procedure can change dramatically between companies, the best way to go about it will be to find out the exact procedures at your company. – Rhys Jul 9 '13 at 15:53
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    Hi user, I suggest expanding this answer out a bit to maybe provide an explanation and explain why this is important. Despite the upvotes, I've strongly considered removing this post since it doesn't meet the guidelines for good subjective answers. Please see the bottom of the Help Center - Don't Ask page to see a list of the guidelines. Good luck! :) – jmort253 Jul 10 '13 at 6:33
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    I've added a little more on the background behind my answer. – user319940 Jul 10 '13 at 9:15
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Some companies have a program of matching funds contributed to charities. They might have a maximum amount they will match for each employee. Some will also send funds to a charity based on volunteer hours contributed by the employee.

If HR has a produce for donations to charities they should have a reference to it on the HR website or the employee manual. The company may also have a community outreach department, since they frequently use some of these donations/sponsorships to show that they are a contributing member of their communities. If the company is spread over many parts of the country they may even have a fund to be used by local offices, as a part of advertising.

The company will generally want to approve the charity before donating or matching funds to make sure that the charity is real and the employee is not getting a benefit.

Unless the company is very small, it would not be wise to start with the CEO.

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If your company has made other donations, then there is some process involved in making the decision and vetting the charities (making sure the donation is or is not tax deductible). Simply ask your fiscal department about this process and who you should talk to about a charity.

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I'm not sure if this is enough for a full answer, but I think that if you end up asking the CEO, don't ask him to donate. Instead, ask that they make some sort of announcement to the company about your charity, through an email blast or the like. This is not only a much easier/less risky request (it's asking them to throw their weight around, rather than shell out) but also likely to result in them donating something, AND putting the cause out there for everyone to see.

Still run it by HR first, or bring it up with our boss/mid-level management, or even the CEO's secretary before marching right into their office.

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Does your company have a marketing department?

Companies are capitalistic. The reason why companies donate money to causes is not because they are good-hearted, it's because they want to improve their public image. Supporting charities is thus part of the marketing strategy. So you should send your proposal to the marketing department, and focus your proposal on how the donation can be used for maximum public effect.

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