Mark Wilcox of Sterling Seacrest Pritchard: The Importance of a Corporate Giving Plan

By: Mark Wilcox

Thursday, May 25th, 2023

The Savannah area is brimming with incredible not-for-profit organizations that deserve both our monetary donations and volunteer time. As a company, Sterling Seacrest Pritchard has always been deeply committed to supporting community events and playing an active role in local organizations as board members, volunteers, and philanthropists. But we’ve also learned that creating a strategy around philanthropy and multi-generational participation is essential for making a lasting impact.

So let’s dive in and explore how we can leverage our corporate giving to make a real difference together. Sterling Seacrest Pritchard builds our Corporate Giving Plan with the following structure:

• Quarterly Development Meetings – Our market locations each have a community-oriented committee that meets quarterly to discuss potential contributions and participate in events where we have already solidified our support. The committee structure ensures we remain involved in various causes and are strategic with our community funding. We learn about more opportunities with the committee structure and have many hands-on deck when volunteer opportunities or events arise. We’ve all attended an event where one of the corporate sponsors is the dreaded “empty table,” SSP can avoid that by engaging our team in representing the company.

• Culture of Participation – One of the most rewarding ways to invest in your community is through participation in civic and not-for-profit organizations. We encourage our new producers and account executives to select an organization(s) to become involved through service and action, allowing them the growth their networks amongst community leaders, support endeavors they are passionate about, and introduce our company to new causes.

• Budgeting – With the number of contribution requests that we receive throughout the year from different causes, it is critical that we budget to maximize our impact. As a corporation, we ask that the organization reach out the year before the event with their request. However, we take it further and encourage our employees to submit proposals for causes they would like to support throughout the following year. An outline with philanthropic priorities allows our leadership team and the community-oriented committees to draft a solid budget with a plan to contribute to and participate in causes throughout our fiscal year.

• Additional Allowances – Within our Corporate Sponsorship Budget, we set aside a general allowance to account for requests made after the budgeting exercise. This allowance permits us to participate with a lower-tier corporate gift such as a hole sponsor, patron, or table sponsor. In addition, it introduces Sterling Seacrest Pritchard to new causes to consider in the following year’s planning process.

• Option for One Large Annual Contribution – To encourage employee participation, we set aside a specific amount for a substantial gift to a not-for-profit at the end of our fiscal year. This contribution positively impacts a community cause and gains buy-in from an internal perspective. Our team can put forth their preferred initiatives and vote on allocating the funds.

The Sterling Seacrest Pritchard process for charitable giving and strategic community involvement is ever-evolving like anything in business. Our leadership often debates casting a wide net versus casting a deep net. You can cast a wide net by helping numerous organizations reach their goals or a deep net, making a more significant impact for one or two organizations. There is a need for both, and our company leans on our community-minded committees to find the balance.

Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” Our commitment to investing in the community and providing boots-on-the-ground support to local non-profits is a foundational principle for Sterling Seacrest Pritchard. Our Corporate Giving Plan is guided by the individuals who bring their unique perspectives, strengths, and interests to the table and is solidified by the example and trust set forth by our leadership.

At the end of the day, we contribute to these causes because they provide essential resources for our communities, and we believe in supporting others in need. However, we are fully aware that our contributions will reach larger audiences and make a more positive difference within our community if we strategically allocate our resources through our time, gifts, and talents.

As seen in Savannah CEO