3 Key Ways to Track Your Return on Giving

Most of us are familiar with the philanthropic term “return on giving” (ROG). In the world of corporate social responsibility, the concept of ROG helps us to measure the effectiveness and overall impact of our giving programs and outlets. However, unlike its cousin ROI (return on investment), ROG cannot be calculated from a simple formula, but can be derived based on multiple factors.

For instance, when we look at our company’s ROI, it’s easy to calculate our success because we are strictly dealing with numbers and the bottom line. When it comes to measuring ROG, however, the success and impact of our giving programs cannot always be expressed as a dollar amount; we need to dig a little deeper. For example, let’s say Company X has donated $50,000 to a nonprofit of their choosing. In addition to the monetary donation, this company also has quarterly events where employees volunteer their time at the same nonprofit. The ROG for this company would include the total number of services provided from the monetary donation, the amount of volunteer hours logged, and the number of employees engaged in the program.


Although corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been a popular practice for years, it is constantly evolving to reflect the culture and social atmosphere we live in. Through it all, however, there still remains one question that is difficult to answer: How do we effectively track the impact of our CSR programs? In other words, how do our companies measure the effectiveness of their giving in order to share their successes with their employees, investors, and customers? The truth is, tracking methods will vary from company to company and will depend on the specific goals of each program. We have outlined 3 essential components to tracking the impact of your CSR programs below:

  1. Choose the Right Technology - Online solutions that can facilitate the tracking process are key to compiling data for impact reports. Ideally, you’d want to use a platform like DonationXchange that manages all your giving initiatives in once place, so you can track, compare, and administer programs more easily. With DonationXchange technology, companies can see a high level overview of the efficiency of their CSR initiatives, along with more detailed data for each giving program based on outcomes and impact measurements. 
  2. Build Strategic Partnerships - If possible, choose to partner with organizations who are already tracking the results of their efforts and can provide the data needed for you to assess the impact of your contributions. The data you’ll need will vary for each corporate giving program, but in almost every case you will want to try to collect both quantitative and qualitative data from the organizations you are working with. Not all nonprofits have a system set up to track impact for each of their donors, so it is sometimes difficult to gather data specific to your charitable efforts. It is best to work with the organization ahead of time to determine what impact data will be needed both during the program and after it is completed.
  3. Survey Employees - Gaining feedback from your employees will enable you to evaluate the effectiveness of your CSR programs in terms of employee satisfaction and engagement. Creating an annual survey on employee giving programs is a good place to start. However, asking for feedback on a more regular basis, while experiences are still fresh in employees’ minds, will yield better results. For example, sending out a survey a few days after a volunteer event to gain insight from participating employees is a great way to monitor your programs throughout the year. This will help you find ways to improve on a regular basis instead of just once a year.

So now that you have a starting point for measuring your ROG, some of you may be wondering why it’s so important. Stay tuned for our next post where we will dive a little deeper into the benefits of effectively and successfully tracking your return on giving.

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