A philanthropic approach to business

Everybody knows that there are two main reasons why people donate their time and money to support good causes. One is to make a difference to either their local community or a global issue that is close to our heart, and two, whether we like to admit it or not is to make ourselves feel good.

When it comes to businesses, it should come as no surprise that being seen to support a particular charity or charities is not only good for those particular organizations but also good for your bottom line. What’s more is that charities know this and, instead of being cynical of your support, they will make it as easy as possible for you to donate to them.

Created by Alex Friedman, the biggest and perhaps most well-known philanthropic fund across the globe is of course the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Overseeing strategic planning and being chief financial officer, Friedman has managed an investment fund that continues to make the biggest impact around the world. However, whether you’re a large multi-national corporation serving the B2B market or a small local business dealing directly with the general public, there are many good reasons why you should dig deep and help to make a difference.

Building your brand

Taking part in sponsored fundraising events is a great way to raise awareness of your company. Team photos and news of how much money you’ve raised are perfect to include in your marketing and can be used in press releases, customer newsletters, on your website and, of course, on your social media platforms. Being seen by the outside world to be charitable and to be ‘giving back’ to society is a great way to build customer loyalty and is also good to include on business award applications.

The feel-good factor

As individuals, many members of your workforce will want to ‘do their bit’ by either volunteering or fundraising. However, due to long working hours or family commitments, it is not always easy for them to find the time to do so. By putting together a program of charitable activities that they can take part in, you’ll be making them feel better about their charitable giving and the company they work for.

Team spirit

Many fundraising opportunities give employees who simply only say hello to each other every morning the chance to actually get to know one another. Taking part in corporate fundraising activities can bring together people from different divisions or offices within the organization and also from departments that rarely have a reason to interact. Engendering a good team spirit, this camaraderie will continue throughout working hours, helping to increase productivity and also enhancing the working environment.

Making a difference

Even through times of prosperity, there will always be sections of society that need a helping hand. It is important to remember that many of your workforce and your client base will be affected by a range of different challenges throughout their lives and whether those are medical, environmental or financial issues, it is in the best interest of your business to help. As well as the marketing opportunities already mentioned, on a purely altruistic level, this will give your business a real presence in people’s minds that lasts much longer than any paid-for advertisement.

Spoiled for choice

With so many worthy causes to support when it comes to choosing a charity, it is important to pick the right one. By selecting ones that mean something to you personally, as a company or that serves your local community, you’ll find a greater sense of perspective and allow your employees to see for themselves the difference that the money you donate or raise really makes. From a purely business perspective, choosing a charity that will give you the greatest exposure will enable you to extend your influence in the marketplace. However, you should always be careful to align yourself to one that has meaning to your target demographic without having any sensitive religious, political or social agendas that could alienate people.

Standing out from the crowd

In a competitive marketplace, enabling your clientele to differentiate between your brand and that of a rival is imperative. Recent studies show that when it comes to a nearly identical product in terms of both price and quality, an overwhelming majority of American consumers would switch brands to buy from a company that they know supports a good cause. It is important for them to know that a business is engaging with their community on a local level and also that your own business practices are responsible and in alignment to any charity you support. In essence, practice what you preach!

Image Credit: philanthropic via Lightspring/Shutterstock

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