Whether your business is ready to scale or you’re still refining your minimum viable product, philanthropy makes good business sense. Even though it may feel like you never have enough time, there are plenty of reasons why you should factor charitable giving into your busy schedule. After all, there’s a reason why businesses give over $17.5 billion a year to philanthropic organisations.
Here are five ways philanthropy is good for your business.
By sharing your product, ideas or time, either within your local community or a larger charitable organisation, you can broaden your networks. When you’re building a business, networking is one of the most valuable skills you can have. The more people you know the more opportunity you have to find potential customers, business partners and even investors, which can be the difference between success and failure.
Being involved with philanthropic organisations allows you to showcase your business to a new group of people. And because you’re all working together towards the same cause, you also know that you share the same values.
Customers today don’t just want a great product or service. They increasingly also want to feel good about who they’re purchasing from. In fact, research has found that one in two consumers believe it’s important that a company shows a high level of social or environmental responsibility, and that it impacts their purchasing decision.
Whenever you talk about the charitable work your business does you can connect with people and endear them to your business’s broader objectives. By showing them that your business can be selfless, you can also influence people’s decision-making. After all, you’re not just another business, you’re part of something bigger. In a world where businesses can seem to come and go so quickly, being involved in charitable giving can show customers and potential partners that you’re thinking for the long-term.
Contributing to philanthropic organisations is also a way to show your customers what you believe in and value. Some organisations have built their entire brand on this and leveraged it to their advantage – just look at The Body Shop and TOMS and their initiatives around sustainability and community. They show how powerful philanthropy can be as a marketing tool.
According to the Deloitte Millennial Survey 2018, employees also want to be part of an organisation that gives back to their community in a positive way. By allowing your employees to be part of your organisation’s charitable giving, they can feel good about themselves and do something that is meaningful to them. You can even bring your team together by organising a day where they help out at a particular charity and spend some time together outside of the office.
The reality is that people want to work for organisations they feel good about and with leaders they respect. If contributing to the community is important to your people, then giving them the opportunity to do that as part of their work will only benefit your business. Research has found that up to 86% of engaged employees are loyal to their organisation. Other potential benefits include increased productivity, higher retention, and a generally happier workplace. We spend so much time at work, it makes sense to make it a pleasant place to be.
By spending time with new people and organisations, you may be able to see the world from a different perspective. This can enrich and inform your experiences and even help you develop new skills that you can use in your business.
Think of philanthropy like an education that you can’t get at school or on the job. It can help you look at problems from another perspective, identify creative ways to do things and even spark a new idea that could take your business in a whole new and exciting direction. Every interaction gives you the opportunity to learn and develop.
As an entrepreneur, you probably have very little time to devote to yourself. You’re so focused on getting your great idea off the ground that it can be hard to fit anything else in. That’s where philanthropy can actually help. By taking some time, no matter how little, to devote to a cause that’s greater than yourself, you can nourish your soul and refresh your mind. Often, just focusing on something else for a while gives you the break you need so you can return to the task at hand rejuvenated and raring to go.
There are many ways that your business can be involved in charitable giving. Whether it’s by volunteering with a not-for-profit organisation, donating your product or through cash donations. Some organisations set up regular payroll deductions, while others run fundraising events and donate the proceeds. Whether you’re sharing your expertise with the community or helping people in need, you can make a real difference to others and benefit your business at the same time.
At CCASA, we pay it forward by sharing our knowledge and supporting several not-for-profit organisations. We also like to roll up our sleeves and work closely with disadvantaged communities, both in Australia and overseas. However, you want to help, be sure to speak to your lawyer or accountant to make sure you’re doing it in the best way possible.