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.
Any eligible not-for-profit organisation can apply to be registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (ACNC)—but it can be a lengthy and complicated process. Only 60,000 of the 600,000 not-for-profits in Australia are officially registered as a charity. One Hope Foundation Limited recently engaged CCASA to assist them with this process and were happy to have their ACNC application approved in October. They can now officially enjoy the benefits of being a registered charity.
One Hope Foundation Limited operates in Zambia as House of Hope Africa, Educare Africa and Clinicare Africa, but the company itself is an Australian company and as such is required to be registered in Australia with the ACNC.
The first step to registering One Hope Foundation Limited as a charity was to confirm that the organisation met the requirements of being a ‘charity’, meaning it was a not-for-profit, exhibited charitable purposes for the public benefit, complied with ACNC governance standards and did not have a disqualifying purpose. Once it was established that the organisation met the requisite criteria of being a ‘charity’, the next (extremely time-consuming) step was to collect and document more complicated information, such as:
Organisations that operate outside of Australia are also open to more scrutiny and will often be requested to provide further information and documentation, such as internal policies relating to transfers of money, volunteers, child protection etc.
In partnership with BlueRock Partners, CCASA was able to drive this application process and get One Hope Foundation Limited registered quickly and easily.
Gaining access to charitable tax concessions and obtaining endorsement as a deductible gift recipient (DGR) was also an important goal for One Hope Foundation Limited. However, it is important to note that not all charities will automatically be entitled to DGR benefits. This can be a difficult and lengthy process. CCASA and BlueRock Partners were able to achieve registered charity status and endorsement in quick time with the assistance of ACNC and the ATO. One Hope Foundation Limited can now enjoy benefits such as income tax exemption, fringe benefits tax (FBT) exemption and rebates, GST concessions and DGR status, which means donors to One Hope Foundation Limited can claim income tax deductions for their donations.
You can find more information about the charity registration process on the ACNC website.
As a registered charity with the ACNC, One Hope Foundation Limited must now make sure to:
CCASA is assisting One Hope Foundation Limited with the required reporting and compliance to ensure a seamless and pain-free experience with their ongoing registration.
With legislation around charity registration changing all the time, it’s important to get the help of a qualified compliance team and specialised lawyers. Contact Craig at CCASA at firstname.lastname@example.org to enquire about registering your not-for-profit organisation with the ACNC through our new service. We also recommend seeking legal advice from BlueRock Partners at email@example.com to determine the best course of action for your not-for-profit organisation.
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Guest blog by BlueRock Partners
Charities are everywhere. We generally consider all organisations that act with a benevolent purpose to be charitable. With such an influx of these organisations in Australia and overseas it has become increasingly difficult to determine which of these organisations are in fact reputable charities.
A charity can be formed out of an Australian company (limited by shares or by guarantee), an incorporated association, or even a trust. However, a charity—like a company—is a distinct legal entity which needs to satisfy a number of tests prior to satisfying the registration requirements. These requirements arise from a number of different pieces of legislation. Therefore, aspiring charities should be aware of the relevant legislative requirements and framework.
There are four key factors that determine whether or not an organisation will be considered for registration as a charity. The organisation must:
The benefits of registering as a charity include:
In order to be a registered charity, an organisation needs to be a not-for-profit organisation. This does not mean that the organisation cannot make a surplus, but any surplus must be kept to satisfy the future aims of the organisation. A not-for-profit will also be required to have appropriate provisions in their Constitution to prove that they are in fact a not-for-profit (e.g. winding-up clauses, typical rules adopted by not-for-profits, demonstrating that they are a not-for-profit etc.).
It is important not to confuse charities with not-for-profits. A charity must be a not-for-profit, but a not-for-profit may not always be a registered charity. In Australia, there are approximately 600,000 not-for-profit organisations, and only 60,000 of these are registered charities.
A registered charity’s purpose must be charitable and for the public benefit. Alternatively, if they are not explicitly charitable purposes, this requirement will be satisfied if they fulfil the furtherance of a purpose incidental to one or more of the 12 charitable purposes in the Charities Act 2013 (Cth).
The non-exhaustive list of charitable purposes are:
There are a number of further requirements that must be satisfied under each of these purposes.
The organisation is required to benefit the public. Certain purposes (such as education, religion, combatting poverty) are inherently in the public benefit, subject to evidence to the contrary.
Finally, in order to qualify for charity status, the organisation must:
Excluded organisations include political parties, government entities, and organisations noted as engaging in terrorist or criminal activities.
Additionally, not-for-profits with a ‘disqualifying purpose’ will also not be capable of being registered as a charity. The Charities Act 2013 (Cth) defines a ‘disqualifying purpose’ as “engaging in or promoting activities which are unlawful or contrary to public policy, or promoting or opposing a political party or candidate”.
Navigating your way through the legislative requirements can be both complicated and confusing. If you would like assistance with registering your organisation as a charity, contact BlueRock Partners on 03 8682 1111 or firstname.lastname@example.org or CCASA on 08 9340 9400 or email@example.com for more information.
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The CCASA team deals with business finances every day. We love seeing our clients run successful businesses that are both compliant and profitable. But to help people who are really struggling financially—and in every possible way—really makes our hearts sing. So in May this year CCASA Director Craig Stevens set off for Zambia to work with House of Hope Africa (HOHA).
In 2013 Craig was fortunate to meet Michael and Christine Mesiti, the co-founders of HOHA, at a local church. Michael and Christine had a vision to equip and empower vulnerable women, children and families living in impoverished areas through practical and sustainable approaches. In 2014 they relocated to Africa and since then have been building local teams and facilitating programs within one of Zambia’s largest compounds. It’s amazing to see the impact they’re having!
In Zambia’s poorest communities, starting a business or getting an education is not easy. Just getting one full meal a day is the priority for many families and for some the only meal they receive is during HOHA programs. “The hardest part is knowing how much wastage we have here in Australia,” said Craig after his trip. “$50 a month would have a massive impact in Zambia and we all waste so much more than this every week!” If you’ve been watching ABC’s War on Waste series, you’ll know what he’s talking about.
As a director of HOHA, Craig visited Zambia to see first-hand the value that the organisation brings to communities in the compound and he quickly discovered how incredible the programs are. It’s common in Africa for children to leave school at a young age to work and help provide for their families. HOHA supports these kids to get back to school while making sure their families are encouraged, empowered and equipped. The students also receive food as part of this program to help them to better learn and thrive—more than 120 plates of food are gobbled up each week!
The extreme poverty of the compound sees preventable diseases causing major health and hygiene problems, and even deaths in the community. HOHA works with local and international medical organisations to provide services that directly save lives, like emergency treatment, consultation and transport. Only this week, in one HOHA program, de-worming medication was administered to 60 children and families along with daily multivitamins to help boost the children’s immune systems.
CCASA has an invested interest in HOHA’s microfinance loans program—a practical scheme that empowers women to create sustainable futures for their families. HOHA learned that when women were widowed (which is fairly common in Zambia) they found it incredibly difficult to provide for their children. The poverty effect would then trickle down from generation to generation making it nearly impossible to turn things around. The microfinance loans program offers interest-free business loans to vulnerable widows based on individual assessments.
This means they can start much-needed businesses in their local communities without the debt. One widow recently set up a samosa/food sales business while another established a paraffin floor polish business. Once the loan is paid back, the money is loaned to another vulnerable woman. And on it goes. 100% of these loans have seen no less than two children from each widow’s family return to mainstream schooling.
“HOHA is an uplifting community program—one that gives a hand up, rather than a hand out,” Craig said of HOHA’s overall success. “It empowers the community, the children. It teaches them to stand up, go to school, and be self sufficient through education and resources. You don’t give someone a fish, you teach them to fish.”
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