In today’s competitive business world, it is important that customers feel connected to your company to encourage loyalty to your brand. Philanthropy helps foster a feeling of good will and camaraderie that cannot be matched with mere words. Philanthropy is action that helps people and communities become better and stronger places to live, work, and grow. It can foster innovation that can lead to benefits for people well beyond the initial circle of beneficiaries. Some businesses do not have a large public presence due to the nature of the business they are. All too often these sorts of enterprises wind up in the public eye only when the media has something negative to say. Philanthropy can help the world to see a different and positive side of a business. Here are some tips and ideas for including philanthropy as part of your business strategy.
Figure out what you can afford to give
Philanthropy is appreciated at any level but you need to ensure that your company does not make promises it cannot keep. New businesses may not have enough revenue to donate what they would like but this can change over time. As your company grows you can always give more. This means that you should evaluate your charitable plan every year to see how your company is doing.
Donating a share of profits or gross receipts
Charitable donations are tax deductible and can go a long way towards helping a cause. If your business feels strongly about clean water then you might donate 2% of gross receipts to a local organization that lobbies for clean water and organizes volunteers to clean up the banks of rivers and streams. Restaurant and hospitality businesses have seen great success with having designated days where they donate a portion of their receipts for the day to a charitable cause.
Unfortunately hunger is a worldwide problem that can be hard to spot in your own local community. A food drive is a great way to help people in your town that are in need. Goods can be delivered to a local food bank or distributed via volunteers from your company. There are many ways to institute a food drive. You can set up a box or area where employees or customers can drop off goods. Other ideas include making it an event. Some live music that people can come see for a donation of canned goods can get a lot of people involved with your cause.
Offering your employees for volunteer causes is another easy way to get involved in your community. Perhaps a local non-profit needs help some weekends? Getting your employees together to help a cause can create a better sense of camaraderie and help create a more prolific team environment in all your business enterprises. Some larger companies that can afford it may even consider paying employees for volunteer time or offering some other incentive.
Get to know the community in areas you do business in
If you don’t know much about the area or communities where you have business enterprises then it can be hard to know what type of causes will have the most impact. Talking to local people and charitable organizations can offer a perspective that can help you target causes that you feel strongly about. Meetings with employees or contacting them to solicit their advice and opinions on what causes to support in a community can help target needs. When employees are passionate about a philanthropic cause it can be a lot easier to get the entire company on board with your charitable plan.
Continuing education can help improve communities and provide job opportunities for underprivileged individuals. Scholarships to promising individuals can set them on the path to success. They may even become an employee of your company later on! Some firms see scholarships as a way to promote achievement in a community while nurturing future talent. Donating to an existing scholarship fund can be helpful for smaller businesses while larger ones may want to establish their own.
Large companies have a responsibility to the communities in which they do business throughout the world. Some choose to form their own charitable organizations so that they can better organize and implement change and improvements across their wide network of business. Sukanto Tanoto, RGE president, formed the Tanoto Foundation. Since the foundation started they have greatly expanded the breadth and amount of charitable programs they institute. Recently Mr.Tanoto signed an agreement with the United Nations International Children’s Fund to build schools in Java and Indonesia. They have also funded medical studies so that heart disease and other health problems can be more easily treated. Environmental initiatives include sustainable forestry plans and green practices throughout RGE’s extensive network of business and community.
Social media: Getting your message out there
Customers and potential customers need to know what you company is doing to make the world a better place. Social media such as Facebook, Twitter, company blogs, etc., can get your message out to a wide demographic at a very low cost. Pictures and videos are priceless tools. A video message from the head of your company speaking to the public about your mission and cause can get an amazing amount of views in a short period. Since users can share messages and Tweets easily, your message will spread even faster. This web of connectivity will ensure that people feel more connected to your company and encourage them to view your firm in a more positive way.
Making a difference
There is no question that philanthropy can offer your company valuable exposure and promote good customer relations that cannot be achieved simply by spending advertising dollars. The changes and positive impacts your company can have in the communities in which they do business can have a far-reaching impact that can help your company become more closely knit. The feeling you get when you have a positive influence on the lives of others is irreplaceable. Get started on your philanthropic plan today and you will make the world a better place.