When someone donates to charity, sponsors a local sports team or works pro bono, it gives off a a caring image. Not only that, being good to your community is always good for business, as they are the ones who support you and ensure your success. Running a business takes up a lot of your time, but getting active in your community is one of the best things you can do to help brand yourself or your business.
Your choice of who to support, how much of your time or resources you donate, and what you accomplish can be a part of what makes your business stand out from others. Philanthropy can even become a tool to drive sales in a competitive market.
Identify a Charity
The first thing you should do is find a charity that you believe in, with a mission that you support. This takes time because it can be surprisingly difficult to find a reputable charity. Thanks to BankRate, there are a few practical tips you can follow to check that a charity you are working with is legitimate:
· Ask to see the company’s 990, a government form that charities must file to operate legally. Form 990 also gives information on how the company allocates funds, including how it pays its executives.
· Check the board to make sure that its members are dedicated to the cause. They might have a personal reason, like a family member suffering from illness, or be well-versed in the technical research behind the charity’s mission.
· Research many organizations. Not every charity is right for your donation.
Once you have found a charity, call ahead to see what resources the charity may need. You might find that a food bank needs less canned goods and more grains. If your mission is to help, do it in the way that’s best for the organization.
Partner with Someone
Most of us don’t have the means to donate more than a few hours of our time, or some of our financial resources. Between balancing a mortgage and the costs of running a business it all adds up. That’s why it’s important to identify an effective partner in your community that can help you achieve your goals. Entrepreneur Jeff Bartel is a fine example of how civic duty can boost your career. Bartel’s work with organizations like the Fairtell Tropical Botanical Garden show how a commitment to the community can pay off in business. He was recently honored along with 11 other “Good Men” at an event sponsored by the Ronald McDonald House. This stature boosts his image as an entrepreneur with strong ties to his community.
Partnering up with someone starts with a pitch. Figure out what you want to do, how your chosen charity will do it, and refine a pitch that asks leaders in your industry to pitch in and help you.
Frequent blog updates that discuss the nuts and bolts of your achievements are always great boosters for you and your business. They get the audience excited, knowing that their financial contributions to your organization indirectly lead to a better community.
Build off of this emotional bond by making charity a choice. You can get an edge over competitors by making your gift of charity a benefit of buying from you. Try rounding a customer’s order up to the next whole dollar and offering that amount in charity for each transaction.