Giving to charity is a good thing, we know as much. However, smaller businesses might balk at donating time and money to charitable causes before they feel comfortable allocating the necessary resources.
With the joys of generosity being promoted at Christmas time, here are some business-oriented benefits that giving back can do for you (not that giving back isn’t enough!).
1. You'll Gain Exposure
Capturing the public eye is the clearest and most compelling reason to support a charity. Either sponsorship or volunteering will help build awareness of your business in an unfailingly positive light, especially given the immense social media opportunities.
If you take part in a charitable event, remember to snap pictures throughout and share regular updates on social media. The friends and family members of staff members will naturally share and like, and you’ll be able to generate exposure for both your own benefit and that of the charity. Go the extra mile by connecting sponsorship efforts to marketing campaigns; for example, pledge to donate a pound for every like, share, or retweet.
2. You'll Rally Support
A 2010 survey conducted by Cone Communications demonstrated that 85% of consumers view a business more positively if it gives a little something back. That kind of traction increases loyalty and polishes your public image, so try to identify the causes that matter most to your target customers.
Local support can be reaped by pursuing home-grown causes – a fundraiser for a neighbourhood school will engage locals far more effectively than a donation to Cancer Research. Alternatively, you might want to narrow in on causes related to your business.
3. You'll Establish Yourself
People perceive charitable endeavours as a calling card of thriving businesses. You might not feel like your business is large enough to make a difference, but now is the time to fake it until you make it.
Giving time and money is what prosperous businesses do – the more exposure you receive, the more you’ll be viewed as a success. This doesn’t mean that you should overstretch yourself at first, but it’s worth keeping in mind that the money you spend now is likely to bolster your position within a certain industry or locality..
4. You'll Network Effortlessly
Charity events draw their support from a diverse selection of sponsors. Put aside worries of forfeiting a certain amount of focus – those additional benefactors are a bonus for your business, even if they lack a tangible connection to your area of expertise.
Being part of a certain charitable network allows you to rub shoulders with other influential business people in a relaxed and natural setting, often leading to regular support for joint causes. You’ll cover more charitable ground, cement connections, and become the go to business when co-sponsors require services in your field or are asked for a recommendation.
5. You'll Enjoy Yourself
Giving your time and attention to a charitable cause carries with it the suggestion of sacrifice, but most events can bring your team closer and become an enjoyable annual occurrence. If you have a few staff members, ask about their interests. Avid hikers? Suggest getting together to do The Three Peaks challenge. Got a few amateur chefs? Try suggesting a bake sale.
If you have a large social media following, consider engaging your audience with a fun challenge. There’s no need to try too hard to connect this to your business. The Ice Bucket Challenge had precisely zero to do with ALS, but was phenomenally effective.
Your charitable efforts don’t need to reshape the world, just a few days a year or a small percentage of one month’s cash flow can see you enjoying substantial benefits, all while providing a helping hand.