If you are a local business hoping to make a mark and instill consumer loyalty in today’s online retail world, why not consider donating to charity? For many business owners, investing in local charity work is a great way to connect with the community, engender goodwill and build a better neighborhood in which to do business.
In some ways, giving can even be seen as marketing…and some companies have explicitly included charitable activity in their marketing budget. Remember, these days, social media is huge, and what your business or brand is seen doing and being out in the community can make or break your connection to your customer base.
There are many examples of ways your business can invest in local nonprofits without appearing to be doing so out of desire for personal gain. Maybe you’re a food purveyor that would donate to a local school or have a program for helping the homeless or kids at a shelter.
Are you an office supply company or big box store that could provide goods and services for local schools, churches or outreach efforts? Local home improvement stores have teams that go out and volunteer for builds and cleanups across the community, and office workers get together for 5Ks to fight for various causes.
The ways you can invest and be seen investing are all but endless. From giant dump trucks painted pink in support of breast cancer research to local fast food joints that donate a portion of their proceeds to charities and lawn care companies that cut the church lawn for free. If you take five minutes and think about it, I’m betting you could come up with at least five different ways your business could invest in the community, gaining a big reward without too much work or time invested.
But what about the direct, tangible benefits?
There are the tax deductions, which provide financial return for your cash and in-kind donations. Talk to your accountant about what might qualify. You will likely be surprised at all the opportunities you’re missing to benefit from making a difference.
Then there are the employee benefits of being involved. Your employees are people first, which I’m sure you’ve noticed. Those people have lives — wants, needs, priorities, and hopes — outside of work. They have things they Care Deeply About, and you can help them invest in those things by creating opportunities to serve your local community.
From letting the local ball teams or scout troops host car washes in your parking lot to getting groups together for community projects to simple fundraisers for this cause or that one, you can make a big difference in your team’s job satisfaction by helping them connect with causes, they care about.
The underlying point here, is you are likely leaving both money and goodwill on the table if you are not actively considering ways for your business to invest in local nonprofit work. These ideas are just a jumping off point. Where you go from here is entirely up to you.