For a business owner who’s trying to grow a profit, donating money or employee time to charity may seem counterintuitive. But it’s not a coincidence that some of the most successful organizations out there (think Apple, Amazon, WalMart, etc.) are also some of the most generous. What these businesses know is that getting involved in charitable giving is actually a smart business move, and there are plenty of ways to do that won’t hurt your bottom line. Thinking about how your company can start to give back? Here’s how to get started, and why:
Why should your business get involved in philanthropic giving?
- It’s good for business: A great business is an integral part of the community. Whether yours is a small, fledgling operation, or an established organization with a lot of resources, finding a way to contribute and give back shows that you’re invested in the community in which you’re hoping to thrive and grow. It gets your name out there, allows you to make new connections and friends, and shows that you’re in it for the long haul.
- It’s good for morale: Giving employees a way to join forces in service of a greater good and outside of the work they do every day is an excellent way to build community within your organization, too. Employees will appreciate
- It’s good for others: As the saying goes, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” Giving makes sense because by strengthening those around us, we also strengthen ourselves.
Convinced that your business should start giving back? Here’s how to start:
- Find a cause: Maybe there’s a cause that lines up perfectly with your company’s vision or customer base, or maybe it makes sense to donate to a variety of worthy projects. Either way, take a deliberate approach to giving by thinking the matter through beforehand.
- Call the experts: Many cities have a United Way or similar organization that would be more than happy to help your business and/or employees learn about charitable giving. Not only do these organizations have a wealth of knowledge about local nonprofits and the most important community needs; but they can also help you organize employee giving on a small or large scale. If you don’t know where to start, United Way is an excellent first step.
- Organize a volunteer drive: Plan a weekend where your employees will all volunteer together; organize a Habitat for Humanity event or a blood drive; or just give employees one afternoon a month to volunteer for a worthwhile organization of their choosing.
- Participate: Many nonprofits host runs or events that encourage people to create teams and engage in a little friendly competition to raise money for their cause. Find an event that fits your business or just create your own.
- Offer incentives: If you can’t give employees time off, try offering small prizes for those who put in a certain amount of volunteer hours or donate to a cause. A little recognition can go a long way in motivating those who want to get involved.
- Just donate: Most savvy business owners earmark a certain amount of money or goods for donations and advertising. Making a commitment to give back ensures that you’ll be ready to say “yes” when somebody asks for your support.
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