As small business owners, we get it – running your own shop is tough. The cost and time associated with managing the internal work is taxing – all the work that needs to be done so you can work! One of the best ways get your small business to grow – and thrive – is to engage your community. To get you started, we’ve compiled the top five reasons you should get smart about your business’ philanthropic investment:
1. Your Clients Expect It
Ninety-one percent of global consumers expect that the companies they do business with are giving back. Decades ago it was an incredible benefit if the business you were working with also made the world a better place. Not so now- it’s par for the course. If you’re not contributing to your community (local or global), you should consider the message that is sending your customers.
2. Your Employees Will Thank You
Employee engagement is vital to your business, and corporate philanthropy is a great way to attract – and retain – talent. The ever-growing millennial work force is placing a huge amount of importance on the social connection of the companies they work for. One study showed that 50% of millennials accepted jobs based on that company’s involvement with causes. Not only will a robust philanthropic profile impact your community (and beyond!), but it will help your employees feel connected to your organization and have greater respect for you as a leader.
3. Your Genuine Relationships Will Serve Your Business
Networking is everything with a small business. So much of the work we do is referral-based, and actively working with, and contributing to a social profit partner will introduce you to a whole new world of connections. Establishing a philanthropic portfolio for your company can’t be established with the sole intent to use the opportunity to network, but, it is a fringe benefit. Which brings us to our next point.
4. Focus And Authenticity Are Obvious
If you’re not genuinely interested in working with a charity for reasons outside of the benefits your business will receive – don’t. Inauthentic partnerships are obvious to customers and employees. At best, your philanthropic investment will fall flat. At worst, your motives will be questioned by those who come across your business. In fact, some companies are intentionally not publicizing their brand to reap the internal employee benefits. When the partnership is genuine and truly benefits the social profit partner, the results will be transformative.
5. Philanthropy Is More Than Money
Charitable partnerships are changing. The most successful partnerships – the ones with the greatest impact - are more than transactional. Gone are the days where simply writing a cheque will achieve the best ROI in a corporate/charitable partnership. Think about what you do best. How can you lend your time, talent and expertise in addition to a monetary gift to achieve the best result for your chosen community partner? Let others benefit from what makes you a successful business owner.
As competition for the same dollar gets tougher in every industry, you’ll want to set your business apart by highlighting the philanthropic work that you do. Richard Branson says it best, “doing good is good for business” so consider integrating a philanthropic strategy in to your business plan to better position yourself to have the greatest (lasting) impact on your business and social profit partners.
Robyn Tremblay is an entrepreneur + believer in the power of connecting good people with cause. She is a partner and co-founder Relate Social Capital - Canada's leading Sports Philanthropy firm.