Just because you are a small business, doesn’t mean you can’t make a big impact on local charities. In fact, about 75% of small businesses donate to charities every year. Small businesses play an important role in building their communities and serving those in need. As an owner, you are probably approached a few times a year by several non-profits in your area looking for some donation dollars to help them continue to do their good work. Of course, you can’t donate to everyone, so it’s important to donate to those charities that make the most sense for you and your business.
Here are some tips to help you choose which charities you support.
They align with your business. You want to choose a charity that aligns with your company’s vision, voice, goals, and values. Your employees are an extension of your business so choosing a charity that aligns with your business values reinforces those values. In fact, employees who are favorable to your charitable actions are 5 times more likely to remain with the company. Customers also have a more positive view of companies who are philanthropic and donate to organizations and causes they care about.
They make an impact on the community. Small businesses can have a much stronger connection with local charities than larger corporations because of their connection to the community. People choose to shop at a small business because they want to support local and they know their dollars spent are going to an individual vs. a corporation. The same goes for choosing a local charity – when you support your local food pantry, pet shelter, etc., you know that money is going to help people within the community vs. a large national fund that may not directly impact your town and the people in it.
Get to know the charity. Not all charities are the same and not all donations are equal. While tax benefits may not be your main concern when donating, you will want to know if they are a 501C(3) for financial reasons. A cash donation may not be the best way to make an impact either. Perhaps donating your time, resources, or items will have a bigger impact. Knowing what the charity’s needs are will help you determine how best to assist them.
Building relationships. The great part about working with a local charity is that you can build so many great relationships. You and the charity become partners showing your employees and customers that you are conscious of important issues and needs that impact the community that you live, work, and play. People who see that a company is involved with a local charity are not only more loyal to your business but are also more like to also support your partnered cause – win/win!
Get everyone involved and spread the word. Once of the easiest ways to share the news about your partnership is via your website. You can share how you have made an impact on the charity and how they’ve helped the community but also encourage others to help as well. If you volunteer your time, you can share photos of you and your employees as well. You can also share the charities events and appeals both online, on social media, or via flyers in your business.
More and more customers are looking to shop local and shop at businesses that also support local charities and their communities. A business that is socially conscious and sustainability-minded can create an impact and a movement in the community. There is no time like the present to make a difference!
Senior Vice President, Chief Lending Officer