Every business should have a social conscience. Helping those in need is not only a moral obligation, but a social expectation as well. Companies are expected to give time, resources and/or money to charity, in today’s world. As much as corporate donations benefit charities, they can benefit the businesses who make them even more.
No matter the size or financial state of a business, every company has something to offer. Salesforce uses the 1-1-1 model. They commit 1% of their time, 1% of their resources and 1% of their profits to charity. Their employees are given 3 days per year of paid time away from the office to volunteer with a charity. Salesforce freely shares their 1-1-1 model to encourage other businesses to adopt the same plan. Toms donates shoes to third world countries, and uses their, ‘buy one give one’ project to collect shoes for underprivileged children. Panera Bread donates all baked items remaining in their stores after closing time, to local shelters and food banks. McDonalds supports the US Olympic Team, and Verizon refurbishes old cellphones to donate to women who are victims of domestic violence. Charity can take on many forms.
Even though small businesses don’t have the resources of the large companies mentioned above, they can still make an impact. Our company, Fox Social Media, donates social media services to a local children’s charity to help share their message. We also make a small, monetary donation to a local charity every month. In addition to giving the money, we share each charity’s story, and a link to their website.
There are so many ways that your small business can help too. Here are a few ideas:
– Donate money, products or services
– Sponsor a local sports team
– Become a Big Brother or Big Sister
– Hold a bake sale, car wash, or other fundraiser
– Donate office supplies
– Have a food drive
– Start an online donation account such as Fundly
– Read to school children
– Offer internships to local college students
– Share a charity’s story on your website and social media
– Hold a company blood drive
– Host a golf or bowling tournament
– Collect clothing and household items
– Volunteer at a shelter or soup kitchen
– Sell items on eBay and donate the proceeds to charity
– Hold a pet adoption at your location
Being charitable benefits everyone involved. Giving can create a positive return for your business. What will your company receive for all that it gives? Quite a lot! Here are some examples:
– A tax deduction for your donations
– Increased employee moral, engagement and teamwork
– Improved company reputation in your community and/or field
– Greater awareness of your business
– Free advertising through the charities and sometimes the local news media as well
Would you like your company to be involved in charity work, but aren’t sure where to begin? Look to your community and/or industry first. Make sure that you check out the charity that you plan to work with. Here are a few resources where you can go to determine which are valid charities, and what portion of their income goes to help the cause they support.
– Charity Navigator: www.charitynavigator.org
– The Better Business Bureau: www.bbb.org/us/charity
– Charity Watch: www.charitywatch.org
Remember to use your social media sites to promote the charity and the work that you are doing for them. Tag the charity in every post, and ask them to share those posts with their followers. Share the information with the local media, and ask them to report it. Take a lot of pictures of the event, fundraising process, or whatever you do, and share them as well. Make sure to tag the charity in the pictures, too. By leveraging your social media sites to help raise funds and awareness for the charity you are working with, you will automatically raise awareness of your business, products and/or services. Almost everyone wants to patronize a business that has a heart for others. It is truly a win-win situation.
We would love to hear what type of charity work your company does. Please comment below and share your businesses’ giving story.
Jill Fox – Owner
Fox Social Media