By Published On: February 27, 2013Categories: Marketing

Have you ever thought, When I’m successful in business, I’m going to give back to the community? Perhaps you are doing it, or maybe growing your business took more effort than you thought and philanthropy was put on hold. What if I told that the time or money you put into charitable endeavors could be an incredible marketing tool AND make the world a better place at the same time? To me, it sounds like I just saved you money, made you money and made your philanthropic dream a very real first priority.

Before I give you a few guidelines for adding a charitable or socially responsible edge to your business, I need to make a point about intentions. It is well-known that giving back has its advantages, and some companies will do it solely with that motive. I am not, in any way, suggesting that you approach philanthropy in a selfish manner; although, if you did, the result would still be positive for everyone involved. The point is to realize that you can “give back” without taking away from your business resources. In fact, there is much to be gained.

1 – Pick a Cause That Resonates With Your Business
Not all causes are a perfect match for your business. The connection has to make sense, much like a child’s punishment should fit their specific bad behavior. Make sure you have shared core values and that your involvement is mutually meaningful.

2 – Get In Deep and Engage Your Whole Team
In order to have an impact, you have to get truly involved in one or two causes, not just send out some checks or widely scatter your kindness around. Think of it like a website. If you have too many messages, visitors don’t know who you are, what you do, or what you want them to do. By concentrating your efforts and really engaging your team in a cause, you become known as “the company that supports XYZ.” Secondarily, employee loyalty will grow if they feel they are working for a company with a worthy cause and able to personally contribute.

3 – Think Beyond Money
If you’ve ever bartered for a product or service, you know that money is not the only thing of value that can be offered. Your special skills are in demand or you wouldn’t be in business. Think about what you can offer that could make a difference and be a testament to your company’s caring contribution. Give something which matters, that’s remembered, and that speaks for your heart and talents. At Spiral Cities, we provide free Internet Marketing workshops and special pricing for non-profit organizations. A win-win scenario is just that simple.

4 – Commit to It
Integrate your cause into the company culture. Dedicate resources to it; and, keep it a priority. I’ll compare this to social media. If you do it, commit to doing it well and for the long-term. Otherwise, there is little benefit to anyone.

A loyal following can definitely be built by getting deeply involved with causes you already care about. The key is to choose something that forms a natural bridge between your ideals, your customer’s passions, and the uniqueness of your business.

Philanthropy has many roads in. My advice? Carefully choose one; then, make your philanthropic dream a reality!