businesses

We’ve all heard of big businesses giving back. Starbucks launched a campaign with Mermaids, Adidas teamed up with an Ocean Protection Charity, and Amazon created AmazonSmile, where customers can give to a charity of their choice. But what about small businesses?

Sure, big businesses might have more money and time to help worthy causes. But your small business can still make a difference. Small things can be powerful. Bees are tiny, for example, but they perform tasks that are vital to agriculture. There are plenty of benefits to working with charities. In fact, not only will you be giving something back, but it could help your business. Here’s why your small business should work with charities.

Employee Morale

It’s important to have an engaged workforce. And here’s the thing. Most employees want to love their job. They want to tell their friends and family members about what they do, share posts on social media, and attend interesting events.

Research shows that this is particularly important among millennials. Millennials want more than just a job – they want a career. This means that they’re more fussy about where they work and what the company does. And, back in 2014, a study found that 84% of millennial employees gave to charity. So, if you’re a company that gives to charity, you’re more likely to attract and engage with millennial employees.

Looking for WFO solutions? Empathy is important in business. But it can be difficult to achieve in an increasingly online world. To connect with your employees you need to show that you can empathize. You might try an empathy exercise or team collaboration activity. To do so, you could engage with a charity and create a volunteering away day.

Connecting to a charity shows you’re aware of worldwide issues and want to use your position to give back. If your employees see that you care about things, you come across as an empathetic employer. And an empathetic workplace raises employee morale. It’s that simple.

Community Spirit

Alongside empathizing with your employees, all businesses need to connect with the community. But this is particularly important for small businesses, which tend to be more focused on thinking local.

Take the small fashion company Lucy and Yak, for example. It’s a small business with ethical values, inspired by a charity in India called Fior Di Loto. However, Lucy and Yak continue to connect with the community in the UK, collaborating with local charities and artists.

Originally focusing on online store trends, they then created a store in Brighton to connect with the community and sell charity products, with a particular focus on Pride collaborations. As Brighton holds the biggest Pride parade every year in the UK, this is a clear example of a brand understanding what matters to their customers and community.

Working with local charities proves you want to give back to your customers and help the community. Loyal customers will engage more with your business if they can see that you do something that benefits them or the city in which they live.

Graph from bigcommerce.com

Tax Deduction

You should never support a charity for the simple reason of getting tax deductions. However, when your small business supports a charity you believe in, this is another nifty benefit.

When you throw charitable events, like arranging a fundraiser for example, you might be able to reduce tax. However, there are terms and conditions involved, so you’ll need to speak to your accountant to work out how much you could save.

But it’s a great asset not to be sneered at when giving money to charity, as it could leave you with a little extra money to focus on areas of improvement in your business. You might be able to invest in new tools such as skills-based call routing or spend more time on recruitment. Investing money back into your small business will help it thrive further – and you’ve managed to grow by helping a worthy cause.

Raising Your Profile

A small business needs to work harder to raise its profile. Big businesses have more money and time to spend on marketing strategies, and are already well known. Working with charities can help to raise your profile and get your name out there.

Working with charities is mutually beneficial. You raise the charity’s profile (with fashion collaborations, like Lucy and Yak, for instance) and they raise yours, too. By sponsoring an event or organizing a volunteering group with your employees, people involved in the charity will start to notice your brand. You’re engaging with a wider market, so you have more chances to reel them in. You could even make flipbooks to display your products and promote your services at these events.

Collaborating with a charity could raise your profile and attract more customers. When you have more people involved and interested in your brand, you get the opportunity to conduct marketing surveys and learn about your customers. You can ask sales discovery questions and determine how to convert leads into customers.

Working with a charity not only helps them, but it helps you too.

Image from Unsplash.com

Tips on Working With Charities

Before you decide which charities to work with, it’s important to consider your options and be aware of any bad practices. Here are some tips to get it right:

  • Choose something meaningful: while you’re never going to be criticized for working with a charity, the best collaborations have mutual interests. So, don’t just pick something at random. What does your company stand for? What do your customers and clients care about? Pick a charity that means something to you and the business.
  • Do your research: corruption and controversy doesn’t stop at charitable giving. Some charities are badly run and lack transparency. So, do your research, and find a charity that gets it right.
  • Develop ongoing relationships: when it goes well, a relationship with a charity can last a good long while. It can be more than one event or donation. So, develop ongoing relationships with charities and find out how your connection can be mutually beneficial. A charity might not be interested right now, but you could form a powerful collaboration in the future.

Time to Give

All business relationships can have their challenges. You might run into hurdles with your charitable connections. Some employees might not want to volunteer, or certain customers could disagree with the cause.

However, giving back to charity will benefit your business in plenty of ways. All employers should be charitable. So, if you believe in a cause, you want to help, and you can see it boosting your business, it’s time to work with a charity.

John Allen, Director, Global SEO at RingCentral, a global UCaaS, VoIP and integrated meeting solutions provider. He has over 14 years of experience and an extensive background in building and optimizing digital marketing programs. He has written for websites such as Charities and Get Cloud App.

Charities stock photo by Dragana Gordic/Shutterstock