It’s no coincidence that you’re seeing more and more for-profit companies participate in charitable giving and volunteering, and take a moral stance on big issues. According to the 2020 Zeno Strength of Purpose Study, 94 percent of global consumers say it is important that the companies they engage with have a strong purpose. In the Deloitte Global Millennial Survey 2019, 42 percent of millennials said they have begun or deepened a business relationship because they perceive a company’s products or services to have a positive impact on society and/or the environment. Further, 37 percent said they have stopped or lessened a business relationship because of the company’s ethical behavior.
Today, people want to do business with companies that are human – companies that care about more than just selling their own products or services and empathize with what’s going on in the world around them. More consumers are concerned with companies’ social impact, and it has an effect on what they buy and who they work with; it’s become an integral part of decision-making for consumers. That’s why small businesses and Fortune 500 companies alike are making it a focus to find ways to do good.
By giving back to your local community or a larger cause, you’ll begin to see positive results in more ways than one. Here are five reasons why giving back is good for your community, good for your customers, and good for your marketing.
Strengthens Customer Relationships
Being involved in philanthropic initiatives builds confidence in the minds of your customers, giving them pride and satisfaction in the decision they made to buy your product or hire you for services. When customers align with your company’s intrinsic values, they’re more likely to be loyal to you. Doing business with you makes your customers feel that they’re doing good by supporting you, and that leads to continued business and referrals.
Creates Positive Branding
By getting involved with charitable organizations or causes, you show that your company cares about the community and making a positive social impact. These attributes will ultimately become a part of your brand – what people think of when they hear the brand name or see the logo. People will associate your brand with the desire to make a positive impact, which can be the deciding factor when it comes time to make a purchase.
Attracts New Customers
Your brand’s participation in social or environmental causes has the potential to attract new customers and clients who align with your cause. It’s also an opportunity to gain free publicity and PR through media sources that want to spread the word, or through the organization you partner with. If you’re contributing regularly to a non-profit, they’ll likely be willing to list you as a sponsor on their website or other materials, recommending your company to new customers.
Another study from Deloitte of 1,000 employees showed that “89% think organizations that sponsor volunteer activities offer a better overall working environment. In addition, 70% believe volunteer activities are more likely to boost staff morale than company-sponsored happy hours.” Your employees want to take pride in the company they work for, and they want to align with its values. By giving back and providing employees the opportunity to be involved, you’ll be on your way to improving employee retention and office morale.
In doing all of the items listed above, giving back will ultimately increase your profits. But you must give authentically, in a manner that is truly meaningful to your organization. Consumers are smarter than you might think, and they can usually sniff out a PR stunt that’s ingenuine. Give in a way that matters to you and your company’s employees, and your goodwill will shine through and attract the type of customers you seek.
Ways to Give Back
Now that we know giving back is a good move, let’s talk about how you can do it for your organization. As you’d expect, the biggest barrier to giving is a lack of funds. Especially right now, money is tight for a lot of businesses. But giving doesn’t have to mean taking a slice off the top of your profits. Volunteering your time, expertise and your voice can be just as powerful, and they don’t cost a dime. Here are some tips for giving as a company regardless of how much money you have to contribute.
Use Your Platform
Helping spread awareness and get the word out about a cause or issue can be a valuable contribution, especially if your organization has a large following. Whether you’re actively involved in a charitable organization or cause or simply want to show your support, you can use your social media platforms, website, emails, and other communication channels to highlight causes you support. Use your following to support non-profit organizations who are doing the work, or call attention to issues that need addressing. For example, you might publish a list of small, local businesses in your neighborhood that you encourage people to support during this tough time. Or encourage people to donate to an organization that you also donate to. It takes almost no effort to do this, and it shows that you care about more than filling your social feed with your own products or services.
Develop Long-term Partnerships
Consider adopting a cause that aligns with your brand and mission, and develop a long-term partnership with an organization that’s making a difference. These partnerships can be mutually beneficial, creating good morale and publicity for you and increased support for them. Eventually, the cause can become a part of your overall brand.
Volunteer Your Time or Expertise
Giving back doesn’t have to be in the form of money – your time and your expertise can be just as valuable. Especially right now, most nonprofits need any help they can get; 57 percent of nonprofits say they’re operating with reduced resources compared to pre-COVID. To help, gather interested staff to volunteer their time on behalf of the business. At the beginning of COVID, this likely meant donating time to make masks or drop off meals for vulnerable people who couldn’t leave their homes. Now, it could mean using your expertise by consulting with small local businesses to help them get back on their feet. There are many ways to help – all you have to do is ask.
Sometimes doing good isn’t about giving as much as evaluating your own company’s practices. What many call “corporate responsibility” is all about looking at your company’s own processes for more ethical or sustainable ways to do things. This could be reevaluating the health insurance package you offer your employees, finding new materials for your products that are less harmful to the environment, or hiring staff that’s more reflective of the community you serve. These are all important things to evaluate, and the changes you make to better your organization will be appreciated by customers and potential customers.
Let People Know How You’re Giving Back
Share information about how you’re giving back with your followers. Not only does this build awareness and support for the cause you’re giving to, it also lets your followers know what you believe in and care about. Maybe it’s a photo of your staff volunteering, an announcement about a new partnership, or a product you’re selling with proceeds given to a nonprofit. And, of course, let everyone know how they can get involved and join the cause.
Looking for more guidance about how to maximize your giving through your marketing efforts? At PRIME, we’re here to help our partners show the world the good they’re doing. Contact us today about a partnership.
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