Much like celebrities, your business is in the public eye, even if it’s a B2B business, so you probably receive requests for donations, and solicitations for sponsorships all the time.
How do you make the decision whether or not to respond to all of them? Do you cherry pick a few organizations to help, or go with your personal bias and choose a charity close to your heart, or do you choose based on what is right for your brand / business? Depending on your answer, you approach could cause you to miss out on opportunities to strengthen your brand through charitable efforts.
Compared to yesterday’s customer, today’s customer is much savvier and expects more from your company. Today, they have greater access to company information, so it’s pretty transparent when a business does a few good things to boost their reputation, versus a business that has put all their charitable efforts and resources into making a real impact on society.
As a business owner myself, I recommend shifting your business’s approach from obligation (something you feel your company should do) to opportunity (something your company might want to do).
To decide whether or not you should make that donation on behalf of your company, think about the following things first:
- Does this organization have relevance in your industry?
Support issues and platforms relevant to your industry. If you are part of the food industry, try getting involved with a charity that promotes healthy eating habits, provides meals… etc.
- Does this organization have community relevance?
Your customers are your community. Ask yourself, would your customers be on board with your charity of choice?
- Is this organization relevant to your target market?
By supporting causes your target market cares about, you gain their attention, respect and trust (something businesses can spend years and big money building). Align yourself with what appeals to your target.
- Does this organization have brand relevance?
By having your charitable efforts feed into your brand identity and positioning you will reinforce your brand message, and differentiate yourself.
To support an organization is a strategic decision, and if selected carefully, it won’t dilute your brand’s core values. If anything, selecting an appropriate charity communicates your goals and ideals more clearly to your target customers and partners.
Also, don’t forget – as much as donating to or sponsoring a charity is beneficial to your brand, it also just feels good to give.
Is your business involved with a charity? If so, why did you pick that charity? What was your approach, and what do you hope to gain (if anything) by involving yourself with that organization? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section!