Most of us have heard the adage “giving is better than getting.” What you might not realize is that it isn’t a philosophy that should be confined to your personal dealings. It’s especially true in business.
Small business owners and entrepreneurs know the value of business networking. I’ve found from my position as CEO of Rand Internet Marketing that establishing new relationships and reinforcing existing ones is a critical function of business. Actively participating in charitable donations, for example, demonstrates corporate citizenship that conveys trustworthiness, credibility, high standards of ethics and a positive brand. This portrays an entirely different attitude than gifts or incentives because they are given without the expectation of quid pro quo or any type of special consideration.
There is nothing wrong with making donations as part of elevating your company’s brand, so long as it’s done authentically. You may also find that giving on behalf of your company has a positive impact on your team in addition to your company’s image. Here are a few tips on being a better “giver” in business:
Take Advantage of Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) Opportunities
Corporate social responsibilities are initiatives by a business for the betterment of the society. When planned well and implemented strategically, CSR initiatives prove to be a very commendable approach to helping achieve a better and brighter future. Actually, as far back as 1819, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations were legal persons (citizens) protected by the Constitution. Why would any corporation choose to donate? The answer is a fairly simple one: it’s good business.
There are a few steps that will help your company to begin participating in CSR. The first step is simple: Find out what your employees would like the company to do in order to give back to the community. See what they are passionate about and what they would want the company to do for the community. This will help generate great ideas to get started on some CSR initiatives. Another idea is to partner with other organizations. This will help provide additional resources for any events as well as marketing efforts. It will also be easier to get your CSR program off the ground with already-established organizations that share your company’s mission and values. Finally, take advantage of social media and the press. Let your audience know what you are doing for the community, but more importantly, why you are doing this for the community. Use different outlets to reach different audiences, and be sure to seek their feedback, experience and ideas.
At my company, we have programs in place to promote and communicate an image of good corporate citizenship. It’s actually part of our mission statement and business model. We have been able to allocate one percent of our annual revenue (approximately five percent of our profit) toward donating to non-profit organizations, whether in cash or in-kind donations of our design, programming and marketing services. As we have continued to grow as a company, we have been able to support more non-profit causes.
Build Effective Corporate and Nonprofit Partnerships
Partnering with nonprofits is a great way to build your company’s brand. You should align your CSR efforts with nonprofits that share your company’s view on solving social issues. The selection of a nonprofit partner is important, and you might want to go a step further and instill the importance of volunteerism within your corporate culture. Rallying volunteers within the corporation through a flexible and sustainable volunteer engagement program is a credible demonstration of CSR conviction.
The best CSR initiatives are embraced by senior leadership at the CEO and board level; this sets the example throughout the organization. You might consider, though, that sometimes it isn’t necessary to start a CSR strategy from its inception. If your company and your passion align with an organization’s goals, don’t hesitate to partner with them. If you can coordinate your efforts with an established program, your efforts will go that much further. Don’t forget to vet your collaborators to ensure the execution of an ethical and productive relationship.
Keep these tips in mind when you’re fulfilling your company’s social responsibility. Raising employee morale and revamping your company’s image are just a few of the benefits of charitable work. You just might find that you get a lot more in return the more you give back.
Seth Rand is the Founder and CEO of Rand Internet Marketing. He is also an Internet marketing speaker and author and consultant specializing in Search Engine Marketing and Social Media Marketing. Follow him @sethrand.
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