Is Business Philanthropy Good for Business?

Should a business expect something tangible in return for their generosity? If your answer is anything but ‘Yes’ you’re probably in the minority. Business philanthropy wavers between 16-18 billion dollars a year in the United States. It would be hard to believe with that level of investment there was no expectation for ROI. Our research reveals 93% of businesses donate to charity. Let’s take a look at how some businesses are getting something back for their giving back.

Perhaps one of the best examples of this in your community can be found in the practice of selling cars. Automobile dealerships are becoming experts in making their community contribution dollars go further in terms of connecting with prospects and generating more business. With the right cause alignment they can boost their sales and divert some of their marketing and advertising budget to a local charity or community project. One of my neighborhood dealerships runs a program where they donate $35.00 to the local high-school booster club for each test drive. They’ve run this program for a few years now so it must be getting them satisfactory results. Another family owned dealership has flyers in their showroom highlighting the charities they support and these charities have the dealership banner prominently displayed on their website.

Amazon smile program is another example on a much larger scale. There are other similar programs for the dominant grocery store chain in my region. At almost any time of the year I can see several cause-branding campaigns in action. 78% of Americans believe a partnership between a nonprofit and a company they trust makes a cause standout. So charities benefit from more exposure and greater community awareness. Do your charity partner a favor and help them promote the benefit of their services to the community. It’s a Win-Win-Win for everyone. Brands, Charities and the consumer can all take part in something that is bigger than them.

Doing it right means doing it differently

If your goal is to get more feet through the doors of your retail store, sell a particular product or drive social media traffic, so be it. Obviously one of your goals is to help promote your nonprofit partner. But don’t be shy to share that your business also benefits from the arrangement. Forbes

According to Cone Trend Tracker, 61% of purchasers will research the relationship between a brand and a charity. This means purchasers expect to see both the charity and the business are benefitting mutually. The Return On Investment (ROI) might suggest there could be a profit motive for business giving. It should be obvious by now that depending on the business, it’s likely to see multiple forms of ROI. If customers are comfortable with this you should be too!

If you believe your business is good for the community and the community believes your business is good, it’s in everyone’s best interest for your business to thrive.

Where most businesses (and charities) fail is getting the community to believe in your generosity. In other words; “it is not all about you.” How does a community become a believer in your generosity?

  • Tell a good story. One based on fact and let your nonprofit be the central character. Your story has even more credibility when your nonprofit tells their story and your business is featured as a main character.
  • Help the community find your story. Not just for a single twitter or a Facebook post. Make it discoverable on your website or link from your website to the charity page.
  • Keep your stories fresh. Unless you’re writing a business biography. Stale content taints any message you’re trying to get across. Claiming ‘We Care’ about the community and posting content that is 3 years old is not a consistent message.
  • Most of all – Be a consistent giver that is aligned with at least one cause capable of moving your business forward. You will be a more cheerful and generous giver when both of you are getting something out of the relationship.

When it comes to promoting your business and getting the ROI you deserve don’t miss an opportunity to capitalize your community giving. Remember, 93% of businesses give. Take a bow, appreciate your loyal customers and open the door to new customers – ones who hear about your community involvement and share your causes.

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