Philanthropy in business and what we can learn from it

More and more businesses are making philanthropy an integral part of their business plan, and if they’re not, they should be!

Company money isn’t necessarily always directed to the marketing or product development department anymore, as many businesses are seeing the benefits of investing in philanthropy for your business. In highly competitive marketplaces it’s important to stand out, and those who adopt a philanthropic business practice will more than likely have the edge over those that don’t.

philanthropy businessBy its very nature, the desire to promote the welfare of others through generous donations will have your business screaming goodwill! It’s all about giving back, paying it forward, and generally being active within the community. A reputation for helping good causes will do incredible things for your business, whilst showing consumers that you’re a brand to be trusted.

Take TOMS for example. We all remember their old ‘give one, get one’ business model, where for every pair of shoes you bought they donated another pair. The original ‘One for One’ company has given almost 100 million shoes to people in need. Moving forward, TOMS has realised that giving shoes AND grants can create an even bigger impact, so they now donate at least a third of their annual net profits to worthy causes through a fund managed by their very own Giving Team. TOMS continues to be a global sensation known as much, if not more, for its charitable giving than the products it sells.

So how could philanthropy help your business?

By building reputation

Your reputation will go from strength to strength by supporting worthwhile causes. You’ll be known as a company that is trustworthy, generous and loyal. That loyalty will be returned in spades as your potential customers generate positive vibes about your brand. As many consumer decisions are made based on emotion, tugging at the odd heartstring will do no harm!

By building your brand

If your brand can be associated with positive charity work then you’ll show that you’re not just about a huge profit margin. You’ll be seen as having a greater sense of purpose. Remember TOMS!?

By encouraging loyalty to your brand

Once the word is out that you run a conscientious company with a positive ethos, your customers are much more likely to return for repeat business. Who would shop for the same product elsewhere, when they know that purchasing from you will make them part of your mission? It’s all to do with the feel good factor!

By making you stand out

If you have a strong strategy and a bold message then you’ll certainly stand out in a crowd. One such Cambridgeshire company is helping the plight of orphaned and underprivileged children in Malawi. CoolerAid’s founder was visiting the country and saw the desperate need that threatens so many orphans there. Determined to help make change he then set up the Lifeline Fund which brings relief to poverty, famine, and the abandoned, and sees CoolerAid donate upwards of £50,000 a month! 10% of rental revenue from their mains fed water coolers, and 35 pence from each bottle of water sold is donated to the fund. To date, their donations are in excess of £7million. And their tagline? Water with Integrity. It says it all really.

Businesses of all types and sizes are starting to see the benefits of charitable giving, but not all have the profit to donate. What can you do if that’s the case?

A good place to start is by holding or supporting regular fundraisers in your business’ name. For very little outlay, you can get a whole community involved depending on the event.

From little acorns, mighty oak trees grow!