Wherever your business is at, philanthropy makes sense. You might still be refining your minimum viable product, launching products in beta, striving for your next round of investment or ready to scale up. It doesn’t matter! There are lots of reasons why you should factor corporate philanthropy into your busy schedule. After all, there’s a reason businesses give over $17.5 billion a year to philanthropic organisations.
Many SME business owners think that corporate giving is only for the big corporations or uber wealthy individuals, but many SMEs have effective corporate philanthropy programs in place that bring a range of benefits to you as the employer as well as to your employees, all while having an incredible impact on communities in need.
Here are five reasons why philanthropy is good for your business.
Networking is essential when building a business and sharing your product, ideas or time within your local community or a larger charitable organisation is a great way to increase your professional network. The more people you know the more opportunity you have to find and engage new customers, business partners and even investors. It could literally be the difference between success and failure.
Getting involved with philanthropic organisations lets you showcase your business to a new group of (often influential or successful) people. And when you get involved in a cause that aligns with your business’s values and its target market’s interests, your new corporate network will likely share those same values and interests.
Customers today want more than a great product or service. They want to feel good about who they’re purchasing from. Research has found that one in two consumers believe it’s important that a company shows a high level of social or environmental responsibility, and that it impacts their purchasing decision.
The philanthropic work and charitable giving your business undertakes can connect with people and endear them to your business’s broader objectives. You’re showing them that your business acts on its values, which is a powerful way to influence decision-making. It allows people to see you as not just another business, but that you’re part of something bigger.
Brands can often make the mistake of being all talk and no action, which today’s consumers will see right through. Creating formal charitable giving strategies within your business model shows customers and partners that you stand by your words.
Corporate philanthropy is a powerful way to show your customers what you believe in and value. It can also make them feel good when using your products and be a powerful marketing tool to attract new audiences. Some organisations have built their entire brand on this – just look at The Body Shop and TOMS and their initiatives around sustainability and community. Or on a local level, Yonder Dog launched a product where 50% of profits go to charities directly aligned with the brand’s values.
The Deloitte Global 2022 Gen Z and Millennial Survey showed that employees are seeking more purposeful work and “press their employers to tackle climate change, particularly when it comes to efforts they can get directly involved in.” Encouraging your employees to get involved with your organisation’s charitable giving strategy means they feel good about themselves and the business, by contributing to meaningful change.
Take our lead. We created a BlueRock corporate giving strategy to encourage all BlueRockers to get involved in giving back. We provide paid days off each year for staff who volunteer or do pro bono work. We encourage salary sacrificing into the Be BlueRock Foundation. And we plan and encourage attendance at fundraising events like the Be BlueRock Foundation’s ‘Run4Daz’ at Run Melbourne. It’s all about making it easy for your staff to get involved by creating opportunities where they can give back to the community and spend some time together outside of the office.
People want to work for organisations they feel good about and with leaders they respect. If contributing to the community is important to your people, then giving them the opportunity to do that as part of their work will only benefit your business. Research has found that up to 86% of engaged employees are loyal to their organisation. Other potential benefits include increased productivity, higher retention, and a generally happier workplace. We spend so much time at work, it makes sense to make it a pleasant place to be.
Spending time with new people and organisations is important because it will allow you to see the world from different perspectives. Think of all the conversations, ideas, potential partnerships and everything else that you’ll miss out on if your business is an insular operation. Learning from others will enrich your experiences as well help develop skills for use in business!
Think of corporate philanthropy like an education that you don’t get at school or on the job. It can help you approach problems from a different perspective, identify creative ways to solve them and even spark an idea that could take your business in a whole new and exciting direction. Every interaction gives you the opportunity to learn and develop.
When BlueRock made the decision to achieve B Corporation certification, the objective was to learn about what it means to be a “business for good”. And now we have the blueprint to keep that up year after year! Our corporate philanthropy strategy further supports the framework set by our B Corporation stuatus and enables us to properly measure what we’re achieving as a community.
As an entrepreneur, you’re definitely time poor and maybe you don’t treat yourself enough. You’re focused on getting your business off the ground, which makes it hard to fit anything else in. That’s where philanthropy can actually help. By taking some time, no matter how little, to devote to a cause that’s greater than yourself, you can nourish your soul and refresh your mind.
Philanthropy is about donating your time, treasure and talent. Think about the ways your business can get involved in charitable giving. It could be providing pro bono services to a not-for-profit organisation, donating your product or time, or establishing a charitable fund account as part of a long-term giving strategy. Whatever you decide to do, taking a break from your daily business duties to give back will always be a good investment.
Philanthropy is a win-win for businesses. It boosts team morale, attracts and retains customers, increases your professional network and more, all while giving back to the community. If you’re looking for help implementing or expanding your corporate philanthropy strategy, get in touch with us at Be BlueRock Foundation. We have a ‘BlueRock Blueprint’ we can share, which takes you through how we deliver a successful corporate giving strategy at BlueRock.