More than ever before, consumers care about the morality of the companies they patronize.
They don’t just want a good product. They want products produced in humane working conditions. They want products produced sustainably, with minimum impact on the environment. They want to buy from companies with a strong track record of treating employees fairly.
And they want to feel that their buying power not only rewards the company that makes and sells the product, but also enriches their community. If the company also uses a portion of the profits to address broader issues, like climate change, they’ll not only support that company for life, but encourage others to do so as well.
Yes, this is a lot for any company to live up to. But the rewards of even a little effort in philanthropy can pay big dividends for the companies who successfully marry charity with business.
For many entrepreneurs, it’s possible to implement charitable giving that helps grow the business through a few key avenues like connecting with your audience, improving brand image, building influence, and spending less overall on advertising.
Many demographics want their favored companies to do good work, but this is especially true of millennials. They have buying power, and they want businesses to stress the importance of giving back.
According to one study, about 53 percent of consumers will not buy from companies they think have negative societal or environmental effects. If your business goals include charity as well as profit, your customer base’s loyalty will only grow.
You might be thinking that spending money on advertising is a better idea than working with charities, but that’s not always the case.
Charitable giving improves brand image. Sponsoring a marathon or providing a service to those who need it can help boost a company’s image within the community more than an ad campaign. Selecting causes that intertwine organically with your brand will also benefit your business because those choices will resonate with your target audience more effectively.
Supporting charities that already exist in your community could give you some influence with news organizations and other major players that have the power to boost your business.
One example of this is TreeClassics.com. This website specializes in artificial Christmas trees. What’s interesting is that each Christmas, the business donates a percentage of the sale of each tree to the charity of the customer’s choice.
Through this savvy method, the company has received support from various celebrities. The website was ultimately featured in several popular magazines, including Woman’s Day and People, boosting its public image and building brand awareness without spending a dime on advertising.
When choosing a charity to partner with, it helps to pick one that already has a large audience. When that charity features your business on its website, or promotes the fundraiser you held for their community projects, you gain access to a new audience that will want to patronize your business just because they share your values.
One of the major players in Canada is WE Charity, an organization founded by Craig Kielburger that has successfully partnered with businesses across Canada to fund projects all around the world.
There are also lessons to be learned from the transparency and technology that the organization uses to prove its good work and intentions. Craig Kielburger said the Track Your Impact function on their website has been an important part of donor outreach.
“It brings an online edge to the in-store shopping experience, and fuses the transparency of technology with the selling power of purpose,” according to the WE Charity website. “So often companies try to sell what their products don’t do: No animals were harmed, no rainforests were cut down… The beauty of Track Your Impact is that it shows you what your purchase will do. And with sharable content that customers can take to social media.”
If your business can successfully partner with a charity like this, or borrow some of their practices in your own online sales, you can trust that your business will only benefit.